The phone rang in our office and a woman on the other end of the line said “please talk to my daughter— she has been sex trafficked.” Our new friend agreed to come to the office and she told us her horrific story. She spoke of when she was a young girl sold over and over again to older men in our community to do un-speakable acts.
After speaking with our friend, I am relieved to say that we were able to connect her with local authorities. It was especially important because our friend is dying from cancer and she only wanted to be heard so that she could be sure that the details of her story were told to local officials now in her last days. I wish that each of you who have support our cause could have been in our office that day. Just to hear her say that she is now at peace because she knows that people finally know that truth was so empowering.
During the past year we have heard the highest highs and the lowest lows. Along with stories like the one above, we have seen people stepping up to see exploitation of youth and the sale of something that should never be sold stopped.
Thinking back on the past year I can’t help but think of all of the courage that we saw unfold in front of us. I felt with all certainty that we chose the right name for our organization – Fierce Freedom. Though I rarely feel “fierce” myself, I believe that I have come to an understanding of fierce this year.
Fierce comes from the Latin ferus ‘wild animal.’ It means strong, proud, dangerous and ready to roar. Fierce can also be used to mean intense.
Yes! That is fierce. However let me also tell you of what I have seen to be fierce. This past year I have seen weak and broken women stand up and say NO to further exploitation. I have seen shy and timid people stand in front of groups of people to talk about this crime and what it is doing to our youth. I have seen people quietly but fiercely give of their finances to see that our law makers understand what trafficking looks in WI – laws are changed in our state, enforced in our counties and our vulnerable neighbors cared for.
The coming year holds huge promise for fierce change around us. Our focus will be to train hotel staff how to recognize human trafficking and how to protect those who may be in danger. This program is called Be Aware and we are proud to partner with Visit Eau Claire and the Eau Claire Police Department for this endeavor.
Along with Be Aware we have presentations scheduled a year out with many exciting opportunities to prevent human sex and labor trafficking in the Chippewa Valley, throughout Wisconsin and in our neighboring states. It is because of these timely opportunities that I want to ask you to consider giving generously as we complete this calendar year. Your tax-deductible gift will help us bring the message of freedom and hope to thousands of youth and at-risk students in our area.
Please make plans to join us for our Night of Freedom and Hope on Thursday, February 23rd at the Lismore Hotel in Eau Claire, WI. This will be a great opportunity to hear how local lives have been impacted and changed through the efforts of freedom fighters on our team. Consider purchasing your tickets early or sponsoring a table—or coming early to bid on amazing silent auction items (details coming soon). We are excited to corporately celebrate the progress that has been made to eradicate local human trafficking.
From everyone here at Fierce Freedom, Merry Christmas and a very happy, safe and fierce New Year!
Fierce Freedom, Executive Director