Dear friends and supporters of Traffick911,
Last year’s annual report was themed: Poised for Greater Impact. It was based on growth in 2014 outputs. And the metrics from 2015 indeed show we were Poised for Greater Impact – but we were also Poised for Powerful Learning.
As you will see in our 2015 Year In Review, Traffick911 made great strides in prevention and identification. But as you may know, we graduated girls from Triumph House in May of 2015 and began the work to transition our therapeutic model and the location to be closer to Dallas/Fort Worth. Our insight from 18 months of operation led us to collaborate with a leading provider of therapeutic homes for young survivors of sex trafficking. So we said goodbye to colleagues while we transitioned.
Then came a civil suit naming Traffick911 as a defendant. We are confident that this claim from our support of a survivor in 2012 is utterly baseless and that Traffick911 has done nothing wrong. We are so privileged to have the counsel of international law firm Holland & Knight guide us through the process that we’re hopeful will resolve as we near trial in October 2016.
These were challenges to be sure, but challenges are often used by God to help hone strategies and priorities.
Everyday, Traffick911 is involved in sowing into lives traumatized by our hyper-sexualized culture. We want to get ahead of the tragedies – to keep more youth from falling prey to traffickers or becoming a buyer. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
So armed with recent neuroscience and attitudinal research, we have added Hooked: Porn’s Hold on the Brain™ to our prevention programming to educate on the brain impacts of pornography. It fuels demand for the buying of sex. This program joins our Traps of a Trafficker™ training and our America’s Hidden Slavery sex trafficking overview as vital tools to inform communities -- and most importantly at-risk youth -- about the dangers in our changing culture.
In 2015, we expanded our juvenile detention outreach geographically through the Traffick911 Affiliate Program. We are partnering with organizations outside our service area who have deep knowledge about sex trafficking in their communities, established relationships with law enforcement and a cadre of volunteers committed to making a difference. Affiliates license our programs, pay a license fee and provide metrics to Traffick911. We welcomed three new affiliates in 2015: Into the Light, Mountain Home, AR • Paso Del Norte Center of Hope, El Paso, TX • New Life Refuge, Corpus Christi, TX. Arizona and Florida affiliates are underway in 2016.
Our challenges viewed side-by-side the victories helped us recognize the unique and credible role we play:
We are called to prevention, identification and empowerment.
That may seem like semantic changes from our previous three-prong strategy of prevention, rescue and restoration. But the refinement is proven out in the evidence of what we have learned.
- Prevention continues as it has with new programs mentioned above plus new Buyer Interruption Program to begin in 2016.
- Identification is truthfully a better word for the hard and challenging work of identifying survivors (Traffick911 was responsible for identifying approx. 2.4% of all sex trafficking victims in the Western Hemisphere in 2014 according to U.S. State Department Trafficking in Persons Report). We identify survivors through our juvenile detention outreach, Internet surveillance teams, and first responder trainings. “Rescue” is often used by organizations that leverage law enforcement/tactical recovery techniques to remove youth from harmful situations. That is NOT what we do. So calling our prong “Identification” is a better fit -- and maps to one of the key metrics measured by the U.S. State Department.
- Empowerment replaces Restoration as a prong. This includes adding a case manager at Traffick911 who works to connect survivors (identified through our programs above) to trauma-informed counseling, housing and other specialized services. Additionally, Traffick911 staff will maintain relationships with survivors and walk with them through their journey into adult years, supporting them in a myriad of ways. As we have grown in length of relationships with survivors and witnessed the stages of change they journey through, “restoration” was too neat, tidy and often even presumptuous for the reality we know. Restoration from this trauma is a lifelong journey. We will be there as friends and supporters, walking with them – but we can’t force restoration on them. They have to choose it.
So with those refinements, we have concluded managing a residential therapeutic home was best done by other organizations. They do amazing work: we deeply respect them and will continue to refer clients to these colleagues on a regular basis. But Traffick911 is NOT going to be a residential provider. We are going to free youth from sex trafficking through prevention, identification and empowerment.
There is joy in living in “your lane” and making impact where God blesses your efforts. We have found that the power of great programs and even greater volunteers can continue and in fact grow the impact of the organization. At the end of the day, it’s about the lives we touch and impact on them through our programs.
We’re ever grateful for your passion and commitment to free youth from sex trafficking with us. To honor our faithful sustainers, we are creating Friends of Freedom for friends who join us at the $500 a year (either monthly at $42/mo., quarterly or annual gift) or more. We invite you to consider joining Friends of Freedom by supporting our work monthly or increasing your monthly commitment so that together we can see more youth set free.
Click below to download our 2015 Year In Review,
Voices from the Journey:
George Lynch, Chief Executive Officer