Lexi - Lexi will be graduating from our program on April 30. She came to us exactly a year ago, on May 1, and she is rightfully proud of the progress she has made in one year’s time. Lexi will be moving into her own apartment on the anniversary date of her arrival at End Slavery Tennessee and this really allows her the opportunity to look at the monumental progress she’s made in a relatively short period of time. She expressed amazement at the realization of how many people have contributed to her success, whether through direct counsel, encouragement by staff members, or the volunteers and donors who make End Slavery Tennessee a reality. We are excited for Lexi in her next chapter and know that she will keep in touch with us.
Abby - Abby, another long time participant in our services, is reaching a milestone in her life. Over the past year, she has seen her trafficker plead guilty to all charges and her own charges dropped. She found full time employment and worked hard to achieve sobriety, healthy lifestyle, and to advocate for herself and her own needs. She’s reunited with long lost family and friends, and in a loving relationship with a caring man known before her trafficking, who has been very supportive during her healing process. . She received great news this past week that she will be able to transfer out of state to start her new life with the man she loves. We are so happy for Abby and will look forward to encouraging her from afar in the very near future. She’s ready for this next step in life and she has worked hard to achieve her goals.
Becky - Becky received a scholarship to attend college here in Nashville. This past week was filled with excitement and a flurry of applications, transcripts, and research. Through a considerable amount of consideration, Becky decided to pursue a degree in social work. She says she wants to be able to help others find their way in life.
Monica - Monica recently had an appointment with an obstetrician. She saw her baby on an ultrasound and heard the baby’s heartbeat. The excitement of hearing the baby’s heartbeat for the first time was a sweet experience for Monica and her Care Coordinator. Monica was also able to reconnect with her mother this month. She is much more at peace since her mother is back in her life. She has been excited to share the pregnancy journey and fears with her mom, as many women are. Monica will graduate from high school this month and is looking forward to that accomplishment!
Grace - Grace continues to be a delight to all who know her. She’s actively participating in every service her care coordinators suggest and embraces the opportunities she is given with a smile and great attitude. Everyone enjoys having her in the safe house and we especially enjoy her visits to the office.
Victoria - Victoria has a new hair color, but her zest for life and positive attitude remain the same. She is a frequent visitor to the office, which delights the entire staff. She always comes in with a song, a funny story, or a treat to share. She is learning to drive and preparing to take her test to get her Tennessee Driver’s License. She recently decided to begin working with Branded Collective's in house jobs program. This allows her to spend more time in the supportive community of survivors as well as have a structured but safe work environment. Victoria is constantly thanking her care coordinator and telling everyone what a difference we make in her life and how happy she is that there is an End Slavery Tennessee to help victims restore their lives.
Jenny - We haven’t given updates on Jenny in several months. Although she has been with us for several years, she was well into the maintenance stage of her recovery. She was still very actively involved with her care coordinator, making dates periodically for lunches and special occasions, but not an active participant in services we offer.
Recently, Jenny had some traumatic news. She struggled mightily with this new reality and realized that there is more work she needs to do to process the trauma she experienced. Jenny was trafficked from early childhood, and as is common with early childhood trauma, this new adverse experience exposed layers of trauma she hadn’t yet dealt with.
Thankfully, Jenny stayed close to her care coordinator throughout the past year. Together, they were able to make a plan for Jenny to enter treatment in a residential facility. She’s exchanging letters with several people on staff and her spirits seem high. We are thankful for the ongoing nature of the relationships survivors form with their care coordinators. Through these connections, survivors always know they have a place to turn when life hands them a difficult blow.
Another new face at End Slavery Tennessee:
Sarah - Sarah, a 22 year old survivor, was recently referred to us after escaping her trafficker and running to a hotel lobby. She had been beaten and was terrified. The hotel staff called police who immediately knew to bring her to us for help. She moved into one of our safe houses and was instantly accepted by the other residents. She is upbeat, easy to get along with and encouraging to others.
Sarah’s favorite pastime is reading and she would spend every day at the library if she were able. She asks her care coordinator to take her to the library every chance she gets and loves to spend hours among the books. Recently, Sarah was required to testify against her trafficker. Afterward, the judge told her care coordinator that he had been prepared to reduce the bond of her trafficker. But when he heard Sarah's testimony, the judge decided there was no reason he should make it easier for this man to be back on the streets.
Lauren – At 12, Lauren is a typical pre-teen: She likes emojis, music, Chinese food, and pretty things. Unfortunately, she was also exploited by a trafficker.
Lauren is an example of how a caring and trained community, working together, can help stop this horrific crime. Lauren was identified as a trafficking victim through another local non-profit. When Lauren came forward to disclose her situation, they immediately reached out to End Slavery Tennessee to help her. Fortunately, Lauren is in a home where her mother is caring and loves her. Her mother is supportive of our efforts to help Lauren and is willing to take the necessary steps to protect her daughter from further exploitation by this trafficker, who has used her daughter as payment for drugs.
We're thankful for staff members who have experience with children and are able to give Lauren the love and care that she needs to heal. As our Director of Survivor Services said after first meeting with Lauren, "We're going to change her life!"