There is a misconception about prostitution…that these women choose this lifestyle.
What people do not realize is that most women entered the life at age 13 when they are
too young to make a choice.
85 percent of them were sexually abused as children making them vulnerable to those
who prey on them.
90% of prostituted individuals began under the abduction/direction of a pimp.
They were befriended by someone they thought loved them and cared for them.
By the time they found out this person just wanted to sell them, it was too late.
They had been hooked on drugs and physically and emotionally abused—made to believe
that this is all they are good for…all that they deserve.
92 percent want to leave “the life” but don’t know how.
Catholic Charities DIGNITY programs reach out to these women on the streets, in the jails.
Many of our DIGNITY staff have escaped the life and know how to find these women, how
to reach them, how to gain their trust.
83 percent of those who complete our jail diversion program in partnership with the City of
Phoenix do not re-offend.
90 percent of those who complete our residential program leave the life for good.
The average citizen does not know the frightening details of the average age of 13 or the
enslavement to a pimp…The average citizen believes it is a “choice”…they do not know
that these girls are victims of abuse. Your Immersion Program contributes to society’s
awareness! We hope this Award will assist you in making this program increasingly
available throughout the community. – Margaret L. Daggett, M.Ed., Cherish the Children
Award Chairperson

To learn more about our programs for trafficked victims, please visit

The DIGNITY Residential Program

DIGNITY is a six month voluntary residential program for women who are victims of
domestic sex trafficking and prostitution. DIGNITY assists women in exiting the sex
industry and lead successful lives free of drugs and alcohol. Services Include but are
not limited to:

Case Management 12‐Step Program Individual Therapy
Trauma Group therapy Life Skills Classes Support Groups
Financial Literacy Classes

Single women over the age of 18 who have a history of prostitution.

Phoenix, Arizona.
Phone: 602.870.0376

Kathleen Mitchell founded the DIGNITY (Developing Individual Growth and New
Independence Through Yourself) program because she understood the revolving
door of jail for prostituted women. There were simply no programs to address their
specific issues of victimization, abuse, low self‐esteem or emotional and financial
dependency on their controllers (pimps).

With her belief that survivor‐run programs are the best way to help prostituted
women leave “The Life," DIGNITY began:

1989 ‐ DIGNITY was founded in Durango Jail by Kathleen Mitchell

1992 ‐ Kathleen partnered with Catholic Charities to provide outreach and teach
life‐skills classes to women at risk.

1995 ‐ DIGNITY became a program of Catholic Charities and partnered with the Girl
Scouts Arizona Cactus‐Pine Council’s juvenile justice program.

1996 ‐ DIGNITY opened its first residential recovery program.

1997 ‐ DIGNITY partnered with the city of Phoenix to offer its diversion program to
allow women a chance to make a major life change without going to jail

Everyday women and young girls are being sold for sex. 13 years old is the national
average for a young girl to be turned out into prostitution and that number is
dropping every year. DIGNITY recognizes that prostituted women are victims of
domestic sex trafficking and are in need of special services to address the needs of
this specialized population.

 Sex‐Trafficking: The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provisions,
or obtaining of a person through force, fraud or coercion, for the
purpose of a commercial sex act.
DIGNITY Program receives funds from The Prostitution Solicitation Diversion
Program. Client fees offset the cost of treating the women‐ The program receives
funds through the CDA, United Way, Catholic Healthcare West, Order of Malta , and
program service fees. DIGNITY Program also receives funding through various
donations, fundraisers and outreach events such as the Immersion Experience to
raise funds.

DIGNITY currently has six beds for the one‐year residential program and two
transitional apartments for recent graduates of the program as of 2013.

Referrals for DIGNITY Programs come from a variety of places including the Phoenix
Police, FBI, Behavior Health Programs, Jail Outreach Programs, Street Outreach
Programs and Self‐ referrals.

The women in the DIGNITY program face many challenges throughout their year in
the program. These women experience a high level of shame and guilt which can
hinder their recovery and make it difficult to face treatment. They also face
challenges with finding employment due to no work history or felony/misdemeanor
charges on their record. These women learn how to live a new life while in DIGNITY;
this is not an easy process and takes time.

How Can I Help:
There are numerous volunteer opportunities with DIGNITY Programs. Please
contact Catherine Ochoa, cochoa@cc‐ for more information on how to get
involved with DIGNITY Programs. You can also visit our website at We are also on Facebook listed as Dignity Program.

Please contact:

Erica Reed
DIGNITY Program Manager

Catherine Ochoa
DIGNITY Program Case Manager/Volunteer Coordinator

Tina Smithee
DIGNITY Program Outreach Worker I

To make a donation to DIGNITY Programs please drop off or mail donation to:
1825 W. Northern Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85021
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to eradicate commercial sexual exploitation everywhere
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