It's been a while since I've talked about Project Liberty on my blog. When people ask me how to get involved in the fight against human trafficking, I always point them to Project Liberty first. They're a small group making a big difference in the stand against modern day slavery. They're also humble, so it's easy to miss just how much they do. Whenever I get an update from Saundra, their founder, I'm floored by all they're involved in. Here's just a glimpse of what they've been up to lately, taken from a message I received from Saundra. They've had some victories and cases that didn't turn out as they'd hoped, but on they fight.
A little update...
This past year we were contacted about a missing 19-year-old because law enforcement had pretty much exhausted all leads and information. The mom called us and it was evident to us this fit the profile of Human Trafficking. We searched for and located the girl, who was taken from Michigan to a large city in another state. It appeared she'd been lured into meeting these people who were going to get her into the music industry, writing and singing.... Of course when she got there they were waiting for her as soon as she got off the bus.
We worked with the law enforcement (NYPD) and found her with the info we gave them. But she was too scared to walk away and ran from help! We kept tracking her until she showed up in another large city, in another state (Portland, Maine). We contacted PPD and by this time we had Homeland Security working with us. PPD went from hotel to hotel and found her and she finally accepted help. PPD was wonderful! They put her in a hotel, which we paid for ($450) at a discount.
We helped her get into GEMS and a pimp found her (back in NYC) and started contacting her there and GEMS had to let her go. They recommended another place, but this girl was so upset she went back to the street! Now, she is on the streets of NYC in this weather! She stayed a Covenant House for a while. Her mother is in touch with her from time to time and we have sent messages to this girl about a church that would take her into their warming center. But we have not heard that she actually went there.
Both the NYPD and PPD were wonderful to work with. I got to know them very well and our investigator did fantastic work and has continued to assist NYPD on other cases. They have thanked us many time for our work, and we've remained in contact. And the PPD was just awesome. They had social workers meet and become friends with the victim and I spent many hours on the phone with them for the month she was there. I got an email a few months ago from PPD thanking us for our work because it help them to get 3 federal indictments and one of them was an underage prostitution ring!! Thank God!
Now, we are beginning to have victims who have escaped or been rescued contact us for assistance. I don't have the heart to turn them away and say that's not what we do. The Lord has put them in my path! They don't have a lot of resources or finances. We have taken on supporting some of the victims financially as donations come in. This is how we met the survivor I wrote about in the email. We have been working with her for a year and half and she has come so far!
So we've begun to develop teams to work one-on-one with victims to help them find resources and social services. They don't have computers, don't know who to call, don't have printers to print out all the forms requested, and many don't even have transportation to and from appointments.... and so much more. So we are creating VAST - Victims Assistance/Support Teams. Working one on one with some social workers and mentors. Please pray about that as we organize this new part of Project Liberty.
Right now, Project Liberty has an urgent need for a specific trafficking victim. If you can at all, please click below to donate and help her cause. Any amount is welcome. (I know I've hesitated to donate to these before because I had $5 to spare and it felt too small an amount - I want to assure potential donors that we truly do welcome any amount. It adds up!)
And if you want to become involved in the fight against trafficking, I urge you to contact Project Liberty. They are definitely the good guys. (And for all of you Vance Davis fans - these guys are the real deal that inspired the character.)
Rolling hills that had been vibrant green just weeks ago were now muted in tone, as if they were taking a deep breath before bursting into the song of fall.