by Nancy Winston, Senior Director
With the establishment of Shared Hope in 1998, efforts began with international partners and restoration was the sole focus. Starting here was the foundation for our education on what “restoration” really looked like. Early on, we provided safe places for some in India, Nepal, Jamaica, Fiji, and South Africa to escape lives of misery and live in places of safety. However, it quickly became clear that a place of safety was by no means an entire solution. The words of one survivor made this quite clear: “What do you mean by restoration? How can you restore something that was never there?”
This simple observation expanded our thinking on the subject. One needs to produce something before it can be re-produced, create something before it can be re-created, and confirm something before it can be re-confirmed! This was the beginning of our mission to Prevent. Restore. Bring Justice, and a more complete picture of restoration.
At Shared Hope, we often talk about the three pillars of focus to bring an end to sex trafficking—Prevent. Restore. Bring Justice. Those of us who work within the organization typically orient around one of those priority areas. However, as our anti-trafficking movement has matured domestically, we have come to see the priorities more as overlapping layers of fabric making something like a garment of protection. Here in the US, there are children raised in abusive homes, who may go through seven or eight subsequent foster care homes. They flee these dangerous situations on their own, only to get entangled with a trafficker by deception, out of desperation. Even more tragically, they often get involved in a crime because they are the criminal’s property and at the scene. These are the children for whom we actively advocate with our State Report Cards. They needed information to prevent them from falling prey to traffickers. They needed a stable system of care if their birth family couldn’t provide it. They needed to have an alternative to the desperate run in search of someone/anyone who cared. They needed access to trauma informed resources that would treat them with compassion and respect despite their resistance. They needed to have an advocate who understood the circumstances that involved them in a crime as a perpetrator, though they themselves were victims of crime. They needed the law to recognize that and protect rather than punish them. This is the reality that too many children face today, boys and girls alike. At Shared Hope, we believe that addressing and correcting the deficiencies in each layer of fabric will constitute something new—a garment of protection.
This is why we have chosen domestic grant partners who play a role in one or more of the layers that make up that garment. In fiscal year 2022, we are providing grants to 11 different NGOs from all parts of the USA that provide those things most needed by survivors–safe housing, pro bono legal services, life skills training, therapy to cope with complex trauma, personal empowerment, and the opportunity for spiritual healing and growth. One grant partner provides training for human trafficking investigators, another, pro-bono legal services; two others are dedicated to freeing boys and young men from the devastation of sex trafficking. These partners all have missions that fit very well with the priorities we have had and continue to have–to Prevent, to Restore and to Bring Justice. Justice served is itself restorative; the best path to restoration is the administration of true justice.
Justice served is itself restorative; the best path to restoration is the administration of true justice.
Shared Hope began with international partners; restoration was the sole focus and we provided a safe place for some in India, Nepal, Jamaica, Fiji and South Africa to escape a life of misery and to flourish. We will be faithful to continue our efforts internationally, but it is here in the USA that we have the opportunity to assemble a garment of prevention, restoration and justice through influencing the laws of the land.
Take Action –
Now that you have read about the importance of restoration work in the fight against human trafficking, here are a few take action steps:
- Learn more about some of the Restorative Development programs Shared Hope supports.
- Read about our Domestic and International Partners.
- Consider donating to help us continue funding our partner programs.
- Send the Report Cards on Child & Youth Sex Trafficking to your elected officials.
- Check out our Advocacy Action Center
- Follow us on Social Media on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.
- View some of our Restoration focused webinars like:
- The Role of Faith in The Recovery Process – A Survivor’s Perspective
- HT and Brain Trauma: From Science to Service
- Legal First Responders: Closing The Justice Gap for Human Trafficking Survivors
- In the Beginning: How Intergenerational Trauma and Traumatic Childhood Attachment Impact the Healing Journey