My name is Mary Kate (Donnell) Soliva and I am a volunteer Ambassador of Shared Hope International. I am also a Special Operations soldier currently serving in the US Army. I joined the fight to combat human trafficking in 2012 while a student at the University of Guam.
After hearing about the first known human trafficking case on Guam, I felt called to do something. I empowered others to spread awareness, volunteered as a victim advocate, and started a fund for survivors. I stood alongside students, local leaders, and members of the community at main intersections in Guam with a message saying, “It’s Happening”. This prompted people to ask what was happening and we would proceed to explain that human trafficking exists. We worked tirelessly to meet with local Rotary Clubs and Politicians to discuss the myths that often surround human trafficking, how to support survivors, and resources to educate others. I volunteered to assist the US Attorney of Guam and the local Human Trafficking Task Force. It was during our trip to Palau where I first met former Congresswoman and founder of Shared Hope International, Linda Smith. I was amazed at the work she was doing globally and continue to support her efforts to this day. As a soldier, I was able to help establish a Human Trafficking Task Force outside of Fort Detrick, Maryland. Throughout my career as a soldier, I coordinated training for hundreds of military personnel on the impact and signs of sex trafficking.
What if you had the resources to conduct training with those in your local community? If you are in the military, will you take the opportunity to train other servicemembers about human trafficking? Many of us lead busy lives, but there is a way to support and get involved in the fight against human trafficking. As a volunteer Ambassador of Shared Hope International, I provide knowledge and training to other servicemembers and my community. I am just one person but imagine how much more we could accomplish if we all answered the call to stop the demand of sex trafficking. While I was deployed, I had the privilege of providing awareness about human trafficking to fellow servicemembers and the host nation. Having a conversation is a great start in prevention and it could make all the difference to someone. This is not a fight just for those wearing the uniform, but a call to serve for everyone around the world.
Things you can do right now:
- Have a conversation with those you know about human trafficking and find out how much they know.
- Learn about local resources and services in your area that help survivors of sex trafficking.
- Become a volunteer Ambassador of Hope and join the fight against human trafficking.
Other Resource: Renting Lacy
Mary Kate (Donnell) Soliva
Special Operations/ US Army
Trained Ambassador of Hope