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A Season of Evaluation

Laura Parker —  November 26, 2014

lanterns

As we enter this season of the holidays, we here at The Exodus Road are knee-deep in our own season of evaluation. For those of you who have been with us since the beginning, you know that we have experienced massive growth over the last two years. From working as individuals in undercover work to forming partnerships, organizational structure, and systems that support teams on three continents involving 60 investigators and over 30 organizations, we’ve had a fast-moving couple of years– full of lots of hard work and copious amounts of transition.

But, we as an organization, know that a sprint is not what the issue of modern day slavery needs. The 27 million slaves today need marathon runners, instead. It’s because of this desire to be sustainable and effective as an organization over the long term, that we are taking the month of December (and part of November) to seriously evaluate our programs, management systems, marketing, communications, and organizational values, culture, and structure. We’ll be giving special attention to the current Search and Rescue Program and possibly adjusting strategy on both the donor and practitioner sides in the future.

In addition to assessing what has and hasn’t worked in the past two years, we’ll be casting vision, developing and approving budgets, and making strategic plans for the upcoming 2015 year. Kevin Campbell, VP of Operations in the Colorado office, will be spending two weeks here in Asia with Matt and Laura Parker, founders, and much time will be spent looking both behind us and in front of us. Both the board in the U.S. and the board of the foundation in Thailand have met this month, as well, getting updates and casting future projections.

As those who have been donating to the Search and Rescue Program have already been notified, a portion of our investigative individuals/teams have shifted, left the field for personal reasons, or are in transition. Because of this and because of our executive evaluation period, front-line activity maybe be a bit quieter this month, and we just wanted you to know why.

Rest assured, however, The Exodus Road is not going anywhere. We’re here for the long haul, but we do believe that intentionally slowing down and evaluating our past work is actually a crucial part of future rescue. Thanks for your patience, friends, as we thoughtfully engage in this process.

 

After Care Shelter Flooded

Laura Parker —  November 25, 2014

Last month, our Asst. Country Director got a text message from a partner in a nearby city. His after care shelter, which provides refuge for nearly 40 trafficked or exploited children, was struck by a sudden flood due to torrential rainfall. Kru Jaa, once a street child himself, has worked hard alongside his staff for the past 25 years to fight for the safety of local, impoverished youth, and his shelter took serious blows with the sudden flash flood. Thankfully, all the children are safe, but the crops, chickens, structures, and some equipment did not fare as well.

after care jaw

after care thailand jaa

kruu ja after care flood

kruu jaa after care

We were so grateful for the donations of this community that allowed us to make a financial gift to Kru Jaa to help rebuild his center. While his local community supporters and the kids themselves swept and cleaned, The Exodus Road was able to donate $2,000 to Jaa’s foundation, which went to basic cleaning supplies, replacing some lost equipment and purchasing wood which was used to build some new tables for the students. The young men there at the shelter actually spent several days themselves helping to build the tables, while learning some basic woodworking skills.

Jaa himself wrote in an email to the TER team:

“First and foremost, I would like to say thank you very much to TER for your help in this situation. This is the first time in 25 years since I’ve been working in P—-. Everything happened so fast, we can’t prepare anything. We focus on the safety of the children first so we didn’t have time for our assets that is why so many area was damaged (ex. library, office, computer room, children accommodation, grains store room).

Again thank you so much for your support”     – Kru Jaa

When two staff members visited Jaa shortly after the flood, he was his usual smiling, jovial self that so many in the area have come to admire. He talked about how the boys were enjoying getting a chance to build something with their hands and was simply grateful that no one got hurt.

Like so many who survive long-term in the field of anti-trafficking, Kru Jaa lives a hopeful perseverance that fighting for the innocence of children is worth the effort it takes to rebuild — even when dealt a major blow. 

 

jaw after care

 

ammChalermkwan Chutima, known as “Amm,” feels that God gave her a unique opportunity to help rescue human trafficking victims from slavery.

One of our newest employees, Amm works as the Exodus Road the Assistant Country Director in Thailand. She grew up in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and still lives there with her husband and daughter. As a devout Christian, she has a message for victims.

“He hears your cries,” she writes in an email. “It hurts Him to know that you are in this condition. This shouldn’t have happened to you or anyone. Everyone has the right to have honor and worth. You have dignity and you are valuable. The traffickers will be punished for the things done to you. God will bring justice to you.”

For at least the past decade, Amm has cared deeply for those caught in the sex trade. In 2004, she began working for the International Justice Mission as program monitor, and there, she learned how broadly trafficking impacts society. She realized the problem was so great that nonprofit organizations would need to work with the police and with each other to tackle it.

Human trafficking is a transnational organized crime,” Amm says. “We cannot work independently against it. We should partner with each other-nationally and internationally. Starting with where you are—using what you have and doing what you can—together we can accomplish even more.”

Khru Ja (ATCC), Juli (Exodus Road Strategic Manager), Amm (Asst. Country Director)

Khru Ja (ATCC), Juli (Exodus Road Strategic Manager), Amm (Asst. Country Director)

When she saw an advertisement for our Country Director position, she realized this was a chance to become a part of that collaboration against slavery. She researched us and liked our mission. Then, she applied.

Now that we have hired Amm, she will manage daily activities in the ER Thailand office, oversee the Thailand country budget, develop relationships between us, the Thai government and other non-governmental organizations and compose project proposals. She will also manage our legal foundation here with our Office Manager, which is an excellent fit as Amm has a degree in Law herself.

Amm fits well in her new job because of her wide range of experience in management. She has worked as coordinator, manager or director assistant for Southeast Asia Marketing Co., Ltd., Siam Event Planning Co., Ltd., Global Leadership Development Consultants Co., Ltd., and Hope International School. She serves on the steering committee for the Sanjai Network, a group of counter-trafficking organizations in Thailand. In addition, she is the founder of a network project named Family Focus Network, which seeks to promote the well-being of families and the safety of communities. Amm also currently teaches seminars on parenting and cross-cultural work, while occasionally providing translation services.

And, as Amm looks toward the future with ER, she says if she could, she would urge trafficking survivors to look toward a new future, as well. She wants to help “bring [victims] back to society full of honor.”

“We cannot change our past, but we can create a brighter future,” she says. “In order to be able to achieve that brighter future, you should just leave the past behind. … I believe that by knowing how to protect, love and see the quality in oneself, along with the strength from the Lord, you can and will climb to the top.”

As our newest member of the Thai Exodus Road team, Amm can further help trafficked victims in her own country make that climb.

ER Field Staff: Amm Chutima, Juli Juabsami, Matt Parker, Pick Chelsea

ER Field Staff: Amm Chutima, Juli Juabsami, Matt Parker, Pick Chelsea

 

Fueling Rescue With a Ring

Laura Parker —  November 2, 2014

Bliss stamped jewelry

The bottom line was never the most important thing for sisters Michelle and Jaqui when they created Bliss Stamped Jewelry, a business that grew out of their desire for a creative outlet while raising their young children.  

“We always wanted to be a blessing wherever we could, no matter what,” recalled Michelle.  “Opportunities always seem to come to us to bless others.  We love giving back and always want to maintain a giving spirit.”

So when the opportunity to partner with The Exodus Road for the “Let Freedom Ring” campaign emerged, Bliss Stamped Jewelry was thrilled.  The issue of human trafficking and sex slavery had been something Michelle deeply cared about when she first learned about the horrific realities faced by the victims, but according to her,  

“When I became a mom, [the issue] was something that hit much closer to home, and I started to become passionate about the [anti-trafficking] cause.”  

Each year, Michelle, her husband, and children travel to Los Angeles to visit and volunteer with an organization that serves marginalized individuals, including those who have been victims of human trafficking.

We at The Exodus Road have deeply enjoyed building a relationship with Bliss Stamped Jewelry and are excited to feature two of their rings especially designed for our community here. Both the unisex and feminine rings read “free” — a reminder to the wearers of both the freedom we enjoy and what we as a community fight to give others.

This month only, Michelle and Jaqui are generously donating $13 from each ring purchased to directly fund rescue by The Exodus Road and our partners. We’re hoping to sell at least 500 in November, so we’d love for you to consider purchasing one (or more!) for yourself or your holiday list. You can click on the photo below to head on over to Bliss to make your purchase (and check out their shop, while you are at it!).

You can also check out our giveaway, in the first week of November, HERE

And as a community, we are deeply grateful for advocates like Michelle and Jaqui, who are entering into this battle for freedom so generously.

let freedom
one days wages after care

photo cred: THRIVE Rescue

We believe that true rescue for a victim of slavery must not end with the singular event of a raid. True freedom must include holistic restoration for those who find themselves emancipated following months or years of abuse.

From someone on the ground working in this anti-trafficking field, let me be very clear: quality after care programs and resources for rescued victims are woefully lacking in SE Asia. Woefully.

And while The Exodus Road’s primary core competency is in empowering targeted interventions (fact-finding, surveillance, supporting police, promoting strategic change elements), we understand that post-raid care is a crucial factor that we must invest in. To that end, we’ve recently hired a full-time staff member who is developing and overseeing after care services for victims in Thailand, we’ve invested in partnerships with the few after care facilities in the places where undercover operatives work, and we direct a portion of our general budget towards providing resources for rescued girls, boys, and women.

And, now, we are excited to announce a new partnership with One Day’s Wages– a matching grant to fuel a Victim Care Services Project for 2015 in Thailand. This grant will fuel after care services for at least 15 victims of sex trafficking next year. Working with our partners on the ground, we will have the resources to: repatriate up to five victims, provide legal, medical and counseling services immediately following rescue, cover educational or job skills expenses, and ensure on-site services for victims during raids. You can learn a little more about the grant here, from Matt and I:

We know that many of you have deep hearts for restorative care for victims of slavery. Rest assured, we do, too. Will you consider joining us this month in donating towards this project? Every dollar you spend will be generously doubled by One Day’s Wages.

To donate to after care services, click the ODW icon to be taken to our project to give financially.

Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 1.52.09 PM

Click here to donate

And, as always, thank you for being on this journey with us.

Empowering Rescue,

Laura Parker,

VP Communications

 

UPDATE! In less than 14 days, our community here along with One Day’s Wages fully funded this project! We are grateful and excited about having the resources to better care for victims in the upcoming year. Watch for project updates and stories in 2015!

Laura Parker, VP of Communications, shares briefly about her favorite aspect of storytelling for The Exodus Road.

 

 

For more current updates about cases and missions, try texting ER to: 51555. We deliver more immediate field reports here. As always, thank you for being on this journey with our teams.

photo cred. Kelli Stephenson

photo cred. Kelli Stephenson

Of the estimated 27 – 30 million slaves, an estimated 24 million call Asia home.

These people wake up each day to hours of forced brick making, domestic service, fishing, sex slavery or other work. According to www.freetheslaves.net, the Asian continent and nearby island countries are the definitive focus of the world’s slave trade.

And while we are actively pursuing counter-trafficking efforts in the US, the facts remain that the overwhelming majority of modern day slaves live in Asia today.

And this is the battleground where The Exodus Road has chosen primarily to fight—particularly in Thailand and India. Thailand has been recently classified as a Tier 3 ranking on the 2014 United States Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, which, according to the U.S. Department of State, means that the government has not fully complied with minimum standards set by the Trafficking Victims Protect Act (TVPA) and isn’t making significant efforts toward meeting them.

The TIP report also says Thailand is a source, destination and transit country for slaves. Many victims migrate from foreign countries to find jobs in Thai cities, and instead, they fall into slavery traps.

“There are an estimated two to three million migrant workers in Thailand, most of whom are from Burma,” the report states. “The majority of the trafficking victims within Thailand—tens of thousands of victims, by conservative estimates—are migrants from Thailand’s neighboring countries who are forced, coerced, or defrauded into labor or exploited in the sex trade.”

Northwest of Thailand, the slave trade thrives in India, as well. The TIP report has labeled it a Tier 2 country, meaning the government hasn’t fully complied with the TVPA’s minimum standards but that it is striving to do so.  According to the Department of State website, it also means the amount of trafficking victims within India is large and increasing quickly.

Slavery and sex trafficking have grown in these areas, in part, due to corruption among various officials. According to the Asia Times, other factors contributing to the trade in East Asia, at least, include poverty, the presence of crime syndicates and widespread demand for cheap labor and sex.

ER is strategically placed to fight trafficking where it rages the most and has committed to supporting anti-slavery law enforcement efforts in Thailand and India and to partnering with other organizations to do the same. We want to target the “hotbeds” of the world, where trafficking has become ingrained in local society and where vulnerable people groups systematically become commodities.

Two Victims Tell Their Stories

Laura Parker —  September 8, 2014

This past summer, Exodus Road staff and visiting bloggers had the honor of interviewing two prostitutes in a thriving red-light district in Asia. The women’s stories of trafficking, survival, strength and love deeply impacted all of us in the room. Here, Sam Stephenson, who led the interview process, shares his personal thoughts about the experience. We hope you’ll be as touched as we were. 

*This Story Contains Sexually Explicit References and Strong Language

blogger trip

photo cred: Heather Armstrong, Kristen Howerton

Every Saturday morning for the last six months has started with a run. I lace up my tennis shoes and peel off my front porch onto a system of running trails that spans several states. I usually try to start without music or podcasts. Remember to breathe. Remember that this place is beautiful. Remember that you are. Remember that rhythm is a gift. And that lasts all of six minutes. I stop, plug into my iPod and work through the podcasts that have piqued my interest over the last week. I am carried through my runs by one sided conversations with Krista Tippett at OnBeing, Dave Isay at StoryCorps, and Ira Glass at This American Life. Today, a brisk spring morning Krista Tippett and Dave Isay keep me company in an OnBeing Interview called The Everyday Art of Listening.

“MR. ISAY: Yep. And, but this is an important one. (Laughs) My grandparents, like, loomed very large, you know. And I, you know, to me, I think you probably feel the same way. To me, the soul is kind of contained in the voice. So there’s just something very powerful about having that, you know, record of someone.

MS. TIPPETT: Yeah. But, you know, that idea that the soul is contained in the voice, I mean, do you have any kind of recollection of when you started to think about it that way?

MR. ISAY: Yeah, you know, I think, I was telling you before we went on the air that I tend to just kind of write down stuff that other people say. I’m a very linear thinker. And, I guess I’m a good collector of other people’s deep thoughts.  But I remember there was an article about Borges in the New Yorker maybe 20, 25 years ago. And in the last line he said, the soul is, you know, that the soul is contained in the human voice. And I was like that’s it. (Laughs). And I’ve been saying it ever since.

MS. TIPPETT: Mm-hmm. Yeah, I have to say I agree with you, and it’s kind of — it’s a mysterious thing. It’s actually hard to break down any more than that, isn’t it? It’s just an experience you have.”

The soul is contained in the human voice. 

_______________________________________________

photo cred. Kelli Stephenson

photo cred. Kelli Stephenson

Two days later I waltz into The Exodus Road offices, brimming with confidence. “What if we interviewed a prostitute? No agenda, no long term gain, just tried to create a space for them to share their stories.

“I like it.” Laura Parker, Vice President of The Exodus Road, said. “Let’s try it when you get to Southeast Asia.”

Two months later, I was in Southeast Asia.  In June, The Exodus Road hosted four bloggers on an exposure trip to Southeast Asia: Jamie Wright, Heather Armstrong, Roo Ciambriello, and Kristen Howerton. If this interview was going to happen, now was the time.

Laura and our interpreter set out to find two girls. “I think having two of them, friends, will make them more comfortable. What do you think?”

“Try it,” I say, “just make sure they know we are journalists.”

I sit in the hotel room with Heather, Jamie, Roo, and Kristen. We wait. Are the glasses set up right? What about these chairs? Is it too cold in here? Will this be comfortable?

Laura arrives back at the hotel a half hour later. Behind her walks our translator, dressed in a modest summer dress that flows graciously down to her ankles, and two women, Nam and Sai. Nam is wearing a blouse printed with flowers and trees. A short skirt makes it about a quarter of the way down her thighs. She has pulled her hair into a pony tail that falls on the right side of her face. Flip flops slap on the ground as she makes her way through the room. Sai is dressed in a red tank top and a small blue skirt. Her bright red lipstick beams in contrast to her dark shoulder length hair and brown eyes.

_______________________________________________________

 

photo cred: Heather Armstrong {@dooce}

photo cred: Heather Armstrong {@dooce}

“Nam shared her story first. Nam was a cute girl who appeared in her late 20’s. She came in wearing a very short skirt and grabbed a towel from the bathroom to place over her legs. Despite seeming a bit embarrassed at first, she quickly spilled her story.” (Kristen Howerton: What I learned about sex trafficking from an evening with two prostitutes.)

“I will go first. Where do I start? Well, I first fell in love when I was 14.” Nam says, smiling, glowing with nostalgia.

“I got pregnant. And had an abortion. My mom and I got into a huge fight. Screaming. Crying. Screaming. She looks at me and says, if you want to f–k, at least do it for money,” She continued, So I left the house. I wandered around my neighborhood and met a new guy.”

As Nam tells her story her hands wave in grandiose gestures. She is quick to bring an air of comedy to a dark tale. Her smile, laugh, and joyful tone stand in direct opposition to the themes of her story. 

“And that guy took me to Bahrain. He paid for my flight. And when I got there, he took my passport. And I worked for him as a prostitute for 12 years. It took me 12 years to figure how to get back home. To be honest, after a couple of years, I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to go home. At the time, I was addicted to meth, and I had a boyfriend that I thought I loved. Well, I thought he loved me too. He just took my money, that’s what they do.”

Sai giggles, covering her mouth. She knows. This is what guys do.

“Sai, why don’t you share a little.” Nam said. Smiling, nodding forward, as if to usher her into the conversation.

“I am shy to say, I am three months pregnant.” She said, staring softly into a glass of water situated on the coffee table that separates us. Beads of condensation accumulate and run down from the sides of the glass. “I will have to work until I am seven months pregnant or I wont be able to take care of my baby.”

“But, I know the father doesn’t love me. He is a married man. I send him 40 percent of my paycheck, because I love him, and I don’t know why.”

She pauses. Catches her breath. Or prepares her breath to continue.

“F–king, f–king, f–king. All I’m doing is f–king. Six to eight guys a night.”  Sai cries, her tone has shifted dramatically. She is trembling. Angry. Sad. Both at the same time.

She points her finger at me. “If you loved your wife, would you let her f–k like this?”

Before I can answer she continues. A soliloquy is being birthed. “Men, so many men come to Thailand. And they stare at our tits. And they forget. They forget that we have hearts. And if you get told you don’t have a heart enough times… well, you become an addict. Every girl you meet on these streets is an addict. It’s one of four things for all of us… all of us: gambling, drugs, alcohol, love. Why do I say that love is an addiction? Because we know we will never receive it.”

Nam mmmm’s in agreement. Her mmmm is an amen to the pain that she too has experienced. A show of reverence for the shared realities ripples between the two friends. I have seen this in faith communities back home.

Sai continues “Me? I’m addicted to love and gambling.”

Sai sits back down, takes a big gulp of water. Bright red lipstick smears across the glass.

 _______________________________________________________

I am back home now. Saturday is just around the corner. Again, I will lace up my tennis shoes, peel off the porch, and hit the trails. Again, I will start without the music, without the podcasts.

Remember to breathe. Remember that this place is beautiful. Remember that you are. Remember that rhythm is a gift.

Remember that these girls you met, are human beings. Remember that hearts are always, always, always more important than bodies. Remember that you can give love to everyone that you meet.

Remember to tell someone that they have a heart, and that that matters.  

 - Sam Stephenson, (Former) Director of Fundraising, The Exodus Road

To read additional stories from the trip from the blogging team, go here.

photopebo2

At The Exodus Road, we champion national efforts at fighting trafficking– especial those helping law enforcement or government sectors.  To that end, we’ve been able to utilize a portion of the monthly funding from ALPHA team donors to pay a salary to a civilian assistant to a Child Protection Unit in the local police. In addition, a portion of our monthly funding goes to cover a percentage of the case expenses of PeBo and the team he works with. While we don’t pay salaries for actual police staff, enabling PeBo as an assistant is a practical way to support police work. {You can check out an excellent article about unit leader, Pol. Lt. Col. Apichart Hattasin, in the Bangkok Post.}

We sat down with PeBo recently and got a little of his story. Enjoy these summarized excerpts from his interview:

__________

Background, Family: I was born in Chiang Mai. I have one sister who runs the Hug Project {an outreach devoted to empowering at-risk and exploited children} and got me into this work, and I have another sister who died. I went to school downtown, and my father died 14 years ago. That was a hard time.

Job Assisting Police: I have a Public Administration degree from Chiang Mai Ratchbhat University. With the degree, you need to do an internship. My sister, Boom, worked with the Lt. Col. Hattasin with Police Region 5. They were working together on the Big Brother/Hug Project, and she connected me with him. I began working for three months at an internship at first. At first, I didn’t much care for the police; I really wanted to be a soldier. But then, I started working with Hattasin and his team, and I wanted to stay involved and keep helping children, even after my internship. I am not an official member of the Thai police, but support their work. There are six people on our team. I’ve worked with them now about one year.

Most Difficult Part of the Job: I don’t like all the reporting and documents the police need. It’s hard for me because I would rather be doing the action of the work. I also think it is difficult when we go on a case and we don’t have the information we need at the beginning.

What You Enjoy About the Work: I like the {fact-finding} part, and I like being part of a charity and helping kids. I’m not really afraid of the danger. Each day is different, depending on what the case needs or what {Hattasin} is working on or needs us to do.

A Discouraging Case: One time we were chasing a woman from the slums who was selling her child. She was about ten years old. I was tracking her in the car, but then I lost her. That was hard.

A Successful Case: We have been involved in catching a lot of monks. There was one monk that went to an orphan center and convinced the kids to come and hang out and go to the temple, and he would abuse them. We arrested him and got the boys to testify.

Challenges: It’s difficult because sometimes you have to collect a lot of evidence. And a lot of times, the children will lie at first because they are afraid, so you have to get a lot of evidence to prove what happened. And then we work with the kids to testify. Also, each case can take several months.

__________

alpha

PeBo, with an i-phone that Exodus Road community provided him for use in his work supporting police efforts.

We are grateful to rally our funding efforts to support local work in bringing justice to children, and empowering PeBo and some of his team’s expenses is a way we do just that. If you are monthly donating to ALPHA Team, THANK YOU. And, if you’d like to join ALPHA, click here.

Interested in more? Check out the HUG Project Facebook page, Search and Rescue FAQ, or, again, the article in the Bangkok Post about the team which PeBo serves.

A Note About ALPHA: If you’ve been reading here for a while, you understand that the Search and Rescue team designations of ALPHA, BRAVO, CHARLIE, DELTA are used by The Exodus Road only. It’s a simple way we can designate funding and connect field teams and partners (with their own organizations) with donors. ALPHA funding is used not only to support this team in Northern Thailand, but it is also used to support a strong partner operating from Bangkok, Freeland, which tackles human trafficking cases, as well.

We are beyond pleased to introduce you to our new Vice President of Operations for The Exodus Road, Kevin Campbell. We interviewed many applicants and feel that Kevin is the perfect fit to lead our organization to the next level of strategic change. With 15 years of executive level management in corporate America, Kevin will help develop and oversee systems that will help The Exodus Road to operate more effectively. Kevin will lead our administrative and volunteer team from the home office in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Not only is his leadership experience a crucial addition to The Exodus Road family, but his heart to advocate for the oppressed is inspiring, as well. A father to seven who recently relocated from Atlanta, Georgia, Kevin also leads his own nonprofit which cares for orphans and vulnerable children in Asia. Take a minute to get to know him by reading the following interview:

kevin vp operations

Briefly, tell us about your background: family, education, journey.  I have an amazing family, and its a big family – 7 kids!  I was the guy who didn’t want to get married, and if I did get married, I didn’t want to have any kids.  Clearly, my life took a bit of a different direction.  I have an amazing wife, Angelica, and my 7 amazing children ranging in age from 22 to 4.  As a family, we’re big advocates for adoption as well as doing our individual parts to bring hope and justice to the oppressed in the world.

When it comes to education, I think most of what I’ve learned has been through the school of hard knocks. However, while I spent 4 years studying Business Administration, I ultimately got my undergrad in Religion, and I’m currently finishing my MBA in International Business.

I love talking about journey.  In some ways, my journey is probably not that different than yours.  The tapestry of my life is thread together with success and failure, joy and pain, hopes and dashed dreams, faith and doubt, brokenness and love.  And, at this point in my life, I think my journey, thus far, can best be summed up in what my wife and I tell our kids, regularly:  This life is not about us.  I find I have profoundly more joy and fulfillment when I’m not so focused on me.  My story, is a far better story, when it’s lived for a bigger Story.  That’s why being a part of The Exodus Road is such an honor.

What work and life experience do you bring to The Exodus Road?  I bring experience from both the corporate and non-profit sector to my new post at The Exodus Road.  For the past 15 years I’ve worked in the corporate world in operational executive leadership roles for various companies.  I also co-founded a non-profit organization in 2007 that works to bring hope and opportunity to vulnerable children worldwide.

When did you first hear about The Exodus Road and why did you want to get involved in the work of empowering rescue? I actually came across The Exodus Road while looking for organizations that were engaged in the fight against human trafficking.  There’s no doubt, there are many great organizations doing tremendous work in this area, but The Exodus Road was unique in two ways that really stuck out to me; intervention and coalition.  I was sold when I saw this.  I knew that should an opportunity  ever open up with the organization, I wanted to be part of the team.  I’m extremely fortunate to be working with such an amazing group of people that are making an impact for good.

exodus road office

What is the greatest challenge you face right now in your role as VP of Operations? I think my greatest challenge is getting to know the inner workings of The Exodus Road; which is simply an issue of time.  I want to make sure that I integrate my experience, skills and expectations in a way that fosters and supports our mission, team and operations.

If you could say anything to the community of supporters here at Exodus Road, (those that give financially, volunteers, social advocates)  what would it be?  First, I would say, Thank You!  It might sound cliche, but we could not do what we do without your support.  It’s true; your voices and financial support are the lifeblood that allow us to do the work of rescue.  I would also say that real impact is being made.  Children are being rescued and lives are being changed.  Though the task is big, we are, all of us together, making a difference.  The numbers can be daunting, 27,000,000 slaves worldwide, the most in human history.  However, we can’t let that deter us.  Every voice crying out and every dollar raised is working toward freedom for a child.  As the saying goes, “To the world you might be one person, but to one person you might be the world.”  You matter to us, and you matter to every child bound in the darkness and recesses of a brothel.

What are you most excited about seeing accomplished through your role of VP of Operations?  I’m excited to utilize my experience and skills in such a way that our internal operations and infrastructure can more successfully, intentionally, and strategically support our field teams and our organization as a whole, in the work of empowering rescue.

If you could say anything to victims of trafficking, still awaiting rescue, what would it be? My heart breaks for your situation, and I can never begin to fathom or understand what you’re enduring. But if at all possible, keep hope, because I, with the the rest of The Exodus Road team, share a life-mission to find you.  Rescue is coming.

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