In 2021, The Tabara Initiative, a program designed to transform the lives of East African girls at risk of sexual exploitation through prevention, education and restoration, was born. Tabara is a Kinyarwanda word that means call to be reached, rescued and restored.
The program serves to educate the girls and young women in Louisville about the dangers of sex trafficking and sexual exploitation, equip them with the necessary knowledge to protect themselves against sexual predators, and empower them with the right skills to overcome challenges that they are facing.
Most victims of sex trafficking are young women and girls, and the average age of entry into the sex trade is between 12 and 15 years old. Research shows that youth who have an unstable living situation, a history of sexual abuse, have been involved in the child welfare or juvenile justice systems, or are facing poverty, are vulnerable to sex trafficking.1 Many East African refugee girls in Louisville experience a confluence of these factors as part of their background as refugees and adjusting to a new way and pace of life in the United States, which is where Gate of Hope steps in.
1 Polaris Project, “Vulnerabilities and Signs of Recruitment,” 2022.