Starfish Partnership Program (ASUF 30005934)

Project: Research project

Project Details


Starfish Partnership Program (ASUF 30005934) Starfish Partnership Program Introduction The purpose of Starfish Partnerships is to develop an innovative mentoring program designed to assist adult female victims of sex trafficking and prostitution in meeting their social, emotional and financial needs in order to successfully exit the life. This program will provide a research-based intervention in the form of mentor matches/support networks with the goal of assisting women to build skills (social, emotional and financial) to create new opportunities in the future to improve their lives and the lives of their children. History: The Arizona State University Office of Sex Trafficking Intervention Research has been actively involved in developing, providing and evaluating services for youth and adult survivors of sex trafficking since January of 2006. We actively provide trauma and abuse focused psycho-education groups (previously funded by AFW) to youth, both male and female (Florence Crittendon and Tumbleweed Youth Resource Center) and adults at Catholic Charities DIGNITY Prostitution Diversion program. We are also working with StreetlightUSA on program development and evaluation. We have conducted extensive research on risk factors for sexual exploitation (including posttraumatic stress disorder, substance abuse and emotional abuse), and have developed interventions for victims of sex trafficking. We believe that mentoring programs are an important addition to resources that sex trafficked women need for recovery. Mentoring programs have strong support throughout the research on recovery programming for women. Mentoring provides a crucial relationship- an important element associated with healthy recovery among women- because it provides connection and community (Bloom, Owen,& Covington, as cited in Covington, 2008). Covington (2008), explains that relational connection is the guiding principle of growth for women and girls (p. 379), and one way to facilitate this connection is to give women access to mentors. For example, peer mentoring is an important element in programs associated with reduced recidivism rates for incarcerated women with histories of substance use and/or prostitution (Vigilante, et al., 2009) and reduced drug use among women recently released from prison (Messina, Grella, Cartier,& Torres (2010). We have consistently found that girls and women with sexual exploitation experiences do not have a female role model or peer mentor to turn to as they begin the long and sometimes difficult process of exiting the life of prostitution. Starfish Partnerships is a new researched-based program developed to address this unmet need. The program is modeled after a highly successful mentoring program facilitated by Arizona Womens Education and Employment (AWEE) with women being released from prison. Program Goals: The purpose of the Starfish Partnerships Program is to provide support to assist women, ages 18+ in their goal to exit sex trafficking and prostitution situations. The goals of the Starfish Partnerships Program will be: 1. Create 24 matched mentoring relationships, which will assist in the social and emotional support needs of women (age 18 and over) attempting to exit prostitution and sex trafficking situations. Mentors will be survivors of prostitution/sex trafficking with two years minimum out of the life. These relationships will provide the mentee with a role model and new social support network as well as an example of how the life of a survivor can look outside of their current situation. 2. Provide activity support for the mentor/mentee relationship as well as monthly opportunities for developing new information about education, employment, relationships and addictions. 3. Provide quarterly activities for all mentors/mentees and their families to develop pro-social recreation skills and positive memories.
Effective start/end date12/11/1310/1/14


  • Arizona Foundation for Women: $4,000.00


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.