The Survive and Thrive Advocacy Center is coordinating an outreach in the Tallahassee area to help potential human trafficking victims – The Freedom Outreach. Although it may be surprising, human trafficking occurs in every state in the U.S., even Florida, even our capital city.
The Freedom Outreach is a monthly street outreach that aims to provide resource information to sex and labor trafficking victims. Each month, a few teams of volunteers will go out into the community to distribute lip balms labeled with the National Human Trafficking Hotline number. This number is a lifeline for victims to access information, resources and even help out of their enslavement. Run by Polaris Project in Washington, D.C., the hotline serves as a modern ‘underground railroad’ to connect victims of modern-day slavery with the possibility of freedom. The label on the lip balms reads: “Are you being forced to work or have sex? Is someone threatening to harm you if you stop? Call for help: 1-888-3737-888. Or text “BeFree” to 233733.” We also have labels in Spanish.
Our groups of monthly volunteers will go to businesses in our area that have a high chance of coming in contact with trafficking victims (i.e., motels and hotels) and to local social services organizations that assist possible survivors. Sticks of lip balm are easy for a person to conceal in their pocket or purse, or with their other toiletries, and will provide the Hotline number for victims to call or text when they need help. The Outreach will also regularly distribute the labeled lip balms to STAC community partners and other social service organizations that work with or come into contact with victims.
So far, we have collected several hundred lip balms with the generosity and enthusiasm of several volunteers in our area including the Rotary Club of Tallahassee and Celebration Baptist Church. We recently hosted a labeling party to gather the volunteers together and put the Hotline labels on all of the donated lip balms. We will begin the monthly outreaches in late August, and would love more people to help out. This is a great and tangible way to contribute to the fight against human trafficking in our city and county. If you feel interested in serving in this way, please reach out to Christie Arnold via email: email@example.com. You can also check out the project on STAC’s Facebook page or contact STAC at 850-597-2080 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about this project on our Freedom Outreach Project Details page.