Eagle clinic provides solace to Idaho’s most vulnerable
By Monica Pierce
When we think of our beautiful Treasure Valley, human trafficking is the last thing that comes to mind. Although it’s not happening out on our city streets, unfortunately, it’s still occurring in the shadows. For specific at-risk groups such as minors in foster care, the homeless, those involved in underage marriage or other abusive familial circumstances, human trafficking is a very real threat.
Fortunately, Idaho’s lawmakers, community leaders, businesses, and medical providers are all working together to support these victims and prevent such activity.
Helping steer the effort is Jennifer Zielinski, Executive Director of the Idaho Anti-Trafficking Coalition, Inc. (IATC). Zielinski was brought on board in January 2018 – shortly after the IATC was established by Fred Cornforth, CEO of Garden City-based Community Development, Inc., which privately funds the IATC.
Upon joining the IATC, Zielinski immediately engaged with Governor Otter’s anti-trafficking task force and partnered with other lawmakers and community leaders to pass two bills which go into effect this July:
Bill No. 1005 provides a clear definition of human trafficking and specifies it as a distinct criminal offense, allowing the crime to be prosecuted independently instead of having to be enforced through other related offenses such as child abuse or coercion.
Bill N0. 1003 requires comprehensive care for victims of human trafficking.
To pass these new laws, Idaho first needed to have a safe house and treatment services available specifically to victims of human trafficking. This is where the IATC and Solace House come in.
With its mission to “work alongside community members in providing awareness, education, services, and safe housing for victims of human trafficking,” the IATC – Solace House is divided into three coordinated branches:
- IATC administrative office
Dedicated to providing community outreach, education, and awareness, the IATC staff recently relocated from their former office in Garden City to Eagle. “We’re honored to become members of the Eagle community. We’re energized by the support we’ve already received and are hopeful about the additional progress we will make in our new location,” says Zielinski.
The IATC staff is a small team of advocates and case managers who are specially trained to handle these unique cases of trauma. Prior to the IATC, victims would receive non-specific care through disparate services. Today, the IATC serves those in need by providing a specialized facility and team to help them recover.
- Solace House Outpatient (OP) clinic
Co-located at the new IATC office in Eagle, the Solace House Outpatient clinic offers specialized, trauma-informed care through individual and group counseling, psychotherapy, family therapy, and case management. These resources are available to anyone who is determined to require them after they complete an initial, free consultation.
- Solace House safe house
Currently under construction and scheduled to open in August, Solace House will be the first safe house in Idaho. It will provide a home for up to 10 girls ages 11-17 who are victims of human trafficking.
Those who stay at Solace House will receive specialized trauma-informed care through the Solace House OP clinic, with the purpose to heal, rehabilitate, and establish independence.
Because of their critical role in passing new state legislation, Solace House not only serves as an invaluable resource to those who stay there, but also represents a major milestone in combatting human trafficking.
If you would like to support the IATC’s efforts to stop human trafficking, visit www.idahoatc.org.
If you or someone you know has possibly been a victim of human trafficking, please visit or contact the IATC: 868 East Riverside Drive Ste 170, Eagle, Idaho, (208) 630-6601, info@idahoATC.org.