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Why cosmetology?

In NY, cosmetology licenses are granted by the state. As a result, background checks are conducted by NYS prior to the license being granted, rather than being part of a job application process in the beauty industry. Additionally, by offering pre-enrollment advocacy, MJSB staff can assist students by working directly with the court system to ensure any criminal record they may have will not be held against them upon completion of their instructed hours.

We will be able to train students as young as 16.5 years old, provided they have a GED. This is paramount, since roughly 28% of trafficking victims in North America are minors.1 We even have the ability to prevent trafficking by taking at-risk girls of high school age and giving them an opportunity at a career.

Beyond that, cosmetology offers a trade that pays a living wage, with a wide variety of applications in addition to working behind a salon chair. Graduates would also be free to pursue a career in the sale of salon products, work in product development, or continue their training to become instructors themselves.

Why here in Rochester?

Many programs already exist in Rochester to rescue and rehabilitate human trafficking victims. This alone indicates a need for services supporting survivors. We seek to fill the gap that exists post-rehabilitation, as survivors seek to reintegrate into the community.

Additionally, we exist not solely to serve survivors in the Greater Rochester Area, but will be able to receive applicants from anywhere across the country. As our program is unique in providing a state-issued license, we have received interest from survivors outside NY. We will be able to offer a place within a safe community to anyone who has previously completed a rehabilitation program for human trafficking victims.


What’s the advantage of setting up a new cosmetology school over sending survivors to an existing program?

Miss Julie’s School of Beauty is creating a safe environment for survivors with severely traumatic pasts to receive their education in the midst of a supportive community. Unfortunately, even when trafficking victims escape their circumstances, there is a high re-entry rate to the sex industry. Hindrances to a successful exit are many, but some of the primary factors include “lack of employment available to those with few marketable job skills and a criminal record, lack of resources for basic needs…an unfinished education, and a scarcity of adequate services within the community to meet these complex needs.”2

Another more recent review of the relevant literature names “…having life plans, and career projects for the future…and of feeling that one possesses the skills to satisfy one’s own needs encourages the victims to complete the path of emancipation from exploitation.”3

Our school is necessary, not just to provide job skills, but to prevent our students from falling through the cracks at yet again. Our staff will receive training specific to working with human trafficking survivors. We will be able to offer post-graduation employment at our own facility, or other partnering salons that are safe work environments.

Additionally, we provide logistical flexibility that traditional programs cannot. Students may need to attend part time, or need the option to take a break from their education as part of their ongoing recovery process. While a traditional school would require a student to start from the beginning of the program upon return, we will be able to “hold” those hours already logged and get them back on track for graduation.



  2. Hammond, G.C., McGlone, M. Entry, Progression, Exit, and Service Provision for Survivors of Sex Trafficking: Implications for Effective Interventions. 1, 157–168 (2014).

  3. Ferrari, Chiara (2021). The Factors Involved in the Exit from Sex Trafficking: A Review, 22(5), 195-209.

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