You volunteers have been very active legislative advocates during this year’s session. I know that many have made calls to your representatives and tracked the bills in progress, posted numbers on our Facebook page for fellow volunteers to call or contact, and discussed these bills at your various meetings.
The Franklin volunteer group met shortly after the raids on two massage parlors in Franklin resulting in the rescue of 5 trafficked victims.) This prompted a discussion on how volunteers in the community can serve as eyes and ears to aid local law enforcement in their work of rescuing victims of human trafficking.
Our Brentwood group had its first official meeting last month with 13 attendees. After a brief overview of ESTN mission, role of volunteers, vision for Brentwood group and announcements of events, the group heard from current volunteer Trish Gomez about her experience as a youth presenter and showed the Be the Jam video...
by Karen Karpinski, Director of Education
I am often asked by pastors and other church members what they can do to help end human trafficking. I would like to reply, “Are you teaching about human trafficking?” Sadly, the parents of a minor lured into human trafficking we recently met with, would not need much urging to learn about what is called human trafficking, modern-day slavery or sexual exploitation. They would not even have recognized what was happening to their child, who grew up in the church, had not one of our trained volunteers recognized the signs and connected them with ESTN. Too many others may be the ones sitting in the church pews each Sunday, oblivious to the crime which is ensnaring many of the minors in our state – until it is too late.
While there are many approaches for churches to assist in the fight against human trafficking, one of the most important one is to prepare their parishioners with the truth. There are many churches that have already partnered with ESTN and do discuss human trafficking. Some have allowed us to do youth presentations, empowering young people to be safe through the knowledge of the basic lures traffickers use against them. Others have provided financial help through donations and gift cards drives. But there is more that can be done.
We have very real needs for emergent housing for our survivors. We would love to develop more relationship with churches that could pay for several months’ rent, or would provide a furnished apartment- or two. There is also a great need for foster parents to house and love a minor survivor. Training can be provided to teach families the behaviors to look for and how to respond. What better way to show our faith than to unconditionally love a girl or boy who has never known a love that expects nothing in return?
Yes, churches can provide rescue and food kits. They can encourage their youth to do door hanger campaigns, or start a gift card drive to help with survivor needs. But the most urgent need is to share our Christian faith by loving a child who has been so drastically hurt. Churches, we need you!
by Karen Karpinski, Director of Education
End Slavery Tennessee has been blessed with some of the most dedicated, engaged and passionate volunteers that I have encountered. I recently met two of the three-generation family who are involved with End Slavery Tennessee in Dickson, Franklin and Springhill. As a family they have committed themselves to work with group leaders, and to provide for both survivor and organizational needs. While it is unique to find three-generations involved with a particular cause, I began thinking what a great example this could be for other families. Volunteering does not and should not be a one generational phenomena. There are ways to use your time, skills and talents at any age, at any stage in one’s life. Whitney Smith,the youngest of our three-generation volunteers, stated, "It's fun to do something all together. My sister is doing her part with inner city teens in NY and my brothers girlfriend in LA."
We often talk about using your sphere of influence to educate about human trafficking. Do you share your passion with your family? Could that passion motivation other family member into action? If this serves as an inspiration to you, talk to your family about how they too can work to support ESTN and our survivors.
The Spring Hill group had a good meeting this month and enjoyed having Karen Karpinski visit and share some updates and future plans. She also helped the group vision-cast a bit about more opportunities for events and trainings in the Spring Hill area. The group decided to have a volunteer challenge for this next month to think about relationships available to them and explore ways to serve or raise funds and awareness in their community.
Taryn, Whitney, and Bucky also brought their families to the Spring Hill Night Against Crime where ESTN had a display. The team was happy to represent ESTN there again in order to help foster our relationship with the city, speak with parents about keeping their kids safe, and to make connections with all sorts of other organizations.
The Murfreesboro group was full of activity this month. The volunteers packed some toiletries bags and completed eight rescue packs for survivors. One of the group’s teen volunteers lead two door hanger event and a gift card collection this past month and another volunteer brought $100.00 in gift cards she collected in replacement of her birthday gifts. The group also collected feminine hygiene products, toilet paper and paper towels. Group leader Dana has her car packed to the top with gifts for ESTN. So heartwarming to see the generosity!
The Franklin group welcomed three new volunteers to the group this month and spent a few minutes getting to know them. Afterwards, they participated in a short test to see how well each could field questions about the work and mission of End Slavery when asked. The remainder of the group’s time was spent viewing the “Traps” video presenters use when speaking to teens. Volunteer Stacy has spent some time studying the possibility of updating the “Traps” video and getting other volunteers involved in this project as well. Afterwards, Lizedny gave survivor updates and the team heard a short report about a legislative initiative that Senator Corker is involved with and are all look forward to hearing details about in early 2015.
The Nashville group ended the month with a good meeting. Five new volunteers joined the group this month so after getting to know each of them a little more, Scott gave the group a short quiz about human trafficking and ESTN's work. Together they also discussed a new project to have a video hosting of the movie Nefarious: Merchant of Souls open to the Trevecca campus and other interested individuals. Finally, the group received survivor updates and discussed sponsoring a survivor for Christmas this year as another group project.
The Hendersonville group is back and had their first meeting this month. Main discussion topics surrounded driving volunteer recruiting with two primary methods agreed upon: group activity and social visibility. Group activity will have the primary focus on providing items for survivors through the solicitation of local businesses and drives during special events, specifically local festivals and possibly Black Friday at local retail stores. Social visibility will be initiated by planning an “official Sumner County launch/re-launch” for the Hendersonville Group at a local restaurant/establishment with possible dates around New Years and the Super Bowl. The group also discussed creating a local Facebook page to help continue promoting ESTN events and support and to help create connections in the area.
Spring Hill group went over the new mission statement, talked about using accurate and distinctive language (i.e. "Training", "Long-term therapeutic aftercare", etc.), discussed organizational updates like the developing resource center and on-line training courses, shared survivor updates, took a look at Volgistics, got volunteer documents in order, discussed new ideas for auction items, signed up volunteers for a table at an upcoming community event, Spring Hill Night Out Against Crime, and talked about the 8 Days and Ride events.
The Murfreesboro group reviewed the ESTN mission, vision and group leader mission statements, and reviewed projects completed this month. The group had a great influence at events like Meet Murfreesboro and Murfreesboro RISE reaching over 1,000 students and community members. The group also partnered with a local Presbyterian Church that decided to adopt the ESTN current needs list monthly. And to top it all off, teen key club members hosted a door hanger event and a gift card drive. Other volunteers also began tapping into their local resources to find new and creative ways to help raise money for ESTN and get reliable, tangible donations. And finally, student volunteer Justin opened the door for an official class on human trafficking at MTSU that Dana and the group hope to begin working with soon.
The Franklin volunteer group meeting was off to a great start with Steve Green leading the devotional. The members then discussed using a Facebook page for additional communication within the group and talked about the logistics for Ride for Refuge. They furthered their education with a fun quiz and viewing helpful websites on human trafficking. Finally, Lizedny gave in-depth updates on the survivors and their needs. The group ended the meeting by assembling their baskets for the auction.
Nashville had several new members at their meeting this month with lots of interest in learning more and getting involved! The group started collectively reading the book Girls Like Us and discussed the first few chapters at the meeting. ESTN staff members and VIP guests Lizedny De la Rosa and Christine Croom gave the group survivor updates. Finally, the group discussed the up and coming event Ride for Refuge and assigned volunteers to help put together their three silent auction baskets.
Lebanon, TN - Just six months after an explosion at a Lebanon home killed an elderly couple, a local minister is looking to change the story of tragedy to one of triumph. Learn more and read the comments made by ESTN's own Derri Smith here.
by Philipa Booyens
We had a woman recently unsubscribe to our mailing list. Her reason? She said she couldn't look at "this." She couldn't see or deal with "it."
My response: (See photo)
8 DAYS opens with these words:
(AMBER) Darkness breeds darkness. It hides monsters in closets and under beds. I used to think closing my eyes and covering my ears would make them go away... I used to think a lot of things.
When I was a child, I used to think such childish things. I'm not a child anymore. Child sex trafficking (what many in Homeland Security Investigation call MODERN SLAVERY) should NEVER be easy to look at. But, here's the thing: ignoring, hiding, closing eyes and covering ears will NEVER make it go away. This kind of thinking, this apathy and fear has led our culture and county to the place it is in. A place where three year old children are sold and raped repeatedly. A place where traffickers molest and move children over our southern border, requiring every girl over 10 to take a pregnancy test. Today in the United States of America children are sold by their families. Girls are locked in closets for years. People are beaten and abused, kidnapped, murdered, branded, "owned" and treated likes slaves.
Don't like it? Don't want to look it? Good. NOW DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.
Individually, if we bless one life, we are making a difference. Together, we can change the world. I believe that. I know that. I've seen that through this filming process. Margaret Mead once said: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
Let this be a call to all "thoughtful, committed citizens." It is up to us to fight the crime of child sex trafficking, Let's stop hiding and ignoring this problem that is right under our noses. Let's stop "waiting on the world to change," and make it!
Spring Hill group had a great car wash event this month raising around $160 and is currently working on assembling their educational display board and Ride for Refuge auction baskets for the volunteer event in October.
The Franklin group had a special meeting this month - they acknowledged specific progress the group members had made and finalized their basket for the silent auction for the Ride for Refuge event this fall. Survivor Services Coordinator Lizedny attended and gave updates on all the survivors. Afterwards, each person in the Franklin group left the meeting with a specific survivor to pray for throughout the month.
The Murfreesboro volunteer group has been working hard toward End Slavery Tennessee's mission to create a slave-free Tennessee and holistically restore survivors of human trafficking. The group is doing their part to turn off the T.A.P. of human trafficking in TN:
“T” for Training - Volunteer Kadi is working with Karen Karpinski to connect with some other volunteers to help in the needed steps to have on-line training available for professionals. This will help us increase our outreach and is a project that has been desired for a while. Kadi also wants to get trained to be a tutor/mentor as needed for our survivors and their families.
"A" for Aftercare - The Murfreesbor group has been working hard on different fundraising events like the Ride for Refuge silent auction basket and their volunteer Linda is collecting items for rescue kits for new survivors. The group turned in over $300.00 in gift cards that volunteer Connor collected at his college church group at New Vision Church. These will be used to help survivors with their immediate needs.
"P" for Prevention - Volunteer Alissa is doing tons of youth presentations to help share preventative knowledge to those most vulnerable to human trafficking. The group also printed their educational board graphics to help educate the public at community events.
The Nashville group met at the end of the month and discussed several topics. Volunteers were reminded and encouraged to use the new Volgistics system to track their volunteering hours. The group discussed Ride for Refuge coming up in October and decided upon their silent auction basket theme as outdoors/nature. The group also decided to start reading together the book Girls Like Us and will begin discussing their thoughts and reactions at the next meeting. The volunteers also decided to help ESTN by gathering items for a survivor rescue kit to put together and deliver to the office for new referrals and rescues.