Founder and President
Linda Smith is a leader in the global movement to end sex trafficking. In 1998, while serving in the U.S. Congress, Linda traveled to a notorious brothel district in India where the hopeless faces of women and children forced into prostitution compelled Linda to found Shared Hope International. Linda is the primary author of From Congress to the Brothel and Renting Lacy and co-author of The National Report on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking and the DEMAND. Report. Linda has testified before Congress, presented at national and international forums, and has been published in news outlets and journals. Linda served as a Washington State legislator (1983-93), before she was elected to the U.S. Congress in 1994.
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Linda Smith is a leader in the global movement to end sex trafficking of women and children around the world and in the United States. In 1998, while still a member of the U.S. Congress, Linda traveled to Falkland Road in Mumbai, India—one of the worst brothel districts in the world. The hopeless faces of desperate women and children forced into prostitution compelled Linda to found Shared Hope International (SHI). SHI was established to support shelter and service creation for sex trafficking survivors using a comprehensive model for restoration. By partnering with local organizations, SHI provides restorative care, shelter, and education and job skills training through the Women’s Investment Network (WIN) at Homes and Villages of Hope where women and children can live without time limit. Today, Shared Hope provides leadership in education and training, prevention strategies, research, and policy initiatives.
Linda founded the War Against Trafficking Alliance (WATA) in 2001, coordinating regional and international efforts necessary to combat sex trafficking. In 2003, WATA co-sponsored the World Summit with the U.S. Department of State, uniting leaders from 114 nations that demonstrated sustained commitment to protect the vulnerable from the sex trade. Six international summits followed, leading governments in under-achieving nations to pass human trafficking laws and plan for enforcement. In 2006, SHI spearheaded the U.S. Mid-Term Review on the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC)—bringing together leaders from across the United States to assess progress made in combating the sexual slavery of children in America. The U.S. Mid-Term Review on CSEC in America was the basis for a United States – Canada Regional Consultation in preparation for the 2008 World Congress III Against CSEC, where the report was presented by Shared Hope as part of the U.S. delegation.
Under a grant from the U.S. Department of State, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, Linda and her team conducted field research in Jamaica, the Netherlands, Japan, and the U.S. to investigate the business model fueling the sex industry. These findings were compiled in the 2007 publication of the DEMAND. report and the production of the DEMAND. documentary.
Since 2006, Linda and SHI have worked in partnership with human trafficking task forces in cities across the U.S. to provide research, training, and technical assistance. With funding from the U.S. Department of Justice, SHI conducted four years of research on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST)—the exploitation of American children through prostitution, pornography or sexual performance. In 2009, Linda presented the findings in The National Report on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking: America’s Prostituted Children to Congress. By examining the governmental and nongovernmental efforts and gaps in addressing child sex trafficking in the U.S., this research pioneered today’s movement against child sex slavery in America. Both DEMAND. and the National Report have been entered into the Congressional Record. Using this research as a platform, Linda is an advocate for a strengthened response at the federal level, and has been instrumental in helping states design legislative frameworks to protect the innocence of America’s children.
In 2011, Linda commissioned a landmark initiative to assess every state’s laws as they relate to or impact domestic minor sex trafficking. This project, the Protected Innocence Challenge, is a strategy to comprehensively combat child sex trafficking by identifying gaps in state laws and providing a blueprint for legislative action. Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna spoke in support of this initiative, stating that the attention it draws to the issue is necessary to create effective change. Additionally, Linda designed an integrated training and awareness model, Do You Know Lacy?, aimed at educating a variety of audiences using a multi-dimensional approach.
As a foremost expert on international and domestic trafficking, Linda has spoken out against the trafficking of women and children in numerous Congressional hearings and in national and international forums, such as the World Conference on Trafficking and the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission on the Protection of Children. Linda has participated in more than 300 media interviews, and has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, USA Today, Dan Rather Reports, ABC News, the Dr. Phil show, O’Reilly Factor, and CBN. Linda received the 2009 Soroptimist Making a Difference for Women Award and the 2010 Soroptimist Ruby Award: For Women Helping Women. Linda has been published in news outlets and journals around the world; including The New York Times, the Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, the International Review of Penal Law, and the Regent University Law Review.
Linda’s political career began in 1983 as a Washington State legislator. From 1983 to 1993, Linda served as a member of the Washington State House of Representatives (1983-86) and State Senate (1987-93). During her time as Senator, Linda chaired the State Senate Children and Family Services Committee, overseeing programs related to issues of children and families with a focus on protection, restoration, adoption, child welfare, drug rehabilitation, and homeless children. While in office, Linda drafted a package of foster care bills that provided greater permanency for foster youth by limiting the number of times they could be moved. In 1994, she was elected to the U.S. Congress following a remarkable grassroots write-in campaign where she defeated the only Republican candidate listed on the primary ballot.
While in Congress she became known for her stand against taking special interest money and served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, a position that provided her initial exposure to the horror of sex slavery. Her compassionate and uncompromising belief that every individual has dignity has carried her from advocating for permanent safe homes for children as the State Senate chair of the Children and Family Services Committee, to the halls of Congress, and ultimately to searching out victims in red light districts around the world. Linda and her husband, Vern, reside in Vancouver, Washington and are the proud parents of two and grandparents of six.
Senior Director, Emeritus Board
Nancy is a Senior Director and member of Shared Hope’s Emeritus Board. Nancy has long been active in the movement against sex trafficking and has worked alongside Linda Smith, founder of Shared Hope International, since 2002. Nancy’s diverse responsibilities include speaking, writing, training, donor interactions, restorative shelter initiatives, and partner relationships. Since 2008, she has been a member of the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force Victim Services Committee. She served as chair of the task force’s Legislative Committee in 2012 and 2013 and received the Governor’s Service Award for Volunteerism in 2013 for her leadership in that role. Nancy is pursuing her Masters in Social Work.
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Nancy has served as an integral part of Shared Hope since its inception. In the early days of Shared Hope, Nancy hosted President and Founder Linda Smith during her travel to Washington, D.C. and served as a local volunteer. As Shared Hope grew, so did Nancy’s position within Shared Hope and she was elected to sit on the Shared Hope International Board of Directors, a position she held for six years. During this time, Nancy assisted in organizing the War Against Trafficking Alliance in 2002. She participated in the Path Breaking Strategies Conference in Washington, DC in 2003 and in the Next Steps Conference in Mumbai in 2004, as well as the Justice Department Domestic Trafficking and Prostitution conference in Tampa in 2004 and the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Mid Term Review in DC in 2006. She represented Shared Hope at the White House Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives in 2007 and 2008. In 2008, she left her career in healthcare information technology at Cerner Corporation to begin a second career with Shared Hope International.
Today, Nancy is a Senior Director whose diverse responsibilities include speaking, writing, training, donor relations, restorative shelter initiatives, and partner relationships. Since 2008, she has been a member of the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force Victim Services Committee. She served as chair of the task force’s Legislative Committee in 2012 and 2013 and received the Governor’s Service Award for Volunteerism in 2013 for her leadership in that role. As a task force member and a Shared Hope employee, she provides expert testimony at committee hearings in the Maryland legislature in support of legislation that would toughen the state’s anti-trafficking laws. Nancy earned a B.S. in Biology from Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, IN. She is currently pursuing a Masters of Social Work at the University of Maryland in Baltimore, MD.
Samantha joined Shared Hope International in 2005 to direct research for the DEMAND report and documentary for the U.S. Department of State. Samantha co-authored The National Report on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking based on research for the U.S. Department of Justice. Samantha designed and directs the Protected Innocence Challenge, which establishes a framework of laws necessary to combat sex trafficking in each state. Previously, Samantha served as the director of the American Bar Association Central European and Eurasian Law Initiative’s Moldova office implementing anti-trafficking legislation development and legal services for victims of trafficking. She is a graduate of Boston College and the University of Miami School of Law.
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Samantha Vardaman is the lead on policy issues for Shared Hope International coordinating advocacy efforts to further the protection of sex trafficking victims. Samantha joined Shared Hope International in July 2005 to direct the Trafficking Markets project researching sex trafficking markets in Jamaica, Japan, the Netherlands, and the United States funded by the U.S. Department of State, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. The resulting report, DEMAND, and a documentary of the same name have been leading resources in the discussion of demand as a primary cause of sex trafficking.
In 2006, Samantha began directing a three year research project in ten U.S. locations into the sex trafficking of American and lawful permanent resident minors in the United States. The Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking project funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance has led to published assessments of the identification and delivery of services to victims of child sex trafficking in each of the ten locations, as well as training resources for first responders new to the issue. An eleventh location was assessed in 2009—Broward and Dade Counties, Florida. The research was compiled into The National Report on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking: America’s Prostituted Children, released in July at a Congressional briefing to highlight the issue of child sex trafficking in America and admitted into the Congressional Record at a hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Human Rights and Oversight on the issue of International Violence Against Women in October 2009.
Samantha is a licensed attorney and practiced law in the Washington, DC area before focusing her efforts on human rights advocacy and international development. Before joining Shared Hope International, Samantha was the Director of the Moldova office for the American Bar Association’s Central European and Eurasian Law Initiative (ABA/CEELI) where she directed a rule of law program which included anti-trafficking legislation development, anti-corruption initiatives, legal and judicial training, economic empowerment initiatives, and facilitating the provision of pro bono legal services for the public, including victims of human trafficking and their families.
Samantha has her undergraduate degree from Boston College and her law degree from the University of Miami School of Law.
Senior Director of Finance
As Senior Director of Finance, Sheila is a senior staff member in Shared Hope International’s Vancouver, Washington office. Sheila joined Shared Hope in 2007 to lead the Finance Department. She provides fiscal guidance and direction to Shared Hope and oversees all financial activities. Prior to joining Shared Hope, Sheila’s past career involved various areas of corporate accounting and business administration. Sheila has volunteered in several capacities with other non-profit organizations working with homeless shelters and crisis pregnancy centers.
Director of Communications
Taryn Offenbacher joined Shared Hope International in 2009. She has completed field research and authored reports on the sex trafficking of U.S. citizen minors in Arizona and Virginia. She designed the Protected Innocence Challenge toolkits, providing resources and strategy for improvements in state’s legal framework addressing trafficking. Her ongoing concentration in leveraging social and digital media to generate awareness has resulted in extensive coverage and awareness of the dynamics of child sex trafficking in the U.S. Taryn graduated summa cum laude from Northern Arizona University with a dual degree in public relations and advertising and a certificate in economics.
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Taryn Offenbacher joined Shared Hope International in 2009. After completing an analysis of data derived from a study of case files from a youth crisis center for indicators of domestic minor sex trafficking, Taryn designed a case study on trafficking victim identification within the sexual violence context for presentation at the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence Conference in February 2010. In 2010, Taryn completed field research and authored reports on the sex trafficking of United States citizen and lawful permanent resident minors in Arizona and in Virginia, under methodology funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance.
Taryn designed the Protected Innocence Challenge toolkits, providing resources and a strategy for improvements in the legal framework criminalizing sex trafficking of minors and providing victims protections. She has appeared on webcasts hosted by the Family Research Council and the Christian Broadcasting Network. Taryn has presented before the Arizona Judicial Conference, Victims’ Rights Caucus, and Governor’s Conference on Combatting Human Trafficking in Maryland in addition to local church and community events. Her ongoing concentration in leveraging social and digital media to generate awareness has resulted in extensive coverage and awareness of the dynamics of child sex trafficking in the U.S.
Taryn graduated summa cum laude from Northern Arizona University with a dual degree in public relations and advertising and a certificate in economics, and led the public relations team as creative director for Associated Students of Northern Arizona University and marketing team as marketing director of an urgent care facility.
Policy Counsel Christine Raino joined Shared Hope International in 2011 as part of the Protected Innocence Challenge. As a member of the Protected Innocence team, Christine helped draft the legal analysis of the 50 states and District of Columbia that laid the foundation for the Protected Innocence Challenge Report Cards. As Policy Counsel, Christine continues to focus on issues of domestic minor sex trafficking and leads the management of Protected Innocence Challenge components, including the Demanding Justice Project which directly addresses the issue of demand for sex trafficked minors by researching enforcement of the state laws analyzed under the demand components of the Protected Innocence Framework. Christine is responsible for advocacy efforts to further the protection of sex trafficking victims through legislative change consistent with the Protected Innocence Framework and provides technical assistance to legislators drafting bills to combat sex trafficking.
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Christine Raino joined Shared Hope International in 2011 as part of the Protected Innocence Challenge. As a member of the Protected Innocence team, Christine helped draft the legal analysis of the 50 states and District of Columbia that laid the foundation for the Protected Innocence Challenge Report Cards. As Policy Counsel, Christine continues to focus on issues of domestic minor sex trafficking and leads the management of Protected Innocence Challenge components, including the Demanding Justice Project which directly addresses the issue of demand for sex trafficked minors by researching enforcement of the state laws analyzed under the demand components of the Protected Innocence Framework. Christine is responsible for advocacy efforts to further the protection of sex trafficking victims through legislative change consistent with the Protected Innocence Framework and provides technical assistance to legislators drafting bills to combat sex trafficking.
Christine is a licensed attorney and practiced law in the Washington, DC area after graduating from the Washington College of Law at American University. Christine’s background with human trafficking began before law school, in her role as a resettlement case manager at the International Institute of Boston, where she worked for five years assisting refugees, asylees and victims of trafficking in achieving self-sufficiency through federal and state resettlement programs. Christine’s work at the International Institute of Boston followed her graduation from Boston College with a degree in Philosophy.
Director of Programs
Eliza Reock has an extensive background in non-profit and private foundation leadership. Prior to joining Shared Hope she managed the distribution and strategic implementation of funding for human trafficking research, coalition and taskforce development. Eliza has served in advisory and committee roles at the state and national level contributing to the development of service protocols and strategies for victims. As Director of Programs, Eliza manages Shared Hope’s funding and development of restoration programs, monitors and evaluates current services partners, speaks and trains on the issue and works to identify and share leading field techniques to develop service and shelter provision systems across the nation.
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Eliza Reock has a strong background in non-profit and private foundation leadership. Prior to joining the Shared Hope team she was responsible for the distribution and strategic implementation of over $3 million in funding targeted towards combatting domestic minor sex trafficking supporting a range of issues including advocacy to end online classified facilitation of sex trafficking, grassroots coalition building, comprehensive research initiatives and taskforce development for state level programs. Eliza has served in numerous advisory and committee roles at both the state and national level contributing to the development of a services protocol in Georgia, path-breaking strategies in access to services for child sex trafficking victims and promising practices guidelines for other states. She is a frequent speaker and trainer on domestic minor sex trafficking identification and response and has worked to combat child sex slavery through research, advocacy and direct victim service.
As Director of Programs at Shared Hope International, Eliza manages Shared Hope’s funding and development of restoration programs, monitors and evaluates current services partners and works to identify and share leading field techniques to develop service and shelter provision systems across the nation. She also provides critical policy support to Shared Hope’s Protected Innocence Challenge as an advocate on the issues around establishing protections against Internet facilitation of child sex trafficking.
Director of Training
Elizabeth Scaife joined Shared Hope International in 2009 and is presently the organization’s lead trainer on domestic minor sex trafficking. She develops and implements customized training curriculums for various audiences across the United States on how to identify and respond to victims. Elizabeth has trained federal, state and local representatives of various disciplines, including state policy leaders, and provides technical assistance to Human Trafficking Task Forces in several states. She also coordinates Shared Hope’s national training conference which emphasizes a unique collaborative community approach. On the side, Elizabeth has worked undercover with other professionals to document child sex trafficking in the U.S., appearing on national television.
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Elizabeth Scaife joined Shared Hope International in 2009 and is presently the organization’s lead trainer on domestic minor sex trafficking. Previously, Elizabeth directed a national awareness campaign, Kids are Not For Sale, in three major cities and managed the funding and development of Shared Hope’s many partner programs. She has provided technical assistance to several state Human Trafficking Task Forces and oversight to the development of external resources and training curriculums on sex trafficking. She has worked with other staff to create prevention resources specifically for youth, Chosen and Chosen-Gang Edition, authoring key resources for educators, adults and teens. In 2014, she led the production of the Spanish version of this resource.
Currently, Elizabeth develops and implements customized training curriculums for various audiences across the United States on how to identify and respond to domestic minor victims, focusing primarily on law enforcement, service providers, and juvenile justice employees. Through these requests, Elizabeth has personally trained over 4,500 federal, state and local representatives of various disciplines. She also coordinates Shared Hope’s national training conference which emphasizes a unique collaborative community approach, recruiting multiple experts to instruct on dozens of key topics related to juvenile sex trafficking. She is currently an active member of the Washington, D.C. Human Trafficking Task Force and the Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force. Collaborating closely with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, she operates as the co-chair of the training branch within the D.C. Task Force. In addition to training, Elizabeth creates training resources on behalf of Shared Hope for professionals nationwide. She has written, directed and produced the Gang TRAP video training series (2014), re-created the Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Training Guide (2014) to incorporate adult learning principles and produced the newly-updated Intervene Resource package (2013). She has volunteered with other individuals to lead street outreach efforts in Washington D.C., offering assistance to women and teens in the commercial sex industry. Elizabeth has also worked undercover with other professionals to document child sex trafficking in the U.S., appearing on a nationally recognized program, “Our America with Lisa Ling.”
Prior to joining Shared Hope, Elizabeth graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi, where she was employed post-graduation as an International Student Outreach Coordinator, responsible for organizing cross-cultural events and experiences. Following this, she spent several years assisting and coordinating projects for education and humanitarian aid in thirteen countries worldwide including two years specifically focused on managing a disaster relief program in post-Katrina New Orleans.
Board of Directors - Shared Hope International
2014 Board of Directors
Dan O’Bryant of Colorado Springs, CO holds a Juris Doctor degree from Drake University, and served as a Judge Advocate General (JAG) in the United States Air Force. He served as a prosecutor then later as an Area Defense Counsel. He was also a Law Professor at the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. His past experience also includes 10 years as a financial advisor with Edward Jones Investments. In 2003-4 he was a candidate for the US Senate from Colorado. Most recently, from 2004 to 2013, he served as one of 3 principals in the The Eickmann Group, a defense consulting firm. O’Bryant was the Administrative Pastor of The Gathering, a non-denominational congregation in Colorado Springs, in 2010-2011. He has served on numerous not-for-profit boards throughout his career. In April, 2014, O’Bryant spoke on behalf of SHI at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University. He also represented SHI at the 2013 Conference on Crimes Against Children in Dallas, TX.
Co-Secretary/Treasurer David Austen has served with Shared Hope International since 1998. He is a Certified Public Accountant in Vancouver, Washington. He also serves as treasurer for Dare to Live and Shared Blessings. He lives in Vancouver with his wife Marjie and has four children and 11 grandchildren.
Marjie Austen is a Physical Therapist Assistant, grassroots political organizer and master gardener from Vancouver, Washington. She has raised four spectacular children with her husband David, and thoroughly enjoys her eleven grandkids. A founding board member of Shared Hope, Marjie joined the fight against sex trafficking in 1998. Marjie has traveled around the world with Shared Hope and has been privileged to work alongside many wonderful people in providing restoration for survivors of trafficking.
Sandra joined the Board of Shared Hope International in May 2013 and is the only board member residing outside of the United States. She is based in Singapore where she works for Microsoft Asia Pacific as their Director for Business Management. As part of her Microsoft job, Sandra drives the overall governance of the Senior Leadership team in Asia Pacific, as well as helping to manage the day-to-day operations for the business. Sandra has spent the last 16.5 years in Microsoft being based in various locations including Malaysia, Seattle and now in Singapore. Sandra earned her BA in Communications from Washington State University.
Sue Hotelling joined Shared Hope International’s Board of Directors in 2010. She also serves on the Path to Freedom Homes subcommittee and co-leads the Terry’s House advisory board. A 14-year veteran at Microsoft, Sue is Director of Awareness, Communications and Training for the Enterprise and Security group within Microsoft’s Operating Systems Group. Prior to this role, Sue led the Child Protection Program for the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit (DCU), a part of the Law and Corporate Affairs group. During her tenure in the DCU, Sue led the development, implementation and partnership program for PhotoDNA – an advanced technology designed to help electronic service providers identify, report and remove child exploitative material from various internet storage sites. Before working at Microsoft, Sue worked as the managing paralegal at the Hagens Berman law firm and as the supervisory paralegal specialist for the Criminal Division of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington, both in Seattle. Sue received her paralegal accreditation from the American Institute of Paralegal Studies at Seattle Pacific University. Sue resides in Snohomish, Washington, with her husband and three dogs, attends fellowship at Snohomish Community Church and is active in a plethora of volunteer activities.
Nick Lembo’s career as area general manager of large health club groups in three different urban communities for over 16 years, as well as his experiences as a market manager for Office Max stores, enabled him to interact with large groups of people in corporate environments and also informed his views regarding various community issues. He now serves as a pastor of Generations Church of DuPont, Washington, as well as assisting community needs-based groups that serve the homeless. Nick currently sits on the Board of Shared Hope International and is Co-Chairman of Defenders USA, the Men of Shared Hope International. For the last three years he has been a presenter for Shared Hope International at national conferences, and has spoken at community forums throughout Washington State. Nick is an active supporter of other government organizations. He volunteers at Joint Base Lewis McChord in Washington, serving to encourage soldiers, and strengthen family structures. He is networked in his community with education, business and politics throughout the Pacific Northwest. Nick is very happily married with four children and three grandchildren.
Curtis Lind Jr.
Current Co-Secretary/Treasurer Curtis brings over 20 years of International Human Resource experience in the areas of Total Rewards, Benefits, Training, Operations, Strategy, and Global Mobility. He has a Master of Science in Human Resource Design from Claremont University. His experience includes working for Toyota Motor Sales, Intel Corporation, and Columbia Sportswear Company where he is presently employed. His experience with Intel also included a Regional Expatriate role in Asia between 1989 and 2001 and extensive experience in building the HR practices and policy around compliance in the region. In his free time he enjoys the outdoors, backpacking, camping and, more specifically, fly fishing.
Vern Smith co-founded Shared Hope International in November 1998 with his wife Congresswoman Linda Smith (U.S. Congress 1995-99). In 2006, he established The Defenders USA, the men of Shared Hope International. He currently serves on the Shared Hope International Board of Directors and co-chairs the Defenders committee of the board. Vern has actively served Shared Hope International since its inception with a focus on men. Since 2006, he has continued to lead a local group of Defenders in Vancouver, Washington. His Defender group donated, remodeled, and raised operation funds through the Path to Freedom to establish a restoration home for 18-24 year old sex trafficking survivors. He has participated in various events over the 16 years of Shared Hope International’s existence including the Pathbreaking Strategies Conference in Washington, D.C. in 2003, the Next Steps Conference in Mumbai, India in 2004, and the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Mid-Term Review in Washington, D.C. in 2006. Vern has worked for the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Rail Road for over 40 years, is an active leader in his church and devoted to restoration of men who have come out of prison and or addiction. He and his wife Linda are the proud parents of two and grandparents of six.
Our story begins in 1998 when U.S. Congresswoman Linda Smith traveled into the heart of the brothel district in Mumbai, India where she witnessed the brutal exploitation and sexual slavery of women and children. She established Shared Hope International to rescue and restore women and children enslaved in sex trafficking.