young survivor engagement project

Supporting young sexual exploitation survivors to experience post-traumatic growth in through a first-of-its-kind project in Aotearoa.

Currently, there are no other initiatives dedicated to supporting young survivors of sexual exploitation in their journey towards post-traumatic growth and development. Yet we know that such survivors exist, and that the long-term effects of this type of sexual abuse are not yet widely understood in Aotearoa.

To develop the well-being of young sexual exploitation survivors, we are convening a group of Auckland-based individuals between the ages of 17-24 in a gender-inclusive, supportive environment.

This group will:

  • Meet weekly as a group, with participants also engaging in tailored therapeutic sessions to support their recovery journeys
  • Learn through workshops that focus on leadership, essential life skills like non-violent communication and interpersonal relationship building, exploitation prevention practices, and more
  • Discuss their current challenges and understand their development needs, fostering open and stigma-free dialogues about sexual exploitation
  • Create a meaningful and safe space to cultivate connections and build confidence
  • Codesign solutions using mana-enhancing and restorative practices
  • Activate and amplify youth voices safely, including providing support to pursue professional development opportunities.

Our Young Survivor Engagement project is bringing together and supporting vulnerable young people who need help to progress in their recovery journeys.

ECPAT NZ’s long-term goals for this project are to expand our efforts to include gender-focused groups tailored to address the unique needs of each demographic, and to develop a similar model to VOYCE, focusing on amplifying the voices of young survivors of sexual exploitation.

This will enable participants to contribute towards our work influencing and informing the system; improve well-being through positive youth development; and activate youth voice, youth leadership and direct advocacy.

Rangatahi across Aotearoa vulnerable to or experiencing sexual exploitation will benefit from the impact of participants’ insights on what would help them thrive as these shape ECPAT NZ’s strategy and future activities.

In a recent survey conducted by ECPAT NZ, more than 70% of 120 frontline staff had encountered cases involving child exploitation.