Season's Giving- Thank you Three Hearts Home

This holiday season we are so excited to be partnering with local businesses to give the courageous survivors we are currently working with Christmas presents. We are grateful for the generosity of our local businesses, who are willing to gift presents to women who we have the honor of walking alongside of.

“Those who have experienced trauma can find the holidays very difficult. As the season is bright and cheery for many, for those who have lost someone, who have endured injustice and who have experienced trauma it can be an emotional and challenging time.”
— Rebekah Hayward

Three Hearts Home partnered with us giving personalized gifts for each of the women and young women that we serve. They allowed staff to go and hand pick presents for each women. The gifts included things like journals, earrings, tea, and candles. We love Three Hearts Home as they are a fairtrade shop, in cute Downtown Somerville, with lots of unique and eye catching pieces.

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Along with the gifts from Three Hearts Home, two women who sell essential oils through Young Living donated oils that encourage physical and mental health for our survivors to use. The oils came in sweet little bags, with rollers, droppers, and instructions on use providing our survivors with the information on how to use the oils to benefit their physical and mental needs.

All together the gifts looked beautiful sitting on a desk earlier this week waiting to be given, but what will be a better sight is when our Restoration Staff are able to witness the beautiful faces of the survivors as they open their personalized gifts. We’ve learned at Love True that change takes community and we are so happy that this holiday season is no different. Happy holidays from Love True!

It is not too late if you would like to give to Love True in the 2017 year.

Trafficking and the News

An issue with our current culture is that if it isn’t constantly in the news the impression is that the problem doesn’t exist. Many people are shocked to find out that trafficking is still happening, and a main contributor to that surprise is the under-reporting of trafficking. Since this is an issue that Love True has to face daily, two of our directors shared their views on the issue of under-reporting.

“There are many elements that continue to drive the under reporting or not accurate numbers when it comes to human trafficking. One main reason is that many survivors do not self identify as victims of human trafficking and services providers are not informed and educated to recognize signs of human trafficking in others lives. This leads to many individuals not receiving the care and support they need in the journey of healing. This is why at Love True we take great emphasis and care in providing training and education for the entire state of New Jersey.

"As we continue to work with survivor leaders in the state of New Jersey and hear from others across the country, we see another hurdle in accurate reporting. Time and time again survivor leaders share the fact that they were never interviewed for a statistic or their case was never prosecuted as human trafficking causing their case to never be reported. Many states across the US only recently adopted legislation that allowed the prosecution of Traffickers and buyers and offered protection for victims.

“Previously, due to lack of education and awareness, victims would typically be wrongly accused as a prostitutes and the criminals manipulating and controlling them would never be arrested. Love True is proud to say that New Jersey has specialized legislation called the Human Trafficking Victims Prevention, Protection and Treatment Act. Awareness of the New Jersey Human Trafficking Victims Prevention, Protection and Treatment Act is essential for all New Jersey residents to be aware of. This legislation is groundbreaking in finally decriminalizing victims and truly allowing the justice system to work to prosecute the true criminals involved in selling and purchasing of human beings." ~ Rebekah Hayward, Executive Director

"One thing that is known by most professionals working in the anti-sex trafficking field is that boys are trafficked, as well as girls. While it is clear that under-reporting is prevalent among many victims of sex trafficking, one thing that needs to be addressed is the under-reporting by the male population. Some of the typical reasons behind the lack of reporting by all victims of sex trafficking apply to boys as well, including they’re not self-identifying as survivors due to lack of awareness and service providers not having received adequate training to recognize and report sex trafficking; however, there are other factors that contribute to under-reporting among boys and men. One of the more predominant of these factors is the hyper-masculinity in our culture that is marked by a 'machismo' mentality. Men are conditioned to hide their emotions and appear as strong as possible by hiding their weaknesses, which includes any indication that they are victimized by anything; in this case, that is sex trafficking. As a result of this 'machismo' mentality, tied with the typical person's lack of understanding of sex trafficking, most people tend not to believe a boy if or when they disclose that they are a victim of sex trafficking, leading to no official report being made. In fact, the U.S. Department of State states that boys are at a greater risk of being penalized for offenses they committed as a result of being trafficked. Therefore, it is necessary for boys to be taught from a young age that it is okay for them to express their weaknesses and service providers, law enforcement, and people all across the United States need to be provided accurate education on the trafficking of boys and girls in order for us to see an increase in reported cases of the trafficking of boys that is symbolic of the number of boys that are actually being trafficked across the United States." ~ Alec Shover, Director of Prevention and Education


Under-reporting doesn’t have to be a problem with no solutions. A beautiful thing about the current social media culture is that sharing information is only a couple clicks away. The more those who do know about sex trafficking share their knowledge and the news they hear the more it will spread. You may think that you don’t have the influence to change our culture, but there is no one else in this world with your exact social reach. Sharing your knowledge and resources on sex trafficking to your social circle may not change the fact that many cases go unreported but it will help spread the cases and stories that are. Let’s utilize our unique social reaches and spread the reporting that does happen, like this recent story from Morris County New Jersey, looking forward to a time when we no longer have cases to report.

Volunteers of Love True

Speaking from the perspective of a director at a grassroots non-profit: With every major leap we take towards our mission of ending domestic sex trafficking “one life at a time”, I can look back and locate specific volunteers that helped us be in a position to take that leap. We started as a 100% volunteer staff with a small army of individuals who stood by us as we moved forward into the great unknown of fighting sex trafficking in New Jersey and starting a 501(c)3 non-profit. While we grappled with how to best serve survivors, educate the public about this dark issue through a lens of hope, and build a non-profit from the ground up, we have had the support of hundreds of volunteers to make the dream a reality.

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Whenever I sit with a survivor and hear how well they are doing and how thankful they are for our support, I think of a volunteer that is back in the office doing tasks so I can have the time to be with those we serve.

 

 

That particular volunteer started her journey with Love True almost exactly this time last year- she volunteered at the Trek Against Trafficking. When I asked her about why she first felt the urge to work with us, she told me about her experience at the Trek.

Why did you start volunteering at Love True?

It’s a combination of two reasons, actually. One, it seems every church we’ve gone to the past several years has somehow been affiliated with Love True, or Love True has given one of their presentations there. After the fourth or fifth time, I couldn’t deny that I was being nudged – and/or pointedly shoved – in their direction. The second is that after seeing everyone who’d come out to the Trek last year, I really felt a tug on my heart to give more. I’m so grateful that I did.

Was the Trek your first time volunteering for Love True?

Yes. My dad had volunteered with the Trek the year before and I was excited to serve alongside him.

How was the experience?

It was wonderful, although a little different from what I expected. We were in charge of the farthest water station for the 10K race, and you couldn’t help but be inspired. We had fun encouraging the runners at the halfway point.

What was your favorite part?

Truly, seeing all the dedicated people who’d come out on a rainy autumn day to be a part of a cause that changes lives. Watching them sticking to their commitments and hitting their goals urged me to finally do something more in the fight against human trafficking.

Why should others volunteer at Love True?

Volunteering at Love True is more than just a paltry bandage in the attempt to cover a festering wound. We and others like us are the cure to the disease that is human trafficking. We are literally making history! Every movement has started small, be it William Wilberforce’s efforts to eradicate slavery in the British Empire, our own pre-Civil War abolitionist crusades, or Martin Luther King Jr.’s campaign for civil rights. However, with an intensely devoted group of people with a definiteness of purpose and a burning desire to achieve it, we will end human trafficking in our lifetime.

Will you be coming back this year?

Of course! And you all should be there too!

Hearing responses like these only further my admiration and gratitude towards our volunteers. I hope this year, more will have experiences like this and join our volunteer team!

If you are interested in volunteering at the Trek Against Trafficking or at Love True for other events/projects, please contact us by filling out one of these forms!

Written by Emily Rutt, Associate Director