The Bijlmer Bridge 2 Hope Project has been initiated as phase 2 of the Bijlmer project (2012) and was launched in November 2014 at the World Trade Centre in Amsterdam.
The core purpose of Bridge2Hope is to serve as an anchor for survivors of human trafficking, empowering them towards economic, psychosocial and spiritual freedom!
The bottom-up approach towards (financial) empowerment will be accomplished by applying an appropriate business model to equip participants with entrepreneurship training.
PTSD therapy and self-management skills are being taught so that survivors themselves achieve greater personal self-sustainability.
The Bridge2Hope Rehabilitation and Re-integration program addresses the physical, psychological, behavioral, social, and economic issues encountered by these survivors of human trafficking. It is important to understand the complexities of the sex trade in general. Therefore, a variation of services including a central location for support including proper legal aid, health and psychological care, counseling and therapy, vocational and job training and literacy education are basic necessities to focus on the recovery of survivors of sex trafficking.
The ultimate aim is to activate participants on three levels towards greater psychological & spiritual healing and economic freedom. The project is therefore driven on the one hand by personal ownership and commitment of the participants and on the other hand by providing them with appropriate training, coaching and therapy at a secure and stable base.
The violence and exploitation experienced by the survivors, their lack of access to proper nutrition, hygienic conditions, vulnerability to STD’s and more lead to a variety of short and long term personal problems. This can have chronic psychological and behavioral effects.
Besides exploitation almost all the survivors have very little or no access to legal protection, permanent residency status, and financial support from the Government. Therefore their rehabilitation and reintegration can be challenging and should not be oversimplified.
For setting up a successful rehabilitation and reintegration training program, the psychological & behavioral effects need to be taken into account. It would also be beneficial for all the stakeholders to be aware of the long term commitments as these programs need multifaceted approaches involving a variety of factors.
Vocational and job trainings
The psychosocial training focuses on the psychological and behavioral effects as experienced by the participants as a result of being trafficked and are offered on an outpatient basis by trained professionals.
Problems around emotional instability including impatience, short-temper and violence, lack of obedience, distrust towards others, lack of self-confidence, stress and depression, hopelessness, but most of all desperation for the future are just some of the psychological effects of the experience of being trafficked for sexual exploitation.
Inability to express feelings, poor communication skills, inability to trust, vulnerability to sexual abuse and exploitation, difficulty in sleeping or nightmares but most of all lack of aspiration and vision for the future, are only some of the effects experienced by these survivors.
The day care program focuses on psycho-education, socio-therapy (developing TRUST), therapy within the cultural context (dealing with VOODOO) and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing) to deal with Trauma.
Vocational training includes the learning process of making simple products which can be sold in fairs, churches, open markets, stalls. The contribution of making products for sale and thus economic freedom works as an amplifier in the path to recovery. This will also help to develop entrepreneurial skills, increase their self-esteem and create a sense of ownership. A (pool of) trainer(s) will give lessons to identify the best product development and the survivors will learn to identify feasible solutions.