Delivering on our promises to prevent, restore and bring justice. Our commitment to financial accountability remains steadfast.
A Letter from our Founder and President:
You’ll see in the enclosed report just how great our collaborative impact has been this year — and that we were able to take the biggest step ever in Shared Hope’s 21-year history.
Thanks to the incredible support of many friends and donors in 2019, our new “mission control” center, the Shared Hope Institute for Justice & Advocacy in Washington, D.C. opened and became operational in January of 2020.
The Institute is more than a building. This is the launch-pad for more aggressive, more effective pursuit of justice for victims of trafficking than ever. We will have greater influence among the powerbrokers and decision-makers. Our work overseas has momentum.
Years from now, I pray we will be able to look back on this day and say, “That’s when the tide truly turned; that’s when the eradication of sex trafficking dramatically accelerated.”
Thank you also for helping us continue all of our well-established prevention efforts and for helping us expand our resources addressing internet safety; raising awareness in schools, courtrooms, and communities across the national to recognize the dangers of child sex trafficking and to be part of the solution.
And thank you for reaching out to the victims of this terrible crime, for helping is provide safety and care, education, vocational training, therapy, and healing to survivors. You are giving them a platform from which to share their stories and helping prevent the tragedy of slavery for someone else.
I encourage you to read some of these “stories of hope” in this report and rejoice with us in the wonderful, lifesaving work you make possible. I am deeply grateful.
Thank you, again, for your partnership.
Shared Hope Institute for Justice & Advocacy
All great battles have a turning point. The moment where the defenders advance — and the enemy is forced to retreat.
This was our turning point. Yours and mine.
Thanks to the support of many friends and donors, we took the greatest advance forward in Shared Hope’s history: to establish a Shared Hope Institute for Justice & Advocacy in Washington, D.C. Our top goal is to dramatically increase the impact of our full-circle efforts together … to bring justice and in doing so, restore the lives of trafficked women, girls, and boys.
The Shared Hope Institute for Justice & Advocacy opened its doors on January 23, 2020, two blocks from the White House. The Institute is a center for training, research, and education that gathers and concentrates the power of Shared Hope’s collective resources under one roof.
The word JUSTICE in the Institute’s name is critical. We’re fighting for justice on behalf of victims. Advocates and stakeholders from across the spectrum of sex trafficking prevention will convene at the Institute to work on justice and restoration initiatives, as well as participate in training programs. They include law enforcement, social workers, lawyers, first responders, doctors, legislators, and judges.
Because we purchased and own the property debt-free in such a strategic location, the Institute will enable Shared Hope to dig deeper. Our expanded, more aggressive stance means taking on emerging challenges as they come. Thank you to everyone who gave so generously to make this historic move possible!
Shared Hope’s Founder and President, Linda Smith, has been uncovering the dark underworld of the commercial sex market and fighting for justice for its victims in the United States and around the globe for more than 20 years.
Recognizing her pioneering work in the fight against sex trafficking, President Donald J. Trump appointed Linda to a two-year term as a Member of the Public-Private Partnership Advisory Council to End Human Trafficking.
A former member of the United States House of Representatives, Linda was honored to join the Council and looks forward to providing guidance that leads to true victim-centered justice, including proper protections and restoration for survivors through the Advisory Council.
We reached even more youth, more parents, more professionals, more communities in the United States than ever before with our prevention education and professional training efforts.
We empowered, trained, and connected more than 1,140 professionals at our JuST (Juvenile Sex Trafficking) Conference, increasing the network of professionals trained by Shared Hope across the United States. This was our biggest and most impactful JuST Conference yet!
“I can’t thank you enough for my JuST Conference scholarship! I had never met another survivor before, so that’s why all the tears and hugs. It was so hard to walk away and leave y’all that last night of the conference. I had never experienced that “safe” feeling before. I have been in touch with all the girls (survivors) from the conference. I also met with a physical therapist today and she referred me to a complex trauma therapist nearby. So maybe this is my next step to healing. The JuST Conference changed my life!” -Survivor from the State of Georgia
We stepped into the online world to research and understand the most popular technology used by today’s children and youth. Thanks to the generous support of our donors and friends, we developed an easy-to-share and downloadable Internet Safety Series to empower you with information about technology dangers and how-to safety tips to protect our children and prevent the lure of online predators.
This series includes:
- A comprehensive Internet Safety Toolkit with topical factsheets
- An educational video series facilitated by Kelly, Shared Hope’s staff internet safety specialist
- An Internet Safety Mini-Guide
- Research on popular apps used by today’s children and youth
- And much more!
We trained and empowered 142 new Ambassadors of Hope, reaching a total of 1,171 active Ambassadors that are currently providing prevention education from the East to the West, the North to the South, reaching into communities and building stronger networks to help keep children safe.
Ambassador of Hope, Bridget’s Story:
“My heart was being tugged. I was captivated by the gruesome reality that young adults and vulnerable children were being forced to have sex, at the expense of someone’s greed and lust. I was angry. I was appalled. I was devastated. I listened to the stories of survivors and it broke my heart. My sister once said to me, “For someone to traffic someone, they have to view them as less valuable than themselves.” Those words never left my heart.
I thank my friend Sara for telling me about Shared Hope. It is an amazing organization, and now, I have a way to help! Now, I have a way to combat this issue! Now, I have a way to fight! If you have been wanting to do something about this issue, but just haven’t figured out where to get started and how to get started, Shared Hope is an awesome place to start. You won’t be alone in the fight.”
Our heart is to give real hope and a future to those victimized by the evil of sex trafficking. With your help, we continued to provide support to vulnerable adults, girls, and boys in the United States and around the globe.
Our partner in Jamaica now provides a bigger home, and we are so excited that we now have a new place for young survivors who have children!
Selena and Julessa’s Story:
(**names changed for survivor protection)
The U.S. State Department asked Shared Hope some 13 years ago to investigate Jamaica’s notorious sex trafficking industry. During that process, we met a remarkable woman. She was keeping babies and young pregnant girls in her home because society had no place for them.
But there are far more young mothers and far more babies than she could take in. She dreamed of doing more. And we wanted to help.
Today, the home we established together is a beacon of hope in Jamaica, where young mothers and their babies can be safe — and life can start over. In the Jamaican culture, impoverished parents often “rent out” their daughter to any man who can afford to pay. Rape and bondage situations are also common in these communities.
A girl I’ll call Selena was the first arrival in the home. She had a seven-month-old daughter, Julessa (in yellow then, in the flowered shirt now!), in her arms.
Selena’s life was restored. Mother and daughter thrived. This past fall, Selena returned — not because she was in trouble, but because she wanted to help.
She is now assisting the woman, who once gave her a chance, in managing the home! Her help was needed, because the residence is full, and growing. And it will now grow further, thanks to remodeling — made possible by generous friends like you. Hebron House will be home to more young mothers and babies than ever before.
Selena (in the blue shirt) has now come full circle! She’s there for girls she totally understands. And the cycle of a life in trafficking has been broken for her own daughter.
2,320 HIV/AIDS-related and needed medical visits were made through outreach to potential trafficking victims in red light districts of southern India, more than double what we provided in 2018.
Our Village of Hope in Pune, India is thriving! And thanks to our supporters, we helped them build a house – a new sustainable “forever home” for the many children and mothers we serve there. We celebrated and dedicated the home at the organizations 10-year anniversary in April 2019.
We came alongside 6 partners in the U.S., including one of the few homes for minor boys who have survived sex trafficking. We’re supporting outreach, counseling, mentoring, and housing for minors.
Tony’s Story: (**name changed for survivor’s protection)
It happens to boys too. In this case a boy I’ll call Tony. Barely 15 years old.
He was innocent. Just playing video games. But the online connection made him the prey. A predatory adult connected with him … groomed him … played on Tony’s emotions and the daily misery he was suffering in his difficult home life.
When Tony was ultimately persuaded to visit the predator’s house, he was trapped. He was forced to sleep on the floor — and he was sexually abused, again and again. His choices were horrible: go back to the hell of his own home, remain in the new hell of this new prison — or run away, to who knows what?
Finally, after a year of shame — pain — torture — Tony managed to get to the police. Soon, by God’s grace, he was at our partner organization who specializes in caring for boys who have been victimized by the sex trafficking industry. The dedicated staff worked tirelessly to help him sense compassion … to feel safe, and important, and valued — something he had never experienced, at home or elsewhere.
Gradually, love did its job.
- Tony eventually learned to trust. He began making friends and caught up in school.
- The staff worked with Tony’s mother too … and finally they were reunited.
- Today, Tony is thriving — and dreaming of opening a safe house to help other boys like him!
It’s for children like Tony — and thousands of boys and girls victimized by the multi-million-dollar sex trafficking industry, across North America and around the world – that we will continue to work with and support our partners who urgently respond with hearts of compassion, critical services, and trauma-informed care.
We will not rest until all 51 jurisdictions get an “A” grade for truly just child sex trafficking laws.
We served on the National Advisory Committee on the Sex Trafficking of Children & Youth in the United States.
We released our 9th annual Protected Innocence Challenge state report cards, seeing the nation’s average grade move up to an 84.7% (versus a failing grade in 2011).
We introduced and spearheaded online advocacy campaigns and empowered Grassroots Heroes, people just like you, to contact their legislators and get involved in state and federal legislative efforts. Using our Advocacy Action Center, our Grassroots Heroes raised their voices and made 8,798 connections with their legislators for stronger state laws.
Our “Stop the Injustice” Campaign continued advocating for laws that prohibit the criminalization of minors for prostitution offenses. As a result of this campaign, 30 states and D.C. now have laws on the books that prohibit the criminalization of child sex trafficking victims for the very crimes committed against them, up from only 5 states in 2011.
She was just 5 when she was first used in pornography, 9 when first sold for sex in the basement of her family home. Yvonne’s Stepdad was her trafficker. At 14, Yvonne gave birth to her first child in the basement of their “home”. 6 months later her baby was placed in adoption. In total despair she fled to the streets living in abandoned building with other street kids.
At 16, as she was walking in the rain and cold an old man approached her and asked if she needed a ride. She did, she wanted to go to the mall on the other side of town. Yvonne was not selling sex; she didn’t know the 81-year-old man was a known ‘john’, an experienced boxer, and had serious heart problem. It was later disclosed that he liked to beat up “prostitutes’ for his sexual pleasure. Several women came forward and identified him as the man who had brutally beat them up. When Yvonne was molested and punched by the boxer, she being a survivor, fought back. The boxer was hospitalized after she ran from the car. He died weeks later and she was charged with manslaughter. The autopsy showed that the wound she inflicted was superficial and did not cause his heart attack and eventual death. His heart simply could not stand her fighting back. Because she was ‘perceived’ as a prostitute, and because he was a known ‘john’ she was considered culpable for his death by fighting back.
It’s hard to think about really, a young girl put in jail for crimes that weren’t her own, not allowed a self- defense plea, with no one to defend her.
Yvonne joined our Shared Hope family just out of prison. We offered her job skills training through our Women’s Investment Network (WIN) Program. Day by day, Yvonne got stronger. Today, with the help of Shared Hope and the support of friends like you, Yvonne is mentoring single mothers and ministering together with her husband through a program at their church. She consults for Shared Hope as a researcher and Subject Matter Expert. A narrative that began with horrific abuse, homelessness, sex trafficking, and prison time has miraculously become a story of restoration.
Yet even still, because of her criminal background, moving forward with all available opportunities and options is extremely difficult for her to achieve. Taking out loans for housing and education are nearly impossible, she can’t volunteer at her children’s school, and her career choices are severely limited. This thread of injustice that runs through Yvonne’s life story is a common experience of survivors – how time and time again, the men who used and abuse victims aren’t brought to justice…while girls like Yvonne are held responsible for the offender’s crimes. Yvonne’s story is why Shared Hope’s Institute for Justice and Advocacy is so vitally important. Yvonne is why we’re working harder than ever to bring justice to victims, end demand, and hold offenders accountable.
“I’m not just a survivor of sex trafficking. I am an Overcomer. By God’s grace and with His help, I’m standing on the rubble of my past.” – Yvonne, Survivor
Financial Accountability and Transparency
Shared Hope International pledges good stewardship of every donation. 81.5% of every dollar spent by Shared Hope directly supports our programs giving hope to the vulnerable adults, girls, and boys that we serve. The gifts we receive enable us to lead a worldwide effort to eradicate sexual slavery…one life at a time. We specifically strive for:
- Sound fiscal management
- Commitment to accountability and transparency
We are audited on an annual basis by an independent CPA firm and have received a clean opinion every year, including FY2018 -2019. In addition, we are members of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability and have met their standards consistently.
For the 6th consecutive year, Shared Hope achieved the coveted four-star rating from Charity Navigator, the nation’s largest independent evaluator of charities. Following a thoroughly comprehensive review, Shared Hope earned a 92.73 points out of 100 for the Fiscal Year 2018 – 2019.
“Only 9% of the charities we evaluate have received at least 6 consecutive 4-star evaluations, indicating that Shared Hope International exceeds industry standards and outperforms most other charities in America. This exceptional designation from Charity Navigator sets Shared Hope apart of its peers and demonstrates to the public its trustworthiness.” – Michael Thatcher, President and CEO, Charity Navigator
Aiming to achieve a coveted four-star rating is our commitment to our donors, supporters and the vulnerable adults, girls, and boys we serve.
We received further recognition and a transparency certificate from Excellence in Giving Nonprofit Analytics. We received the certification after submitting 175 strategy, leadership, financial, and impact data points.