IAPF is proud to spotlight our CITY GALA 2019 co-beneficiary – Selah Freedom – a national organization with the mission to end sex trafficking and bring freedom to the exploited through four strong programs: Awareness, Prevention, Outreach and Residential.
Due to the hard work of anti-trafficking advocacy groups, the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals specifically mention human trafficking in the targets of three goals: 5, 8, and 16.
Selah Freedom actively confronts the issue of sex trafficking and is being upheld as the model for how to effectively bring solutions to survivors of sex trafficking & exploitation. Selah is a Hebrew word which means to pause, rest, and reflect. We give survivors a chance to do just that. Women in our programs have an opportunity to dream again; to discover who it is they were created to be.
SELAH FREEDOM’S HISTORY & FOUNDERS (from SelahFreedom.com)
In early 2010, Laurie Swink and Misty Stinson were inspired to launch a home for sex trafficking survivors in an effort to bring solutions to the victims of this horrible reality. Having seen a video of a young survivor who had been rescued from sex trafficking only to find herself with nowhere to turn to, Laurie was struck by the words “Who will give them a home?” This call for help pierced Laurie’s heart and brought forth the desire to help these victims; to be the one who would make a difference, and give them a home.
That same year, Elizabeth Melendez-Fisher moved to Sarasota, and was in the process of organizing a women’s leadership event with a team from Chicago. Three hundred women attended this event from the Sarasota/Bradenton area, including Laurie and Misty, who joined the leadership team. At the time none of them realized the tremendous outcome that would evolve from this partnership.
Before meeting Laurie and Misty, the Chicago team had extensively researched the local area for a worthy cause to support. Asking around, they were repeatedly presented with the horrifying fact that local children were being sold for sex.
They were shocked to learn that human trafficking was not just an overseas, international issue, but that it was right here on our very own streets. In fact, over 300,000 American children are sold for sex each year.
This group of women became determined to highlight and help fund a local anti-sex trafficking organization, but sadly, there was none to be found. At this point Laurie and Misty realized the true reason they were involved in the women’s event, and shared their mission for what would become Selah Freedom.
The Selah Way Foundation is a global network of leading anti-sex trafficking service providers dedicated to eradicating this issue on a global scale. By locking arms with well vetted, expert organizations in this movement, The Selah Way Foundation creates a solid system of care for survivors of sex trafficking. By the end of 2018, The Selah Way Foundation will reach its goal of raising $15 million (and by 2020, $55 million) to fuel its three initiatives: Prevention, Protection and Provision. These three initiatives will exponentially expand every year to eradicate sex trafficking on a global scale.
This unique Foundation will fund the expansion and ongoing success of Selah Freedom along with other nationally-renown organizations which will lock arms to provide the highest level of continuity and scope of services, standards and outcomes.