My Life My Choice (MLMC)
The information in this program outline is provided by the program representative and edited by the CEBC staff. This program has been reviewed by the CEBC in the following Topic Areas:
About This Program
Target Population: Girls ages 12-18 who have been exploited or are at high risk of being exploited
For children/adolescents ages: 12 – 18
MLMC offers a unique continuum of services spanning youth service provider training, prevention groups for vulnerable adolescent girls, case consultation, and survivor mentoring to young victims of commercial sexual exploitation. MLMC aims to have a significant impact on a hard-to-reach population by employing survivors as group leaders, trainers, and mentors. Their first-hand accounts of victimization have informed group and training curricula and are the voice of authenticity to girls entrapped in a life of abuse.
The goals of My Life My Choice (MLMC) are:
- Change the climate in which girls in the United States grow up
- Make it understood that girls have a fundamental human right to live their lives free from commercial sexual exploitation, without fear that adults will prey on their vulnerabilities
- Decrease the incidence and severity of commercial sexual exploitation of girls, with a primary focus on the Greater Boston area
- Prevent commercial sexual exploitation of girls by empowering them with the knowledge and skills to reduce their risk of exploitation
- Increase identification of girls who are being commercially sexually exploited by training service providers to recognize the signs that a girl is being victimized and know how to respond
- Decrease the number of girls being commercially sexually exploited by supporting victims as they exit exploitation and work to rebuild their lives
- Improve the community response to girls who have been commercially sexually exploited
- Improve practice nationally to prevent and intervene in commercial sexual exploitation of girls
The essential components of My Life My Choice (MLMC) include:
- Survivor Mentoring: MLMC pairs Survivor Mentors with exploited girls to encourage their use of existing supports and support their exit from the commercial sex industry and their pimp/trafficker. Girls are identified through a variety of sources, including law enforcement, child protective services, medical providers, clergy, etc. The Survivor Mentor’s intervention seeks to stabilize a girl’s situation shortly after identification, thereby decreasing the likelihood that she will run during this time; and provide support, motivation, and hope to the young woman consistently over time. Survivors are uniquely able to decrease a victim’s sense of isolation and support her as she builds a new life for herself. Through this relationship, mentors seek to provide girls with the intanglibles they thought a pimp would offer them: love, acceptance, belonging, and a person who is on their side.
- Prevention Groups: Using the program’s ten‐session curriculum, MLMC Prevention Groups provide a concrete method for preventing commercial sexual exploitation among vulnerable adolescent girls. These groups are offered weekly to groups of 8-12 girls in schools, group homes, and other community settings. Groups teach at-risk girls how to recognize and avoid the recruitment tactics of pimps and find a path out of exploitation if they are already involved. The groups are designed to change girls’ attitudes and perceptions of the commercial sex industry, as well as build self-esteem and personal empowerment; the curriculum includes interactive activities, journaling, and education on healthy relationships.
- Training for Youth Service Providers: MLMC offers introductory and advanced workshops about the sex industry and its devastating impact. Each 10- to 30-person group training is tailored to an organization’s needs and its role in the lives of adolescent girls. Audiences can include, but not be limited to, law enforcement, school personnel, and medical providers. Full-day trainings focus on explaining the risk factors for sex trafficking, red flags indicating exploitation, and how to support exploited girls.
My Life My Choice (MLMC) directly provides services to children/adolescents and addresses the following:
- Girls who have been identified as having been exploited, are currently being exploited, or are deemed high-risk for exploitation because of their past trauma and/or abuse histories combined with behaviors such as frequent running away, and potentially dangerous/exploitative relationships.
Most mentors meet with their mentees weekly, for an average of one to two hours. Exploitation Prevention groups are held weekly for 10 weeks, and each group session lasts approximately 90 minutes.
Mentors and mentees have an ongoing relationship over a period of years, on a case-by-case basis. Exploitation Prevention groups are run for 10 weeks.
This program is typically conducted in a(n):
- Adoptive Home
- Birth Family Home
- Community Agency
- Foster/Kinship Care
- Residential Care Facility
This program does not include a homework component.
My Life My Choice (MLMC) has materials available in a language other than English:
For information on which materials are available in this language, please check on the program's website or contact the program representative (contact information is listed at the bottom of this page).
Resources Needed to Run Program
The typical resources for implementing the program are:
Aside from the staffing requirements mentioned below, no additional resources are needed.
Minimum Provider Qualifications
Survivor Mentors need to be survivors of the commercial sex industry and are trained to be experts on mentoring and commercial sexual exploitation of children. The exploitation prevention groups must be co-facilitated by a survivor of the commercial sex industry and a clinician/licensed mental health expert.
Education and Training Resources
There is a manual that describes how to implement this program, and there is training available for this program.
- Nikki Valila
phone: (617) 779-2179
- Amy Corbett, LMHC, Prevention Contact
phone: (617) 779-2179
Training is obtained:
On-site and at Boston location
Number of days/hours:
This varies depending on the type of training and the agency requesting training.
Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research
This program has been reviewed and it was determined that this program lacks the type of published, peer-reviewed research that meets the CEBC criteria for a scientific rating of 1 – 5. Therefore, the program has been given the classification of "NR - Not able to be Rated." It was reviewed because it was identified by the topic expert as a program being used in the field, or it is being marketed and/or used in California with children receiving services from child welfare or related systems and their parents/caregivers. Some programs that are not rated may have published, peer-reviewed research that does not meet the above stated criteria or may have eligible studies that have not yet been published in the peer-reviewed literature. For more information on the "NR - Not able to be Rated" classification, please see the Scientific Rating Scale.
Currently, there are no published, peer-reviewed research studies for My Life My Choice (MLMC).
No reference materials are currently available for My Life My Choice (MLMC).
Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: January 2015
Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: April 2016
Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: April 2013