Delivering on our promises to prevent, restore and bring justice. Our commitment to financial accountability remains steadfast.
A Letter from our Founder:
You’ll see in the enclosed report just how great our collaborative impact has been this year — and the steps Shared Hope is taking to continue this powerful work!
I think of a young girl named Asmi — an outcast who has no family and no memory of her earliest years. She was abandoned at about eight years old … and forced into sex trafficking.
Exploited over many years, by many clients, she contracted HIV. When the abuse became too much to bear, she started to lose her mental health. Asmi was locked in a cell by the police when her mental state became out of control. That’s when a policeman reached out to our Village of Hope.
Thanks to friends of Shared Hope, Asmi is now stable, is receiving medication and treatment for HIV, and is getting professional help for her mental and emotional trauma. Asmi is seen by society as having no value, unworthy of justice. We don’t even know how old she is (we think around 20). Thanks to our supporters, we had the ability and resources needed for her medical care and healing.
Amsi’s story is not new to us. Around the same time, halfway across the globe — in the United States — another 20-year-old was being charged as a co-conspirator to trafficking. She would spend the rest of her life behind bars, separated from her toddler son. Her future and her dreams gone.
This young woman had been recruited when she was just 13. She survived years of horrific abuse — physical violence and emotional torture. Like many of the girls we help, she was brainwashed into loyalty and “loving” her pimp and believed he loved her in return — despite what he did to her.
With the help of one of our domestic partners, we successfully advocated on her behalf to the District Attorney on the case. Instead of being charged with the crime committed against her, the D.A. released her into our care. We arranged for her relocation and admission to a program close to her family. She is now living in a safe environment with her young son, receiving restorative services … her hopes and dreams within reach again.
While Shared Hope has made great progress in the last eight years to change state laws that would allow stories like this to happen, 25 states still criminalize victims for the crime of prostitution. When a youth is criminalized and labeled “prostitute” by the law, he or she is often denied the protection and restoration services provided to other abuse victims. Shared Hope is determined to continue shining light on this injustice.
At the same time, we are training and equipping the abolitionists of today — Shared Hope Ambassadors, Defenders, and our supporters, who are shining a light into the darkness of child sex trafficking right where you live, to keep your children safe.
Together, we are effectively getting out the message of prevention — in schools, churches, and online. We’re working hard to surround children with a safety net that keeps them from being swept into the darkness of the sex industry.
In fact, Shared Hope Ambassadors reached more than 80,000 people with prevention messages in 2018 alone! Because of our friends and supporters, thousands of kids are safer.
Thank you for another year of saving lives.
Thank you for another year of stepping into the darkness.
Thank you for giving new life to victimized women, girls, and boys.
Thank you for the wonderful, personal commitment to freedom — restoration — justice.
By God’s grace, together, we’ve picked up their torch of freedom and are working to prevent tragedies, fight predators, restore damaged lives, offer hope … and shine a light into the darkness of child sex trafficking.
We will continue to boldly do the work of preventing trafficking, restoring lives, and fighting for justice in 2019 … to invade the darkness of sex slavery until there are no shadows left in which to hide.
We want to ensure that children are safe
in all communities across America and around the globe.
Shared Hope founder, Linda Smith, released a new book “Invading the Darkness: Inside the Historic Fight against Child Sex Trafficking in the United States”. An eye-opening inside look into the historic movement to stop the injustice of sexually trafficked children in America, Invading the Darkness highlights who these modern-day abolitionists are and how their strategic work shaped the fight to stop the injustice of child sex trafficking in our nation. The book is a new tool that will not just raise awareness, but we hope it will encourage and inspire activists in this long struggle, showing that progress has been made and can continue to be made.
We expanded training opportunities by offering two conferences in 2018 — our annual Juvenile Sex Trafficking (JuST) conference and the Faith Summit for faith leaders and advocates.
Close to 1, 100 people were empowered and trained at our JuST Conference in San Diego. We convened, trained, and equipped professionals, advocates, and 70 survivor leaders through 81 sessions, including 77 workshops and four plenary presentations.
Endeavoring to train more people than our conferences and in-person training can reach, we selected an online, interactive platform and adapted two of our training curriculums to this medium. We will reach and empower more first responders, law enforcement, prosecutors, medical providers, and social service providers around the nation than ever before, enabling them to develop skills to identify and respond to child sex trafficking with a victim-centered approach.
We launched the first two courses available through our interactive, online learning platform:
- DMST 101 offers training on the basics of juvenile sex trafficking:
- i:CARE provides in-depth training for physicians, nurses, and EMS personnel
This last year, we placed an increased focus on prevention education by expanding our Ambassadors of Hope program. These well trained Shared Hope volunteers, now numbering over 1000 serving in communities in 47 of the United States, are people from all walks of life who significantly expand our reach to educate our communities on how to keep our children safe from the lure of sex traffickers. 81,901 people were empowered by the reach of our trained volunteer Ambassadors of Hope.
Our heart is to give real hope and a future to
those victimized by the evil of sex trafficking.
This year, we continued to provide support and technical assistance to programs that offer shelter and restoration services in the U.S. and our international partners, offering intervention and restoration services for survivors.
Shared Hope provided crucial assistance to solve difficult housing situations with three partners— in Jamaica, in India and here in the U.S. The U.S. partner is one of the first homes for minor boys who are survivors of sex trafficking.
We partnered with 13 shelter and service organizations in four countries (including the U.S.), offering vocational training, education, healing, community, medical care, and freedom to adults, girls, and boys, and 1,126 HIV/AIDS-related medical visits were made through outreach to potential trafficking victims in red light districts.
Shared Hope’s voice was heard this year in support of several pieces of legislation at the federal level that passed, including:
- The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA), preserving critical federal funding for the fight against human trafficking both abroad and here in the United States.
- An important modification to the Communications Decency Act (FOSTA-SESTA) which allow states and sex trafficking victims to hold bad actor websites like Backpage.com accountable for knowingly facilitating sex trafficking.
We released 2018’s Protected Innocence Challenge state report cards. The Protected Innocence Challenge, which grades the strength of each state’s’ laws to fight child sex trafficking, requires significant effort by our policy team and we have seen measurable progress over the past eight years.
Shared Hope will not rest until all 50 states and Washington DC get an “A” grade for truly just laws that impact juvenile sex trafficking. We also launched our Stop the InJuSTtice Campaign, seeking to change laws in 27 states that still can jail youth survivors instead of providing protection, safety and restoration. For the campaign, we released a public education video and were able to work with legislators to change laws in two of those states thus far.