START Program Offers Hope to Survivors in Recovery

Often when seeking recovery, individuals find themselves in traumatic situations worsened by substance use disorder. At Haymarket Center, all aspects of treatment are considered, especially for those who find themselves victims of human trafficking and those who have turned to sex work. Haymarket Center offers one of the only programs in the country focused on simultaneously treating substance use disorder and trauma associated with human trafficking and sex work.

Through outreach efforts and referrals from other agencies, we can expand access to care by offering trauma services 24-hours a day to women in need of help. Many of these patients enter this program through referrals from the Human Trafficking Hotline, Cook County Sheriff, and clergy, as well as through our Outreach at Chicago’s Prostitution and Trafficking Intervention Court and Bond Court. As participants come in, they meet with the START recovery coach and trauma counselor who provide crisis intervention, assessments, and linkage to on-site services to meet their immediate needs.

“Patients come from being trafficked and move onto sex work because it becomes their way of life,” says Marie Day, Manager on our MOMs unit, “A lot of these patients enter the program on their own because they are tired of the lifestyle and want to make a change.”

Our project trauma counselor and recovery coach provide recovery planning, linkage to services, motivational enhancement, and weekly sessions for patients using evidence-based curriculum. Women are admitted to an appropriate onsite treatment program based on their assessed level of need such as Haymarket’s residential program designed for women with corrections backgrounds or Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) program for women.

“In 28 days, we address all aspects of trauma, and it was a pretty wide impact on our patients,” Marie continues, “We see a lot of successful discharges from this program.”

Utilizing the recovery coaching model, the dedicated project recovery coach maintains contact with the patient, even after she leaves Haymarket, for a year, making sure she is connected to health care and other services and supports she needs. The coach will meet with each woman to develop a recovery/re-entry plan; link them to services on site or in the community; encourage them to identify potential relapse triggers; and provide re-engagement into treatment in the event of a drug relapse.

Haymarket Center receives funding for START from the VNA Foundation.

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