ANNUAL REPORT 2020
From Our Founder
Dear Selah Freedom Supporter,
It has been an incredible journey to watch our vision for Selah Freedom unfold over the past ten years! Many years ago, what began as a "God-dream" has become one of the leading anti-sex trafficking organizations in the country and a model for success in this industry. We owe this to our invaluable collaborative partnerships, selfless volunteers, generous champion donors, brilliant board and dedicated staff. I could not be more grateful to witness lives transform before my very eyes every single day!
2020 came with unique challenges no one could have predicted, but Selah Freedom continued to bring light into the darkness of sex trafficking despite all of the unprecedented changes we faced. We continued operating all four of our programs working in innovative ways to reach those in need of our life-saving resources. Mothers were reunited with their children. Survivors received their GED's, even pursued college online and new careers. Volunteers connected in new ways by leading activities online, and young lives experienced breakthroughs each day in our programs.
Thank you for continuing to believe in our vital mission at Selah Freedom. I am excited to share the amazing things that took place over the past year with you!
Board of Directors
Chairman of the Board
Lead Pastor, Business Owner
CEO, TRUE FITNESS
Leaves for the Nations, Inc.
Lead Pastor, Business Owner
Mary Lou Johnson
Junior Advisory Board
JAB Executive Board Member Co-Chair
Special Events Chair
Social Media Chair
Frank Trulaske - Chair
Past President Northern Trust
Sr. Director of Software Engineering, Audible, Inc.
Legislative and Development Expert
Quin R. Frazer
Partner, Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath, LLP
Strategy and Concepts
Team Empower Change
Vice President, J.P. Morgan Private Bank
Newman, Grubb, Knight, Frank
President, Body Gears Physical Therapy
Lauren Harper Jewelry Designs
Rita L. Smith
Judge Virginia Kendall
US District Court/Northern District, IL
Barry L. Swenson
President/CEO, DLC, LLC
Former General Manager, Hyatt Hotels
Paula Meyer Besler, JD
Managing Attorney, Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation
The Wade Street Group
at Morgan Stanley
Senior Vice President -Wealth Management, Financial Planning Specialist
President/CEO Sarasota Housing Authority
Subject Matter Expert
Deputy Chief, Sarasota Police Department
It Works Global
Since Selah Freedom was founded in 2011:
6,282 SURVIVORS SERVED
27,347 KIDS & ADULTS TRAINED
OVER 60 ORGANIZATIONS MENTORED
Organizations in the U.S. and internationally have been mentored in how to establish sustainable, successful programming based on Selah Freedom's best practices.
OVER 50 CHILDREN
HAVE BEEN REUNITED WITH THEIR MOTHERS
Survivors are taking parenting classes and reconnecting with their children.
Thanks to these new experiences, survivors become the healthy and caring mothers they always dreamed of being.
NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR SURVIVORS
We have partnered with ten new community partners to provide survivors with career opportunities.
After coming to Selah Freedom, survivors pursue their educational goals as well as their career goals. They are discovering their new gifts, in turn fueling their self-confidence and passions.
We have also formed a Survivor Advisory Board and focus groups with the University of South Florida.
Through these new avenues, graduates of our program have an opportunity to share their experiences and continue helping Selah Freedom best serve survivors.
DURING A PANDEMIC...
WE CONTINUED TO
Nearly 200 guests, volunteers, friends, and family members gathered both in-person and virtually for Selah Freedom's 'Good News Celebration.' The special evening honored and celebrated the organization's largest graduating class of survivors from our program.
Thanks to Selah Freedom, our community of volunteers and partners in the law enforcement/judicial system, thirteen young women graduated from our program this year. Including survivors from our Midwest and Florida programs. Two survivor graduates shared about coming to Selah Freedom, feeling hopeless and unworthy of help. They explained their journey into freedom, going to school, and starting careers that they love and spoke words of encouragement to the women currently in the program.
"Hang in there and show up for yourself and those who love you because life on the other side is so much more beautiful and meaningful than you could have ever imagined." There wasn't a dry eye in the room. Thankfully they were all happy tears.
A Safe Place to Heal
42 SURVIVORS SERVED IN 2020
Survivors in our safe homes often share that it is the first time they have felt safe in years (if ever). When they come home to Selah Freedom, we welcome them into a new family, not a shelter. They receive trauma therapy, horse therapy, art therapy, puppy therapy, a personalized education plan, job placements, dental and medical aid, legal aid, life skills, mentorship, and so much more!
87% of survivor graduates do not return to "the life."
100% of the survivors in our program are pursuing their educational and career goals.
Handmade By Survivors
Be Inspired By Their Creativity
One therapeutic outlet which often ignites a new love for survivors is art. We offer drawing, painting, collage, chalk, and many other mediums. It helps survivors to "practice the art of selah" (Hebrew for "pause, rest, reflect").
It is incredible to watch a survivor who, when she came in, believed she was worthless and had no artistic skills come alive during an art group. Suddenly, a child-like sense of wonder and self-discovery is rebirthed, and she begins to process through this unique medium. She is empowered, at peace, inspired, and has a new way of processing her experiences. Check out some of the stunning pieces created by survivors in our safe homes below.
Bringing Light Into The Darkest Places
408 SURVIVORS SERVED | 4,095 SERVICES PROVIDED |
471 OFFICERS & PROFESSIONALS TRAINED IN 2020
Selah Freedom could not have had such an incredible impact on our communities without our strong partnership with local law enforcement, State Attorney's Offices, judiciaries, Homeland Security, and the FBI. Our team unites with our partners through Sex Trafficking stings, in the jails, connecting with survivors on the streets, and through TYLA (Turn Your Life Around) Prostitution Diversion Court Program. We are the first point of contact for survivors during operations, and thanks to the training we provide, there has been a paradigm shift in how officers and women in "the life" communicate. A survivor in our program once said, "I used to run from the cops, but now I run to them because I know they will help me and not treat me like the criminal."
Prostitution in Sarasota County has gone down 90% since local police partnered with Selah Freedom.
Protecting Our Children Amid A Pandemic
7,532 KIDS & ADULTS TRAINED IN 2020
Our Prevention Program provides training for K-12th graders, parents, and adults working with youth. Through evidence-based, age-appropriate, cutting-edge training in the classroom and online, we can reach the most vulnerable population to being exploited and trafficked—our children. By empowering them to know the red flags to watch out for, know the power of their voice, and what to do if they are approached or abused, we create a shield of protection for the next generation.
Did you know?
1 out of 9 children are being approached by a predator online
2 million children are sold each year through sex trafficking
Child sex trafficking is being reported in all 50 states
91% of childhood sexual abuse victims report knowing their abuser
92% of sex trafficking survivors were sexually abused as children
Our trainings are now all available on a virtual platform in English and Spanish.
94% of trained youths know the body safety rules to keep themselves safe.
92% can name three safe adults they can talk to if they feel unsafe;
91% know the difference between a secret and a surprise.
Empowering Communities to Understand The Issue
155,084,457 INDIVIDUALS EDUCATED IN 2020
We repeatedly hear that, for the first time, people who attend our training are learning of this issue. Others share that they have no idea how close to home this crime is. Although so much education has been spread about sex trafficking and exploitation, many are unfamiliar with how it impacts hundreds of thousands of American children. Our Awareness Program shines a light into the darkness through online training, in-person events, social media, print media, television, and radio. The more mainstream discussing this issue becomes, the larger our "army" grows to combat it.
"I had no idea that this was even happening right in our backyard... to kids just like mine. I am so glad I heard the message of Selah Freedom. I'm not in the dark anymore about sex trafficking."
-Debbie, Awareness Presentation Attendee
SELAH FREEDOM VOLUNTEERS
BRING HOPE, HEALING AND JOY TO OUR PROGRAMS
OVER 3,000 VOLUNTEER HOURS SERVED IN 2020
Volunteers are the backbone of our programs and serve in a multitude of ways at Selah Freedom. From beautification days and celebrating holidays together to leading group activities and cooking meals as a "Selah family," each man and woman is deeply appreciated! When COVID-19 created unprecedented circumstances within our programs, volunteers continued to step up in incredible ways. Simply put, we could not, and would not want to, do this work without you! Every volunteer is beloved by the survivors in our program, and they get so excited when they get to build meaningful relationships with them.
THANK YOU to the volunteers who transitioned to virtual activities with survivors, donated and dropped off much-needed items from groceries to Easter baskets, and discovered innovative ways to touch lives during this challenging year. We are forever grateful!
OUR YOUNGEST VOLUNTEERS TO BRING
LIGHT INTO THE DARKNESS OF SEX TRAFFICKING
SELAH FREEDOM'S JUNIOR ADVISORY BOARD
2020 Junior Advisory Board
JAB Executive Board Member Co-Chair
Special Events Chair
Social Media Chair