The Clark State College Sexual Violence Prevention team will host Sanctuary Night: Harm Reduction for Sexually Exploited Women at 1 p.m., Wednesday, October 18. The event is free and open to the public.
Attendees will gain information about human trafficking, including signs, the lived experiences of survivors, and learn about the survivor-centered program in Columbus, Sanctuary Night.
“It is important to bring awareness to this topic,” said Melinda Van Noord, director of counseling services at Clark State. “Trafficking can be a very hidden crime and is more pervasive than many realize.”
Van Noord said According to the Office of the Ohio Attorney General's 2020 Human Trafficking Report, Ohio ranks among the ten worst in the nation for human trafficking.
“Clark State's Sexual Violence Prevention Team selected this topic to help our campus members and the community better understand this crime, how to recognize vulnerable individuals, and how to support survivors in healing,” she said.
Sanctuary Night was founded in 2017, in partnership with Lower Lights Ministries to provide a safe, consistent environment for women who visit. Once a week—women were offered a warm meal, clothing, hygiene items, and a safe space. If requested, they connected them with partners, who steward community resources and support women exiting “the life.” Peer Support Specialists run the day-to-day operations and use their lived experience to truly connect and uplift guests.
Van Noord said Sanctuary Night is a trauma informed organization, that uplifts survivors and includes them in decision-making at every level of their organization.
“Their strong focus on empowerment is inspiring, and we are looking forward to learning more from these talented and passionate presenters, Hannah Estabrook and Mandie Knight,” she said.
Presenter Hannah Estabrook, MA, LPCC-S has been working as a clinician in the mental health field for over seventeen years and has specialized in providing direct services to survivors of the sex trade and sex trafficking. Her work with survivors has included the settings of the criminal justice system (CATCH Court). She co-founded Sanctuary Night because she wanted to imagine a more neighborly response to vulnerable women on the streets of Columbus - one that didn't require the traumatic experience of getting arrested in order to access services.
Mandie Knight, CDCA II, Operations Manager, graduated from CATCH court in 2017 and will be graduating with a psychology degree this year. During her healing journey she’s devoted her career and volunteerism to vulnerable populations. She’s an Ambassador on the Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Commission and was recognized with an award of commendation at the 2023 Human Trafficking Summit. Knight volunteers with Child Survivor Day Camp to build trusting, loving, and understanding relationships with child survivors of sexual exploitation. She was previously Freedom A La Cart’s Butterfly Program Manager, assisting survivors with self-sufficiency, launching their Survivor Leadership Collective & Linden Street Outreach Program. Lastly, she volunteered with Sanctuary Night for several years, is on the Survivor Leader Advisory Panel, and now the full time Operations Manager.
“The Sexual Violence Prevention Team at Clark State strives to offer meaningful programming and activities during Sexual Assault Awareness Month to raise awareness, uplift resources and reinforce prevention strategies and efforts,” said Nina Wiley, assistant vice president of student affairs at Clark State. “We have a strong focus on offering support and strength for survivors.”
Eastbrook and Knight will speak in the LRC room 207/209, on Clark State’s main campus at 570 East Leffel Lane, Springfield. An RSVP is encouraged, but not required. Please RSVP to Melinda Van Noord at 937.328.7961 or firstname.lastname@example.org.