At MY SISTER, we’re always looking for inspiration from organizations in the business and technology sector. Organizations who are going beyond “awareness” and providing practical solutions for sexual exploitation, like job creation and accessible resources for anti-trafficking activists.
Here are 5 of MY SISTER's favorite innovative anti-trafficking organizations that are going beyond "awareness" to help survivors of sexual exploitation:
1. Annie Cannons’ Coding Program
While many jobs available to women affected by trafficking are limited to the retail and food service industries, more and more tech-oriented jobs are appearing that train women affected by trafficking to build websites and apps.
Annie Cannons is one such organization. They partner with nonprofits and safe housing organizations that are working with trafficked women to offer coding bootcamps and help women get hired by companies when their training is complete.
2. Not For Sale’s Dignita Soup Business
Dignita is a project that started within the California-based nonprofit, Not For Sale. Women affected by trafficking in Amsterdam receive job skill training while working in the Dignita kitchen, creating delicious soups. Women with little-to-no previous job experience are able to easily join the program, beginning with simple tasks and moving through the program until they graduate and are placed, with Not For Sale’s assistance, in other job opportunities around town.
There’s a cool twist, as well. A portion of Dignita’s comforting soups are delivered to women who are still working in the Red Light District as a way to build relationships with them, while offering healthy nourishment. Dignita recently opened a restaurant in the Red Light District. By repurposing a building that was formerly a brothel, they are increasing their capacity to provide more jobs to women.
3. Inhospitable to Trafficking Project
A lot of commercial sexual exploitation takes place in hotels, with traffickers using hotel rooms as meeting points for exploited women and their buyers on a regular bases. Can you imagine the difference it would make if each one of the 50,000+ hotels in the United States had anti-human-trafficking policies and precautions?
That’s the idea behind the BEST (Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking) Alliances’ Inhospitable to Trafficking project. This project trains supervisors and staff to identify and prevent trafficking in lodging establishments, and has resulted in anti-trafficking education for nearly 150 hotels so far.
4. Thistle Farms
Tennessee anti-trafficking organization Thistle Farms seeks to “heal, empower, and employ” women survivors of trafficking, prostitution, and addiction. To date, Thistle Farms has started two successful businesses employing their clients: A bath and body company making lotions, soaps, and more, and a beautiful café and tea + coffee shop in Nashville, Tennessee.
Through these businesses, Thistle Farms is able to employ 59 women survivors, earning over $1M a year in salary and wages!
5. The Grace Network Resource App
The Grace Network app is a great example of using technological advancements to create resources for anti-trafficking work. Though only available for California at the moment, the app allows you to search for resources for people affected by trafficking with a few swipes on your smartphone’s screen!
Simply input the county where you need to find services, and the app will generate a list of nearby agencies that can offer assistance- from safe housing to legal services to medical care. The location will appear on an easy-to-navigate map, and contact information is listed for each agency. It’s a fantastic and discrete method of getting needed information for both trafficked individuals and first responders. Here’s to hoping more states across the U.S. develop resource banks like this one!
We hope that these amazing organizations and businesses, and their practical, business-based approach to creating opportunities for women affected by trafficking, inspire you as much as they inspire us!
Maybe the next big idea for creative anti-trafficking work will be yours-. If you’ve been dreaming of a way to get involved we’d love to hear about it and support you!