My Life My Choice

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

Program Overview

My Life My Choice 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. My Life My Choice 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.

Program Goals

The goals of My Life My Choice (MLMC) are:

  • 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
  • Support survivors in rebuilding their lives, finding their voice, and becoming leaders
  • Empower youth to protect themselves from the commercial sex industry and its predators
  • 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 youth 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
  • 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
  • Educate and mobilize a powerful network of allies to prevent exploitation

Logic Model

The program representative did not provide information about a Logic Model for My Life My Choice.

Essential Components

The essential components of My Life My Choice include:

  • Survivor Mentoring:
    • My Life My Choice 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 intangibles they thought a pimp would offer them: love, acceptance, belonging, and a person who is on their side, but without asking for anything in return.
  • Prevention Education and Solutions:
    • This encompasses shifts in behavior, attitudes and skills by implementing My Life My Choice Prevention Curriculum, which provides a concrete method for preventing commercial sexual exploitation among vulnerable adolescent girls.
    • These groups are offered weekly to groups of 8-12 girls in congregate care settings, schools, and other community settings.
    • Considered to be secondary and tertiary levels of prevention, 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.
    • Additionally, My Life My Choice aims to shift practice and policy by building organizations' capacity for impact through needs assessment and advanced trainings.
    • Through ongoing strategic partnerships, My Life My Choice is moving towards enacting sustained, systemwide change on a large scale by offering consultation around best policies, implementation, and sustainability.
  • Training for Youth Service Providers:
    • My Life My Choice offers introductory and advanced workshops and trainings 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 include the foundation of Commercial Sexual Exploitation, focusing on explaining the risk factors for sex trafficking, red flags indicating exploitation, and how to support exploited girls; a Residential Leadership Institute: An Advanced Training for Leaders on Creating a Safe, Effective and Supportive Environment for Sexually Exploited Girls and an Advanced Clinical Training designed for mental health professionals and clinicians to develop skills and strategies to provide effective clinical services to commercially sexually exploited youth.

Program Delivery

Child/Adolescent Services

My Life My Choice 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.

Recommended Intensity:

Survivor Mentoring Program: Most mentors meet with their mentees weekly for an average of one to two hours. Exploitation Prevention Groups: Facilitated weekly by two certified facilitators, for 10 weeks. Each group session lasts approximately 90 minutes. Modifications are available for shorter term settings.

Recommended Duration:

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.

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Adoptive Home
  • Birth Family Home
  • Foster / Kinship Care
  • Community-based Agency / Organization / Provider
  • Group or Residential Care
  • School Setting (Including: Day Care, Day Treatment Programs, etc.)


This program does not include a homework component.


My Life My Choice 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:

Sites are also required to have a commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) policy in place before a group can begin. Additional resources include general supplies for group sessions.

Manuals and Training

Prerequisite/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 My Life My Choice Exploitation Prevention groups must be co-facilitated by a survivor of the commercial sex industry and a clinician/licensed mental health expert.

In order to implement the My Life My Choice Prevention groups, identified staff need to attend the My Life My Choice Prevention Curriculum Training to become Certified Facilitators. Facilitators receive a copy of the curriculum and membership in the Online Provider Community as part of this training.

There is an application process to attend this training. Agency Administrators need to approve attendance at this training and support the groups taking place at respective agencies. Certified Facilitators are required to sign a Certified Facilitator Agreement as part of the training and make a commitment to submit group data. In return, they will receive data reports on each group facilitated.

Manual Information

There is a manual that describes how to deliver this program.

Training Information

There is training available for this program.

Training Contacts:
Training Type/Location:

On-site at Boston location. My Life My Choice is available to travel nationally to provide trainings. Training is required in order to facilitate the My Life My Choice Exploitation Prevention Curriculum.

Number of days/hours:

This varies depending on the type of training and the agency requesting training.

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

The following studies were not included in rating My Life My Choice on the Scientific Rating Scale...

Rothman, E. F., Preis, S. R., Bright, K., Paruk, J., Bair-Merritt, M., & Farrell, A. (2020). A longitudinal evaluation of a survivor-mentor program for child survivors of sex trafficking in the United States. Child Abuse & Neglect, 100, Article 104083.

The purpose of the study was to assess whether youth who participated in a commercial sexual exploitation (CSE) survivor-mentor program evidenced changes in CSE victimization, dating abuse victimization, health, delinquency, social support, and coping during the year following their enrollment in the My Life My Choice (MLMC) prevention program. Measures utilized include the Interpersonal Support Evaluation List (ISEL), study-developed measures that assessed CSE topics, sexually explicit behavior, and dating abuse. Results indicate that at baseline 72% could be characterized as CSE-experienced, while at 6 months the percentage decreased to 24% and at 12 months to 14%. After 6 months of receiving survivor-mentor services, youth were less likely to have experienced CSE, engaged in sexually explicit behavior (SEB), used illicit drugs, engaged in delinquent behavior, been arrested, or detained by police, and they had better social support and coping skills. After 12 months, youth were less likely to have experienced CSE, to have engaged in delinquent behavior, be arrested, or detained by police, and had improved coping skills. Limitations include lack of a comparison group or control group, small sample size, and reliance on self-reported data. Note: This article was not used in the rating process due to the lack of a control group.

Rothman, E. F., Farrell, A., Paruk, J., Bright, K., Bair-Merritt, M., & Preis, S. R. (2021). Evaluation of a multi-session group designed to prevent commercial sexual exploitation of minors: The “My Life My Choice” curriculum. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 36(19–20), 9143–9166.

The purpose of the study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the My Life My Choice (MLMC) prevention program group. Measures utilized include the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT) and study developed measures of CSE, sexually explicit behavior, dating abuse victimization, and knowledge and attitudes about CSE topics. Results indicate that participants reported fewer episodes of sexually explicit behavior at follow up as compared to baseline. Participants were 24% less likely to report dating abuse at Follow-up 2 as compared to baseline. In addition, as compared to baseline, participants were 40% more likely to have given help or information about CSE to a friend at Follow-up 2, and participants demonstrated increased knowledge and awareness about CSE and its harms over the follow-up period. Limitations include the lack of a comparison group; girls who were identified as at-disproportionate-risk for CSE and referred to the group were referred to other services at the same time, and any changes could be attributable to these other services; and only 4% of the sample experienced CSE at baseline. Note: This article was not used in the rating process due to the lack of a control group.

Additional References

Goldblatt Grace, L., Bright, K., Corbett, A., & Morrissey, A. (2018). Preventing the commercial sexual exploitation of children: The My Life My Choice model. In A. Nichols, T. Edmond, & E. Heil (Eds), Social work practice with survivors of sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. New York: Columbia University Press.

Contact Information

Lisa Goldblatt Grace, MPH, LICSW
Title: Co-Founder & Co-Executive Director
Agency/Affiliation: My Life My Choice
Phone: (857) 991-1159

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: March 2024

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: April 2018

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: April 2013