ABOUT SELAH FREEDOM
Our History, Leadership and Mission
About Our Anti-Human Trafficking Organization
Selah Freedom is a nonprofit anti-human trafficking organization, based in Florida and the Midwest, with the mission to end sex trafficking and bring freedom to the exploited through four strong programs: Advocacy & Awareness, Prevention, Outreach, and Residential.
Serving Survivors of Human Trafficking
Selah Freedom confronts the issue of sex trafficking and is upheld as the model for how to effectively bring solutions to survivors of sex trafficking & exploitation. Selah is a Hebrew word which means to pause, rest, and reflect. We give survivors a chance to do just that. Women in our sex trafficking Outreach Program are provided the opportunity to dream again; to discover who it is they were created to be.
Fighting to Change Human Trafficking Statistics
In 2010, Selah Freedom's founders, Elizabeth Melendez Fisher Good, Laurie Swink and Misty Stinson, discovered the horrifying truth that local children were being bought and sold for sex right here in our own communities - that's right, American children! What began as the grassroots initiative of women from across the country to be a voice for the voiceless, has quickly transformed into a thriving organization with four foundational programs: Advocacy & Awareness, Prevention, Outreach, and Residential. Selah Freedom closely partners with law enforcement, legislators, and influential leaders to not only shed light on the staggering human trafficking statistics, but we are working together to change those statistics by changing lives!
In early 2010, Laurie Swink and Misty Stinson were inspired to launch a home for sex trafficking survivors in an effort to bring solutions to the victims of this horrible reality. Having seen a video of a young survivor who had been rescued from sex trafficking only to find herself with nowhere to turn to, Laurie was struck by the words “Who will give them a home?” This call for help pierced Laurie’s heart and brought forth the desire to help these victims; to be the one who would make a difference, and give them a home.
That same year, Elizabeth Melendez Fisher Good moved to Sarasota, and was organizing a women’s leadership event with a team from Chicago. Laurie and Misty, joined the leadership team putting on this event. Before meeting Laurie and Misty, the Chicago team had extensively researched the local area for a worthy cause to support. Asking around, they were repeatedly presented with the horrifying fact that local children were being sold for sex.
This group of women became determined to highlight and help fund a local anti-sex trafficking organization, but sadly, there was none to be found. Out of this need and collaboration,
Selah Freedom was birthed.
Anti-Sex Trafficking Training from Selah Freedom
Selah Freedom brings human trafficking Awareness and Education to the community and organizations through their speakers bureau team, CSEC (Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children) 101 Course, law enforcement training, and Organizational Mentorship. They also advocate for change through legislation. Their Prevention Program equips parents, youth and those who work with them, with the tools they need to avoid being manipulated by a trafficker and successfully prevents girls from being commercially sold. Our Outreach Program is active in the jail system and on the street and provides support groups, case management, and referral services to women currently in "the life", as well as a prostitution court diversion program. We provide Residential Programming for survivors of sex trafficking that includes a personalized educational plan, job placement, trauma therapy, life skills, medical and legal assistance, and holistic restorative care. As we bring light into the darkness of sex trafficking, we see victims transformed into survivors!
At Selah Freedom we celebrate the diversity of all people. We understand the critical importance of diverse representation of our staff and the youth we serve throughout our conversations, research, outreach and prevention and programs. We are dedicated to expanding our model in diverse communities and advocating for all youth to be included in our work to bring light into the darkness of sex trafficking.
Meet Our Team
Selah Freedom is honored to have survivors on our staff serving in all programs and we are continually adding more.
Contact us today if you are interested in learning more about how you can get involved in human trafficking prevention and to support our programs for Awareness, Prevention, Outreach, and Residential.
laurie Swink is a Co-Founder of Selah Freedom. Her passion and goal is to prepare survivors of sex trafficking and exploitation for their true purpose and potential.
Dr. Jason Quintal
National Clinical Director
Dr. Quintal specializes in training and development and in the treatment and resolution of complex and complicated trauma, PTSD, grief, guilt & shame, childhood abuse and sexual violence.
Brent Woody provides in-depth analysis of the effect of local, state, federal, and international human trafficking policy and laws that affect Selah Freedom.
National Law Enforcement Liaison and Trainer
Misty LaPerriere works directly with survivors of sex trafficking, trains law enforcement and the judicial system on this issue, while also providing certificate completion for officers. She serves on the 12th Judicial Circuit Anti-Human Trafficking Coalition and is a survivor herself and has worked with survivors for over a decade. Misty is designated as a Victims Advocate through the Florida Crime Prevention Training Institute for Human Trafficking with the Attorney General’s Office. Her certifications include 2018 Human Trafficking Summit from the Florida Attorney General’s Office, Certified Advanced Gang Specialist from the Florida Gang Investigators Association, Certified CSEC trainer.
Southeast Prevention Coordinator
Kyra is the Southeast Prevention Coordinator. She spent 7 years working for the public school system where she worked with a high percentage of children from low-income families. Her goal was to ensure the success of all children regardless of background, and she did this by creating interactive learning curriculums that catered to this generation of student where technology rules. Kyra has dedicated her life to children and the development of each individual child. Since coming on board with Selah Freedom in 2017 Kyra now carries the same passion she had in the classroom with her to work to prevent and equip children and adults with the knowledge that is needed to end sex trafficking and exploitation.
Kara Thompson, LSW
Midwest Prevention Coordinator
Kara currently serves as the Midwest Prevention Coordinator with Selah Freedom. Her heart lies in working with youth and youth-interveners so that they will feel equipped, educated, and empowered. Kara's experience working with youth and families extends beyond the non-profit sector, as she has had opportunities to walk alongside young people in settings such as the juvenile court, schools and behavioral health hospital. She holds a BSW from Miami University and a MSW from University of Illinois at Chicago.
Above: Residential Program Team: Darleny Ramize, Madeleine Chiders, Debra Kein, Angela Valenti and Julia O'Keefe.