activist

Volunteer Voices

 The West Central group had a good second meeting this month with the group's new leader, Katie Camper.  Katie went over the new mission and vision statements and the group worked together to assemble some survivor rescue kits. They  also discussed the date for their Human Chess fundraising game to take place sometime in late October.

 
The Murfreesboro  group has been working very hard preparing for the Ride for Refuge fundraiser on October 4th. They spent most of the month collecting items for their silent auction basket that will be auctioned off at the Ride, and also have started fundraising for their team – the Murfreesboro Freedom Riders! They are excited to see if they can each raise their individual goal of $150.  The group is working with the local store, Talbots, to host a special End Slavery night where all proceeds from clothing items purchased will go to ESTN. Date and time TBA! 

Group member Alissa Shear did some more prevention presentations, including a presentation at the ESTN office to a group of Lipscomb freshmen. Group leader Dana Garett Montgomery has been asked to speak at the Rise Up and Change Your Community conference held on September 4th in Murfreesboro.  Connor donated a smart phone for a survivor to have better communication with services, family, and ESTN. We also had a new person join us – Joy. She is excited to get involved and help end slavery right here in Tennessee! 

 

The Franklin volunteer group enjoyed getting to know one another better with a fun team-building exercise this past month.  Group leader Gwen Smith  inspired the group with a selection from the book, In Our Own Backyard, encouraging volunteers with the message that everyone has different gifts and talents that can bring strength in the fight against slavery.  Marge Middleton gave the group an update on legislation that was passed during the most recent Tennessee General Assembly, highlighting the increase in penalties for patronizing trafficked minors!  She encouraged the group to write to Tennessee representatives and let them know they are appreciated for standing up to injustice and passing these important bills.  Gwen also highlighted two important upcoming events: the Nashville premiere of the 8 Days Film on September 25th and the Ride for Refuge fundraiser on October 3rd.  

 

Nashville had a large meeting last night with eight new people attending to learn more about End Slavery Tennessee and how they can get involved! After introductions, Scott Hardesty had the group watch the short video In Your Backyard to help illustrate our work and the reality of human trafficking right here in Tennessee.  The group also discussed the new mission statement, received survivor updates, and talked about upcoming events including the Benefit Breakfast & Luncheon, 8 Days premiere, and Ride for Refuge.  The group was very conversational and asked a lot of questions in order to better understand the issue and educate themselves to help bring awareness to others.  Next meeting the group plans to assemble their silent auction basket for the Ride!

Slacktivism or Activism?

Slacktivism blog post

by Derri Smith 

I learned a new word at a recent meeting for an issue that’s troubled me for some time: Slacktivism. Through experience and observation, I find many organizations, faith communities and individuals who earn the label. They love to “like” pages, be a fan, display a badge or widget, sign petitions and attend glitzy shows, usually with big name celebrities and shocking stories and images about human trafficking. Ardent slacktivists announce on social media that they will meet a real need, but privately don’t follow through. 

Slacktivism helps us feel good, look cool and be seen. The nonprofit community provides many prime opportunities for slacktivists. But, in the human trafficking field, the real-life outcome of slacktivism often hurts survivors and impedes the work of those engaged day-to-day and year-to-year in real, tangible efforts. Here is what I’ve seen and grieved over:

  • Slacktivist events and activities are like inoculations, simulating the feeling of really doing something to bring about systemic change or to aid survivors in a positive way. 
  • Slacktivist promotions divert attention and funds—often HUGE amounts of funds—away from actual, ground level, substantive work. Those media grabbing props are expensive! 
  • Slacktivist marketing schemes paint an inaccurate portrait of the issue. Disheveled girls in cages, behind bars and/or in chains do not reflect the reality of most victims. The vast majority are girls whose abuse and trauma prior to trafficking makes them vulnerable to the dream they are then sold by traffickers. They are trapped by psychological bonds stronger than any bars. Traffickers are master manipulators who in perverse ways meet a victim’s physical and emotional needs to keep them enslaved without need of handcuffs. The trafficked girls I’ve seen wear jeans and T-shirts and look like the girl next door. 
  • Slacktivist media disrespects trafficking survivors, prodding them to tell titillating stories. The exercise in voyeurism betrays a lack of real concern and compassion or, at least, understanding. And jarring images can be traumatic to the survivors inundated with them. One survivor, still in school, was deeply wounded hearing classmates gush with misguided passion about the trafficking they learned about at a slacktivist event, making trafficking seem exciting, glamorous and sexy.

Slacktivism requires little of us, whereas substantive ground-level work requires sacrifice of time and resources. Instant feel-good moments are rare for activists; but there is profound satisfaction in small victories, and great value in a staunch determination to stay on course to help survivors over the long haul. The “recovering slacktivist” wrestles with drama and disappointment in pursuit of a survivor’s best good. Activists stay humble, realizing that we are messy people trying to help messy people—not adrenaline charged slacktivists making symbolic statements for the sake of “those slaves.” Really caring means holding back on tweets, Facebook statuses or Instagrams when it might put the survivor’s safety and privacy at risk.

Recovering from slacktivism will likely mean facing unpleasant truths about self and trading the concept of “saving those people” for either walking humbly and wisely beside the survivor or supporting those who do. Slacktivist recovery is a great program for learning from those in the trenches—both survivors and those who daily give them care.

Slacktivists are mostly well-meaning people, and they are numerous, whereas activists are rare. They’re people willing to roll up sleeves and do the hard work of love, support, being there through failures and successes over the long haul and making sacrifices. When a few slacktivists become activists, the dynamics change in favor of survivors. 

Which path will you choose?

 

 

P.S.  Don’t get me wrong; sharing , “liking” and widgets certainly have their place. Let’s just not stop there. Ok?

From The Johns Project

WARNING: Graphic descriptions/language (author must remain anonymous for her safety and privacy)

The following is a guest post by a man who used to buy sex – a “John.” It is taken, with permission, from The Johns Project ; a project in which a university researcher is conducting interviews with  men who solicit prostitutes. It is designed to research and tap into the fundamental characteristics and thinking patterns behind each individual man who purchases illegal sex, and then the men as a whole, as one body, as a “culture”.
Findings will be compiled into an ethnography, a study of the culture of “johns”, which will be utilized in the fight against modern-day slavery.

 

I asked former john, Jay (read his interview post here), to compose a guest post on the topic of the rise of college students selling their bodies for money. He sent it to me and I read it and was blown completely away. The insight and unique perspective he provides is invaluable to my research and should be a must-read for anyone working to bring about the demise of the sex industry.

Buy My Books

That’s the title to an ad that frequently runs in the W4M section of craigslist in Chicago. I’m sorry to say that I did, indeed “buy her books.” She’s 20, and she’s a college student, cute, personable, smart, and probably quite successful in her academic pursuits. So, why is she soliciting as a prostitute on the internet?The only answer I can come up with is that it’s easy money. In her mind, why work a job for maybe $10 an hour when you can make $100 in twenty minutes performing oral sex? If you meet three men in one day, you will make more than you would in two weeks working part time at McDonald’s, and it’s tax-free.

I’m “Jay,” the (now former) john from Chicago that was interviewed a while back. I’ve been asked to write a guest blog and this is the result. The topic is prostitution in colleges, specifically college girls who are augmenting their income as sex workers. I’ve paid for sex probably 40 times with fifteen different girls, and I’m guessing that two-thirds of them were college girls. As first blush, it seemed like a good thing; a 42 year-old man gets to have no-strings sex with girl who is less than half his age. I got my needs fulfilled, she got money, nobody got hurt, right?

Not so much. I can tell you from personal experience that paying for sex has warped my sexuality in ways that I would not have predicted. I can only imagine what it’s done to the girls I’ve paid over the course of several months. The most haunting words I’ve ever heard are, “That was the easiest $100 I ever made,” uttered by a 20 year-old engineering major at a large university. I was her first ever john, I was her introduction into the world of prostitution, and I can only imagine what she’s doing now. It frankly scares the crap out of me. I picked her up near her school and drove her over fifteen miles back to my place where we had sex, then I drove her home. Thirty miles in a car with someone is a long time, and of course we talked. I’m very gregarious, and she was very sweet. I mean, she’s the kind of girl I would hope my son brings home some day. I’m sure that nobody would ever guess that she engages in prostitution.

The very first time I paid for sex was when I answered an ad from a girl offering “French lessons.” Of course, not being entirely naïve, I knew exactly what she meant. I wasn’t really intending to go through with it, it was mostly curiosity on my part, but when I saw her pictures I decided to “treat” myself. She’s 21 and a graphic arts student here in Chicago. She could be a model, she’s that beautiful. When she came into my apartment, took off her coat, walked into my bedroom and took her clothes off. I was hooked. I saw her three times altogether.

The college girls I’ve seen are usually smart, very attractive, and easy to talk to. I’m a manager at my company and I would have hired any one of them had they interviewed for a job. And yet for some reason, they all made a decision to pursue prostitution as a means of income over legal employment (though most of them did have “regular” jobs as well).

In my opinion, if one man who engages as a john for a period of three months or so can meet perhaps ten college girls for paid sex, there is most likely an epidemic of prostitution in colleges all over the country. It’s not like I tried very hard to target these girls, there were plenty of ads on craigslist (and I posted a few of my own after a while). They are easy to find. “Buy My Books” ran an ad today so I know she’s still doing it. I receive at least three e-mails a week from girls I’ve paid to have sex with asking me if I’m interested in getting together. I politely decline, telling them that I’m no longer paying for sex, and I mention that what they’re doing is not safe and that they should be careful. I wish I knew what else to say to them. I know in my heart that I can’t get them to stop (I’m a recovering alcoholic, nobody could have said or done anything to me to get me to stop drinking until I was ready and even then I made the decision on my own).

But I’m a problem-solver by nature, which (despite my lack of a college degree) makes me very good at what I do for a living. So, if prostitution among college girls is the problem here, what is the solution? I wish I knew. This one is throwing me for a loop.

In the meantime, all I can say is, don’t buy her books.

Step 1: Education

Guest blogger: Stephanie Swick -  Short Term Team Member with ESTN 

Lately, I’ve been entertaining the idea of becoming a nurse midwife. I’m an English major. The hardest science class I took in college was Geography of the Oceans. But there’s a huge need, especially in other countries, for women to be educated and to have care during pregnancy. I think it would be interesting to try to make myself available to offer help to women who get pregnant as a result of enslavement. Could it be possible?

But the thing is, legislation is a huge part of fighting human trafficking, especially in the U.S. I could become a lawyer and make this stuff happen. There’s an organization called Polaris that has put out a list of 10 trafficking laws every state should have. I could help make those laws. That would be cool.

Still, there are women and children who are being rescued from their captors every day with no shelters to run to. There are not enough resources for recovering victims from such a traumatic experience. There are counselors and therapists needed to help these women deal with drug addiction, over-sexualization, kidnapping, and physical, psychological and sexual abuse. I could do that.

At the beginning of my End Slavery internship, I thought I would begin to figure out which path to pursue – nursing school, law school or social work.

Yet I’m finding that more than anything, I just want people to know that slavery still happens. I don’t think enough people know. If they did, I have to believe this issue would start to shrink and instead of growing. At the end of this school year, I had coffee with an old friend who I hadn’t talked to in a long time. When he heard the name of this organization, End Slavery, he misunderstood it as a mental or societal slavery. “You’re going there to fight the man,” he said, “Our society is enslaved by consumerism. That’s great!” This is an intelligent guy who prides himself on being educated. And he’s clueless.

The students on the campus of my Alma Mater – an institution blazing trails in education – have no idea that in our world, Human Trafficking and Slavery is the 2nd largest crime. They don’t know that in our country, roughly 300,000 people are enslaved and many of these people are American citizens. They have no idea that it’s happening in their towns – in the hotels and restaurants they drive past.

I feel a burning desire to drive my car down the street yelling these facts into a megaphone. “This is what’s happening and here’s what you can do about it!”

One thing this internship has shown me is that just about anyone can use their abilities to fight trafficking. It’s not that I want everyone to become social workers and lawyers. But if the future politicians, doctors, business people, broadcasters, celebrities, artists, teachers, engineers, etc… know what to look for, they could save millions of lives and generations of repetition.

So now I’m left exploring a whole new path. How can we get this information into the hands of 60,000 students? More importantly, how can we get them to pay attention? I am no speech-maker, I don’t know how to lead a movement. I just know that this is something people need to know about.

So career-wise, I keep coming back to education. During college, most people assumed I wanted to be a teacher. I was hesitant, but maybe that’s where I’ll end up.

Slavery is real. It’s everywhere. And it’s growing.

And every single person has the power to do something about it.

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To find YOUR niche, please visit www.endslaverytn.org

For info to share with the youth in your life, see http://www.bethejam.org/

Helping Hands

Guest writer: Channing Salava

The story of a person easily translates into the lines in their hands. The wrinkles tell of a lifetime of labor and effort. Each line represents a moment or an action that maintains a special significance only their owner can understand. As the days progress, the moments pass and lines of life attained, we learn and grow. The acquisition of age is a cherished event but there is something to say about the hands of a child. Their smoothness calmly whispers youth, inspiration and hope. The way a child grasps your hand, with total security and total faith is undeniably beautiful.  In a way, we all maintain qualities of a child (though we may not choose to admit it). As children we live with our hands open. Open to the world, open to ideals, creativity, faith, trust. It is when we start to accept the world for what it is, instead of what we want it to be, that our hands begin to close. Slowly our palms tighten, getting harder and harder. We may begin to live with fists in place of where our open hands once were. So I ask myself, I ask you, when you look down what do you see?

Are your hands closed? Are they open? What do they say about you? Are your hands helping, are they reaching out to another? Regardless of their condition, it's your choice whether they are open or closed. 

You can make a difference; you can be the one to reach out to another. Touch someone's life, restore that hope and love that slowly slips out of grasp. God gives us our own talents because He knows we can touch and change lives. The power of an open hand cannot be explained in mere words. Whatever your talents may be: speaking, writing, building community, photography, poetry, math, or listening, I urge you to explore the potential that each can offer. 

Let us restore our view to the time of our childhood. Let's see the world for the way we want it to be instead of accepting it for what it is. Open your hand and your heart is sure to follow.

Note: Channing is a Belmont student currently using her photography skills to create materials to prevent trafficking among young people. Come join her, and hundreds of others, in using your talents to end slavery. Join a volunteer group in Nashville, Hendersonville, Franklin or (soon to be) Murfreesboro.

Christmas JOY!

As my family and I enjoy the lovely traditions and celebrations of the Christmas season, my mind turns to people I know, or who are known by people I know:

  • The young woman in Europe who escaped her trafficker this week and is now sitting in a temporary shelter, nursing wounds from her last brutal beating, penniless and contemplating her next steps.
  • A young woman in her twenties – a US citizen- trafficked since kindergarten, for whom Christmas was just another day of degradation and fear, and who had never received a Christmas gift until last year.
  • Trafficked and brutalized women in the Middle East anxiously waiting for their name to rise to the top of a waiting list for a safe place to stay.
  • The children who sit in Mumbai brothels waiting for the next stranger to exploit them, on Christmas, as on every other day.

Do you feel any outrage at the injustices these people face? I do. They haunt my dreams. But nothing close to the outrage felt by the God who lovingly formed each one and who enters into their pain, 24/7.

We don’t have to guess what the One whose birth we celebrate at Christmas would like for His birthday; He tells us what He wants: Lay off the religious stuff, and let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream! * 

And as befits God’s nature, when we give to Him, we get gifts in return: 

“When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous …“*

Thankfully, I know people all over the world who experience that joy and continually give God the gifts He really wants.

  • The team members who love and serve that escaped victim in Europe as she walks through this frightening transition.
  •  The End Slavery in Tennessee supporters who gave that US survivor her very first Christmas gifts ever.
  • The volunteers who sell jewelry made by those Middle Eastern women to raise funds so more beds can be made available.
  •  A brave Indian national who risks his life daily to rescue those children in Mumbai brothels.

Want some Christmas joy? Want to give the perfect Christmas gift this year?  Be part of getting justice done. Volunteer, give, speak up, sacrifice, get your hands dirty, and don’t hide your head in the sand. Come join our band of ordinary people audacious enough to take God at His word and to do our part in letting justice roll!

I hope to see you in 2011.

Derri

*Amos 5:24, Proverbs 21:15

So What Is It You Do, Anyway?

When people think of anti-human trafficking work, they typically think of rescue and shelters. Rescues are exciting and shelters are needed and everyone easily understands why they are essential. But neither really does anything about ending slavery. If a victim is rescued, a trafficker brings in two more. And shelters are for after the fact. They are needed, like emergency medical workers are needed in an epidemic. But at some point, we need to cure the illness itself as well as identify those who have it; or leaving our analogy behind, to address the systemic causes that allow slavery to flourish, as well as identify victims so they CAN be rescued and restored. And that’s just what we at End Slavery do. Here’s an overview of our current and "in the works" initiatives:

  • IDENTIFY THE VICTIMS:  Distribution of posters, bookmarks, bumper stickers and other materials that help people identify victims/ web page with victim ID red flags

Community Watch type programs to enable neighbors to spot trafficking in their own neighborhood. Speaking to community groups. Fielding calls, e-mail, and Facebook messages and advising community members who suspect trafficking and are unsure what to do about it.

  • PROTECT OUR YOUTH: Presentation and materials for schools, inner city and immigrant service providers and other youth venues, warning youth, and those who care for them, of the tactics of traffickers.

Teen oriented web site warning of trafficking tactics with ways to share info easily with friends and to report, anonymously if desired, what is happening within peer group.

  • OPEN PROFESSIONAL’S EYES:  Training for professions likely to make first contact with victims (teachers, pastors, medical workers, social workers, legislators, apt. managers, maintenance workers etc.) 
  • SUPPORT THE SURVIVORS: We work with the FBI to provide help as needed for rescued victims and we hold events and home parties to increase venues for sale of goods made by rescued victims.
  • SLOW THE DEMAND: We teach at each session of the local John school (a school for men arrested for soliciting prostitutes), educating the attendees on how their choices feed human trafficking and slavery. Other initiatives are currently under consideration such as billboards, ads, flyers and/or other media targeted to the people buying the slave’s services or goods
  • LOOK TO THE FUTURE:  We teach in numerous college classes each semester so the next generation, the leaders of tomorrow, will not be ignorant of human trafficking and modern slavery.

We hold regular events on college campuses, spreading awareness and encouraging/equipping student involvement in ending slavery while they are still in school.

We have interns each semester who learn deeply about the issue and ways to work to end it.  In every case thus far, students continue to work with us after their internship is over and make career choices focused on ending slavery/aiding victims.

  • EDUCATE:    Through a monthly newsletter, blog, twitter, Facebook cause, and regular speaking engagements. This not only leads to victim identification, it is our belief that we can create a groundswell of outrage that will affect change makers in the media, legislators etc.
  • REPLICATE:  We were instrumental in connecting people who started a coalition in Knoxville and an anti-slavery group in Memphis and look to spreading anti-slavery work throughout Tennessee. We also train churches, and other groups, in Tennessee and other parts of the country, how to engage in ending slavery in their own communities.

This is a grassroots movement using ordinary people in all walks of life. We have two monthly volunteer groups, one in Nashville and one in Franklin. These groups further educate themselves on the issue and break into action groups focusing on various initiatives.

Additional notes:

In March 2010, an organization working among oppressed people in over 60 countries, asked End Slavery in Tennessee’s Director, Derri Smith, to help them establish teams around the world focused specifically on slavery and human trafficking. While taking on that non-paid director’s position with International Teams (ITeams), she remains committed to the work in Tennessee, as well. In fact, she is working on establishing ITeams’ first full-time domestic anti-slavery team in Nashville, which will serve as a training base for other teams in the US and around the world.

  • Derri is also currently engaged in starting/ expanding/considering anti-slavery teams in Uganda, Brazil, Thailand, Bulgaria, Ecuador, Australia, Cambodia, India and Russia.

Doing Great Things for God?

Periodically a fellow abolitionist, or a kind supporter, will speak of doing great things for God. While I appreciate the sentiment behind the words, the picture that comes to mind is of a house I pass often in our Tennessee countryside with a huge sign in the yard reading “House of Righteous Endeavor.” I don’t know what actually goes on in that house, but every time I drive by, my stress level rises a bit as I envision sour faced people grunting and straining under the heavy weight of endeavoring to be ever righteous.

I love the verse in Psalm138:8 that says, in part, depending on the translation:

  • The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me…
  • The LORD will work out his plans for my life…
  • The LORD will accomplish what concerns me…
  • The LORD will do everything for me….

Ahhh. I can feel the tension roll off my shoulders just reading those words. Now I picture an apple tree, soaking in the sun and rain and bearing apples because, well, that is what apple trees do.

No mere matter of semantics, depending on God to carry out his work makes a real day-to-day difference as I pursue a calling to end slavery and aid its victims.

  • Only God is big enough to bear such a load. Victim’s tales of hellish existence, complex causes and seemingly irreparable damage could crush me under their weight. It is a relief to know that this task is God’s to accomplish and that, even as I take my small part in the struggle, it is He who does the heavy lifting.
  • My priorities shift. When I am “doing great things for God,”  I work feverishly and joylessly. The very One I serve too often gets relegated to a dark recess of my life, living primarily in empty words spoken by a barren soul. When I look to God to accomplish his purpose in my life, I spend time sitting at His feet, hungry for His word and for revelation, not just of His will, but of His majesty. I still enter into pain, but with it comes the joy of knowing God’s heart a little better. My eyes more clearly see the lengths to which His vast love will go for one of the least of these, my brothers and sisters.
  • In the “doing things for God” mode, I tend to operate from a place of self-satisfaction. The work feeds my ego or need for significance through all the good things I do for those needy slaves. In truth, much is expected of me, because I have been given so much. But righteous endeavor leading to a sense of self importance is not a fruit of the Spirit. When I sit at God’s feet, I remember when He walked the earth robed in flesh, and how delighted He was to hang out with prostitutes and sinners, and they with Him. He didn’t hold much store with self-satisfied religious do-gooders. Like those people surrounding Jesus long ago, victims of human trafficking and slavery are very likely to recognize how desperately bankrupt they are. There is little room for pride, self-sufficiency or even dogmatism. As He lifts my head, God floods my soul with overwhelming gratitude that I was spared the same fate as these, and I cry out for mercy lest I forget how much I have need of Him.

Any work that remains after passing through the Refiner’s fire comes only when I step away from the striving and the noise and enter into the Holy of Holies. In that place, I do not do anything great for God. But a great God, the master craftsman, accomplishes  lasting works of righteousness

What YOU Can Do to End Slavery: An Abolitionist’s Dozen

  • Host a prayer vigil. Sept. 24-26 is the 5th Annual International Weekend of Prayer and Fasting for victims of sex slavery. Find resources here.
  • Have a fair trade chocolate and coffee tasting party.
  • Show “Faces of Slavery” to your church, home group, professional org or family and friends in your home. Write for free DVD.
  • Write letters of encouragement to rescued victims in shelters. Write for info.
  • Donate books and media on human trafficking to libraries—school, public, church etc. Write for recommendations and to let us know where you gave.
  • Show a movie about human trafficking and discuss modern slavery with your friends. Suggestions: Cargo , Human Trafficking, or commercial films like Taken  or Slumdog Millionaire.   Invite us to lead the discussion if you don’t feel ready.
  • Retweet our tweets. 
  • Hold an awareness/benefit event, a Chinese auction, battle of the bands, or an outdoor movie night. We have lots of ideas. You probably do too!
  • Distribute media that helps identify victims and how to help them. (Write  for bookmarks, postcards, posters, bumper stickers. )
  • Love to read? Have a readathon to raise funds. Get friends to sponsor you per book read. Or recommend a book on human trafficking to your book club.
  • Devote your Facebook status to human trafficking information once a week. Our newsletter is a good source of information. Sign up here.
  • BEST way to engage for most people: Join one of our monthly Volunteer Action Groups: Nashville or Franklin

And…

Pass this list on to your friends!

Wanna Save Some Kids from Hell on Earth?

It’s a whole lot better to actually prevent someone from being trafficked than it is to rescue them after the fact, and it’s one of the most effective ways we can work in our communities.

Let’s think about the ways people get trafficked and what types of preventative measures might be useful.

In the case of sex slavery, sometimes girls* are recruited by a cute boy who acts like he has a romantic interest in them, a man who serves as a father figure, a girl who acts like a girlfriend or a woman who seems safe.  Did you see the movie Taken?  Remember the boy at the airport who shared a taxi cab with the two girls when they arrived from America for a European holiday?  That boy was a recruiter. 

 There are cases in which a “girlfriend” invited the victim to her home for a sleepover, then the man who was allegedly her father (but really wasn’t) popped a drug into her drink.  She wakes to find herself being raped by a succession of men. 

Often kids from abusive homes are befriended by a charmer who poses as a boyfriend.  He “loves” this girl and makes her feel special.  Over time, he says that if she loves him, she will sell herself for sex to make the money they need to buy a house and live happily ever after.  He becomes increasingly violent.  He follows tried and true methods for breaking a girl into sex slavery.  (There’s actually a manual to tell him how.  For real.) 

What if these young people—and their parents and teachers—had seen a presentation in school about the tactics and dangers of traffickers?  If we simply opened some naïve eyes, how much heartache might be avoided?

My dream is to create a presentation to do just that, and bring it to schools, youth clubs, inner city and immigrant service providers and the like.  It would take so little, to do so much good.

This project is very do-able, very affordable, and can be very effective.  Like the idea of a slave-free community?  Me too. Let’s make it happen! 

Here‘s what you can do:

  • Act in a short drama portraying the tactics of traffickers
  • Direct this drama or write the script.
  • Use your musical skills to write and/or perform a song that will stay in kids’ minds after the presentation, causing them to think twice if they encounter red flags.
  • Once polished, video the presentation so we can distribute it more broadly.
  • Take leadership. Organize and oversee this project.
  • Donate toward the cause, to "work of Derri Smith for prevention."

Contact us here

* Boys and men are trafficked too.  Because 80% of victims are female, I choose to use the feminine nouns and pronouns for victims.