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.
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.
Shared Hope International opens the first Village of Hope in Mumbai, India. Several small apartments in the city serve as immediate shelter while construction begins on a 72-acre, village-style development comprised of several homes, an educational facility, and a vocational school.
Shared Hope opens a Village of Hope in Nepal. Girls trafficked from Nepal to India return home to begin a new life.
Shared Hope International launches a mobile HIV/Aids clinic and mobile food van in Mumbai, India allowing intervention into hard to reach areas, and helping bring girls out of the brothels toward long-term restoration.
The domestic Women’s Investment Network (WIN), program is established, training women to enter the work force and empowering them to achieve financial independence to support themselves and their families.
In cooperation with Johns Hopkins University and the U.S. Department of State, Shared Hope International begins a series of domestic training seminars on the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, a new U.S. anti-trafficking law, in several key cities, including Seattle, Los Angeles, New York, and the greater Portland/ Southwest Washington area.
War Against Trafficking Alliance (WATA) is formed. WATA coordinates the strategic alliance of representatives from over 170 countries with a common commitment to seek strategies for intervention and restoration for victims of sex trafficking.
Shared Hope International responds to the burgeoning issue of sex trafficking in Jamaica by partnering with Teen Challenge, Jamaica to find solutions for the growing epidemic and create much needed services for victims of sex trafficking.
An HIV/Aids Clinic opens in the heart of Mumbai’s red light district. It’s one of few clinics providing anti-retroviral treatment to patients free-of-charge.
WATA and U.S. Department of State host the first World Summit, ‘Path Breaking Strategies in the Global Fight Against Sex Trafficking,’ recognizing activists around the globe devising practical solutions to the problems of sex tourism and trafficking.
Shared Hope launches the award-winning ‘Esmerelda Campaign,’ a public awareness campaign against sex trafficking that airs throughout the Dominican Republic.
The first international ‘Next Steps’ Conference is held in Chisinau, Moldova (sponsored by WATA, Shared Hope International, and others). This two-day conference explores ideas to increase prosecution of traffickers and protect witnesses in the Moldova criminal justice system. The event hosts all mayors from Moldova, kicking off their nationwide anti-trafficking campaign, and generating increased public awareness and action.
The second Next Steps Conference is hosted in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (presented by WATA, Shared Hope International, and others). This two-day conference explores ideas to increase prosecution of traffickers and protect witnesses in the country’s criminal justice system.
Shared Hope helps purchase 40 acres for a new Home of Hope facility in Fiji, and establishes a commercial bakery to build skills and revenue.
The first annual Sharing the Hope Event takes place in Washington, D.C., bringing together hundreds in support of Shared Hope International’s mission to eradicate sex trafficking of women and children.
Shared Hope International creates the Predator Project as part of an international movement to identify traffickers and their victims. In collaboration with local law enforcement, local government officials and public disclosure, the Predator Project captures over 150 hours of interviews in 14 countries of predators and their victims. Shared Hope presents evidence to both governmental and non-governmental officials in more than 10 countries around the world and assists in the increase of laws of prosecution and greater services for victims in more than six countries.
Home of Hope, India establishes a leather-making factory through the WIN Program, helping develop revenue, work skills, and self-sufficiency for women.
WATA and the South African government host the fifth of six ‘Next Steps’ Conferences in Johannesburg, South Africa to develop global strategies in the fight against human trafficking in South Africa.
The third of six ‘Next Steps’ Conference is hosted in Mumbai, India, sponsored by Shared Hope International, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra State, India, Chief Law Enforcement, and the United States Government. The conference set the stage for in-country and international child advocacy and sex trafficking experts to train government leaders in establishing and enforcing sex trafficking laws, and provided for the development of local strategies to wage war against trafficking.
The forth of six ‘Next Steps’ Conferences is hosted in Batam, Indonesia, sponsored by Shared Hope, the government of Indonesia and non-government social providers. The conference launches an all-out campaign to put an end to widespread sex trafficking of children in Indonesia.
Shared Hope and a local partner purchase and remodel a compound to house women and children abused by gangs and the sex industry in South Africa. The facility provides a safe place to heal, nurturing them with accommodations, nutrition, medical help, and education.
Shared Hope International participates in an U.S. Department of Justice organized summit of law enforcement and non-government groups from all over the United States to focus on developing strategies to combat sex trafficking in U.S.
Ganga, one of the first girls rescued to Village of Hope in India is married. Linda and Vern Smith host and join in the wedding celebration in India as honored ‘auntie and uncle.
Shared Hope International expands Women’s Investment Network (WIN) internationally, providing women with necessary work and life skills to help maintain their independence and prevent re-victimization. Initiatives include a toilet paper factory, bakery, hair salon, leather making factory, and a jewelry making facility.
The sixth and final ‘Next Steps’ Conference is hosted in Singapore, bringing together leaders from 12 nations in an unprecedented gathering of governments supporting Shared Hope’s mission to eradicate sex trafficking of women and children.
Shared Hope International spearheads the U.S. Mid-Term Review on the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) bringing together leaders from across the USA to assess progress made combating the sexual slavery of children in America.
Shared Hope creates Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking – Prostituted Children in the United States educational resources that provide a baseline understanding of domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST) to anti-trafficking task force members and first responders who work in the field.
Shared Hope releases the DEMAND. report and documentary – an investigation of the commercial sex markets in Jamaica, Japan, the Netherlands and the United States, funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of State, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.
Shared Hope, with funding from the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), coordinates with DOJ-funded human trafficking task forces to conduct assessments in 10 U.S. locations.
Renting Lacy, a story of America’s prostituted children written by Shared Hope International founder Linda Smith, is published.
Shared Hope releases the first study on child sex trafficking in America titled The National Report on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking. The report, along with the DEMAND. report, is entered into the Congressional record.
Kids Are NOT For Sale Las Vegas, a sex trafficking community awareness campaign, launches with public advertising, rallies, marches, and candlelight vigils to remember the victims who lost their lives to sex trafficking and the survivors who need a voice for rescue and restoration.
Kids Are NOT For Sale, Shared Hope’s public awareness campaign for domestic minor sex trafficking, is hosted in Washington, D.C. Ads are placed in public transit stations including bus stops and metro rail stations.
Intervene: Identifying and Responding to America’s Prostituted Youth is released. This innovative training course developed by Shared Hope and a multi-disciplinary committee of experts and survivors in the field of service provision for victims of domestic minor sex trafficking makes its first appearance at trainings hosted for first responders in Vancouver, Olympia and Seattle, Washington.
May 1st, 2010
Shared Hope staff travels to Jamaica, India and Nepal to reunite with local partners. Staff provides business mentorship, monitors the progress of on-going programs and assists with technical issues. While in Nepal, staff joins in the marriage celebration of Mithu, one of the first survivors of trafficking to be returned from India to Nepal.
Kids Are NOT For Sale Chicago launches with a youth rally, candlelight vigil, billboard advertising, and press conference to alert the city’s leaders and community members that children are being sold for sex in Chicago.
Shared Hope International Founder and President and U.S. Congresswoman Linda Smith, addresses the Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus and Human Trafficking Caucus, in support of H.R. 5575. The bill – the Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Deterrence and Victims Support Act of 2010 – authorized large block grants to create a comprehensive, victim-centered approach to addressing the sex trafficking of minors. It was not passed.
The bill introduced by Congressmen Maloney and Smith recognizes that our young girls and boys are being victimized on a daily basis, and law enforcement and social service providers lack the resources necessary to care for them.
Shared Hope International announces the launch of the Protected Innocence Challenge at the National Association of Attorney’s General winter meeting in Florida. Under the Protected Innocence Challenge every state receives a report card grading the sufficiency of state law in combating domestic minor sex trafficking.
Shared Hope releases a field assessment on domestic minor sex trafficking in Arizona. Over 40 first responders, NGOs, and community advocates assemble to hear the results of the research and begin an informal coalition to address the issue of child trafficking in Arizona.
Shared Hope releases the Washington field assessment on domestic minor sex trafficking and Washington and Oregon’s Protected Innocence Challenge Report Cards. Shared Hope hosts training in Skagit, Washington in conjunction with the release of the assessments to train first responders how to combat the issue in their area.
Shared Hope International hits the training circuit hard. Within four months, Shared Hope presents to over 1,000 advocates in Arizona, California, Texas, Maryland, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.
The first-ever Do You Know Lacy? sex trafficking community training is hosted in Redmond, Washington. This 5-track community training offers specialized instruction in the identification and response to trafficking for law enforcement, juvenile service providers, youth advocates, community members and Defenders.
Shared Hope International releases the Protected Innocence Challenge, a groundbreaking legislative analysis and report card to hold states accountable for state laws related to domestic minor sex trafficking. 26 states fail the Protected Innocence Challenge.
Shared Hope International Founder and President and U.S. Congresswoman Linda Smith (1995-99), testifies before the Washington Senate Judiciary Committee on the issue of online facilitators of sex trafficking. While Backpage.com, an online classified site connected with the online sale of children for sex, sits on the nation’s human trafficking hotseat, Mrs. Smith provides expert testimony on the burgeoning online industry of the commercial sexual exploitation of children.
Over 200 first responders and community members attend Do You Know Lacy? in Kalispell, Montana and a billboard is erected to warn drivers that sex trafficking is a prevalent issue in their community.
Shared Hope International enters a strategic partnership with the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice to conduct a pilot project using Shared Hope’s intake tool Intervene: Identifying and Responding to America’s Prostituted Youth in three juvenile assessment centers. In response to the newly passed Safe Harbor legislation, Florida is evaluating the state’s ability to identify victims of trafficking and close the gap on misidentification. Intervene will assist providers in identifying victims of domestic minor sex trafficking.
Shared Hope staff visits partners in Montego Bay and Negril, Jamaica. The team meets with government leaders in Kingston to introduce them to local nongovernmental anti-trafficking organizations and encourage collaboration. Staff visited schools and community centers to educate staff and students about the danger of trafficking and resources available for those in need.
Shared Hope staff visits Villages and Homes of Hope in India and Nepal to reconnect with long-time friends and provide business and program management assistance to partners. Staff plans a side visit to a new teashop established by two Nepalese WIN program graduates.
Over 1.5 million people a day pass Shared Hope International’s billboard advertisement in Times Square. The ad reminds viewers that sex trafficking can happen anywhere, to anyone.
Shared Hope International launches billboard campaigns in Charlotte and Tampa in conjuncture with the Democrat and Republican National Conventions. Shared Hope partners with the Zonta Club of Pinellas County to launch nine billboards in the Tampa area. A mobile billboard drives through the convention area in Charlotte displaying the anti-demand message.
Shared Hope releases one of the first youth sex trafficking prevention video and resource packages. The film tells the true stories of two teenage girls who were tricked by traffickers. The accompanying resource package includes additional tools to further discussion, learning and action! Chosen s featured on MSN News and thousands of copies are distributed within the first year.
Shared Hope and Brunner team up to launch a live “Children are Not Playthings” dollbox installation exhibit on the streets of D.C. to raise community awareness on the issue of sex trafficking. It was awarded a Gold ADDY for innovative non-profit advertising. Other campaigns included D.C. metro and bus ads, print ads in RoadKing Magazine, PSA and banner ads on Travel Center of America media.
In response to the rising trend of gang sex trafficking, Shared Hope produces Gang TRAP, a 4-part training DVD for professionals to identify and respond to gang trafficking. Chosen Gang Edition is a 12-minute video with accompanying resources to teach teens the dangers of gang involvement, including sex trafficking.