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Phase One Projects
Funding from SAFE for projects that fight human trafficking in the Central Florida area occur in Phases, with each phase starting with an exploratory process to determine the greatest needs of the community, a notice to local organizations for ideas or initiatives that might help meet those needs, an evaluation and selection of those proposals based on viability, cost and other factors, a fund raising season followed by donor-supported grants provided to the selected projects. The projects below were those selected and funded in our innagural Phase, which took place over the course of 2021.
Our first project was centered around collaboration – one of the most important aspects in the fight again human trafficking. Bethany Christian Services, Harbour Hope International, and The Nurture Place – all three local Central Florida nonprofit organizations focus on direct survivor care and restoration – are working together to align and improve the continuum of care they provide to survivors. Funding from SAFE in Central Florida for this project helped to kick off the collaboration.
Our second project focused on empowering survivors to build healthy and sustainable lives – the core mission of One Purse, a local Central Florida organization that takes in donations of gently loved purses and handbags, resells them in-person and online, and uses the proceeds to fund programs to help survivors with education and employment needs. One Purse had begun hiring survivors directly to expand their operation, with great success. Funding from SAFE in Central Florida helped accelerate that hiring effort as well as ecpanding their footprint in Central Florida and nationally.
Our third project focused on reviewing and analyzing the best way to consolidate, manage and present human trafficking resource information across Central Florida. There have been lots of great efforts in this area and the goal was to collaborate across counties for an accessible, comprehensive, maintained directory. Christian HELP, a local Central Florida organization that provides employment, food, and spiritual resources to prevent homelessness – understood the value of a comprehensive directory from their work against homelessness – and stepped up to tackle this project.
A key pressure point along the path of restoration is having official identification. Many survivors lose or have their identification taken by their traffickers, forcing them into a difficult situation where they must prove who they are in a world where official identification is required to gain access to basic social services. Services that are needed to develop a safer and more fulfilling life. That is where IDignity, a local Central Florida nonprofit, comes in. They focus exclusively on helping those in need regain their identification. Funding from SAFE in Central Florida helped support IDignity continue this necessary work.
Our final project addresses the ongoing lack of housing options for survivors in Central Florida. Samaritan Village is well known for their long-term, trauma informed, holistic rehabilitation safe housing program for adult female survivors. This program has an average length of eighteen months. However, statistics show that there is an approximate 3 year window of vulnerability which leaves survivors susceptible to relapse, recidivism and re-exploitation.
Samaritan Village is in the process of opening a transitional housing program which will provide a safe environment for the next stage of transition. This will increase the rate of success toward independent living.
We are targeting finalization of our Phase Two strategy in the third quarter of 2022.
Alliance partners are people and organizations with a shared vision willing to provide resources and expertise in the fight for the cause.
We know the criminal network behind sexual exploitation is vast, diverse, and well-organized, and we must be the same if we are going to fight it. We applaud each of the following Alliance partners for stepping into the fight and believing with us that we can have a state that is free of commercial sexual exploitation.