Beauty From Ashes Introduces New Site and a Chance for FREEdom

Cool New Website Alert: On April 1, Beauty From Ashes (BFA), a faith-based organization that fights human trafficking in the United States, launched The group’s founder, Julie Taylor Shematz, was once a victim of sex trafficking herself, and now uses her experiences to help others escape and recover from similarly exploitative situations. She is showing survivors that from the ashes of soul-shattering abuse and injustice, something beautiful can arise.

I’m fairly picky about the websites I visit (hey, they can’t all be as great as, but BFA is both well-designed and rich with information. The sidebar offers a solid, basic resource for those interested in the lowdown on human trafficking facts and stats here in the U.S., as well as several other unique ideas about the fight against sex trafficking. Most exciting, however, is the BFA Vision for comprehensive aftercare in its home base of Florida and potentially throughout the nation.

With nearly 300,000 estimated children at risk for commercial sexual exploitation in the U.S., it is clear we have a dire need for victim services. However, options are super-scarce: currently, there are only five specialized homes with 29 beds available. What to do?

BFA’s response is FREEdom Homes, a trademarked model for addressing the full spectrum of short- and long-term needs for sex-trafficking survivors. Julie knows first-hand that victims of the sex industry need “more than a prayer and encouragement” to ensure a thorough recovery, and that’s why she has developed a program that includes medical, dental and mental health care, as well as educational and vocational opportunities. (You can read the full details of this project here.)

Establishing this type of template for aftercare will facilitate its replication all over the country, which is hopeful news for people and places in need. But, Julie is also quick to note that it is much less about seeing the FREEdom Homes label crop up nationwide than it is making readily available the specialized assistance for sex-trafficking victims that is so desperately lacking in the U.S. at this time: “We are sharing the details … of the FREEdom Children’s Home in hope that others will run with the vision,” she says. “The important thing is that victims (our citizens) are given the opportunities that international victims are given right here on our own soil … They deserve the right to have the opportunity to recover from the trauma and injustices done to them.”

Here’s hoping that BFA’s outreach and leadership programs will inspire a new wave of aftercare shelters and give more trafficking survivors in our country the means to escape — and eventually recover their lives.

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Keep working ,best wishes!

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