A WORD FROM OUR FOUNDER & PRESIDENT, COURTNEY ALBERT
Give Way to Freedom is proud of the work we have accomplished throughout the second half of 2023. We provided direct care and support to 14 survivors. It was uplifting to experience first-hand how our collaborative efforts enhanced and streamlined our rapid response to victims/survivors in need. Throughout the fall, we continued to create and facilitate powerful and engaging trainings and awareness events. We were honored to have the New York Women In Law Enforcement offer us a three hour time slot to facilitate, with former Chief of Police David Ryan, an impactful training on the intersection of human trafficking and domestic violence and the importance of a trauma informed multidisciplinary response. As always, thank you to our supportive board members and to our interns. If you have not already, check out our redesigned website, it was great to work with C+C Branding again, and we are very happy with it: givewaytofreedom.org
We wish you Happy Holidays and Peace in the New Year.
RAPID RESPONSE SUPPORT SYSTEM (RRSS)
In the second half of 2023, our RRSS directly serviced thirteen survivors with temporary shelter, food, and transportation. These thirteen survivors were from six different cases, of which four were labor trafficking. Some of them also worked with the Northern Vermont Case Manager, who provided additional support and connections to other wrap-around services. In two cases, with the clients’ permission, we engaged with the federal Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division, who were extremely helpful and diligent. It was great to see that our collaborations with the Vermont Labor Trafficking Committee are having a positive impact.
Our interns Emma Destito and Alexandra (Alli) Silva did wonderful work for us into the early fall. We prepped and participated in the Burlington South End Art Hop on the second weekend in September. We had two Molly Gochman pieces on display, an awareness table, customized pure vida bracelets, t-shirts, and of course, the Red Sand packets so attendees could do the participatory art. We partnered with the Howard Center’s (a mental health provider organization) art collective. We had a wonderful weekend, reached a lot of people, and are looking forward to next year!
TECH AGAINST TRAFFICKING SUMMIT
Meta, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft are leading other companies, non-profits, and survivors in a workstream to try to eradicate trafficking. Edith applied and was accepted to attend their two-day summit at Meta headquarters in NYC in November. Many panels were very interesting, the keynote was given by fellow Freedom Network member and Survivor Sabra Boyd, and several great connections were made to explore future projects.
Give Way to Freedom was extremely busy with trainings this fall. In October, Courtney Albert & David Ryan facilitated a powerful and engaging 3 hour in-person training on Human Trafficking and its intersection with Domestic Violence at the New York Women In Law Enforcement’s annual conference. GWTF facilitated a multi-disciplinary team training in Brattleboro with the Vermont Training and Outreach Committee, and we provided training to Friends of Adoption, which operates in both Upstate New York and Vermont. We were invited to teach a class at Champlain College and had a very robust and insightful discussion with the students, who then did a Red Sand installation on campus. A few of those students came to help out at Art Hop too! Last but not least, we ran the survivor impact panel at the Albany City Court Domestic Violence Unit for Honorable Joshua Farrell.
Partnership with Bay Area Anti-Trafficking Coalition
It has been amazing to continue to consult for the Bay Area Anti-trafficking Coalition (BAATC). We have several focuses with that team. One to keep getting training to airport personnel around the United States, and to make sure the airports’ response protocols are firmed up. Two, new federal legislation, The Human Trafficking Prevention Act of 2022, requires airports, ports of entry, transportation hubs like bus stations, and even airplane bathrooms to have reporting human trafficking signage, and we are working with airport associations to help their members have appropriate posters and stickers. Four, when the movie Sound of Freedom was released in July, we worked on messaging around that, which mostly focused on deflating the sensationalism, correcting misinformation, and shifting the conversation to be around what trafficking actually is.
The Freedom Network
The Freedom Network remains a wonderful conduit to help and elevate survivors. Edith is wrapping up her tenure on the Steering Committee. The annual two-day retreat was just last week, and we solidified priorities for next year and reviewed new member applications. The conference this coming April 18-19, Beyond the Fundamentals, a specialized approach to anti-trafficking work, is something we are looking forward to attending.
Edith continues to co-chair the Vermont Human Trafficking Training & Outreach Committee, and sits on the Labor Committee and the Chittenden County Human Trafficking Workgroup. Our commitment to keeping stakeholders engaged, facilitate dialogue, and stay current with trends occurring in Vermont is crucial in order to be able to utilize best practices and remain survivor-centered in our work. Courtney continues to sit on the Steering Committee of the Dutchess County Task Force, and offers consultation on human trafficking cases. Courtney was instrumental in facilitating the New York State human trafficking certification for a youth survivor, which gives the youth opportunities to access short and long-term support and services.
Thank you for your interest in and support of Give Way to Freedom!