Jennifer McBride, Fierce Freedom President

Owner of VES Environmental Solutions, LLC., Acer Trading Group, LLC. (CEO), VES Asia, LLC. and VES Environmental Solutions Europe Limited (2008-Present)

My interest and involvement in Fierce Freedom comes from my many years of traveling the world and seeing the impact of Human Trafficking. From a business perspective, I strive to help other businesses understand the impact of Human Trafficking not only in our community but around the world. I have a passionate belief that education is the key to understanding the truth about Human Trafficking. When we educate others on the truth of what Human Trafficking is, what it looks like and look for those who are enslaved, only then will it motivate someone to make a difference.

Note from the Director

By Jenny Almquist

As a growing organization it is critical that members of the Board of Directors are dedicated to our mission. I alone could never lead this organization—nor would I want to! I couldn’t be more proud and thankful for this group that brings their expertise and leadership to see “modern-day slavery exposed in our home-towns.”

In my organizational position, I know that it is critical to have a healthy and well-rounded board. It will be my pleasure to introduce each of them over the next few months.

This month, I would like to introduce you to our Board President; Jennifer McBride.

Jennifer took over as President last spring and I am grateful for her leadership and passion to fight human trafficking right here in the upper-Midwest.


Apps that fight human trafficking

By Jodi Emerson

We live in a digital age. We’ve seen how websites have made human trafficking available to the masses. But did you also know that there are many websites and apps out there to help fight trafficking? Fierce Freedom has spent some time looking at a few and would like to offer our thoughts on them.

TraffickCam by Exchange Initiative

This app allows the user to take pictures of a hotel room and record the city and room number of the hotel. This is important because much of the sex trafficking that happens in the U.S. happens in hotel rooms and many of the ads posted contain pictures of people in hotel rooms. The app developers are in the process of assembling a database of hotel rooms so that when law enforcement finds a picture in a hotel room, they can compare it to the database and narrow down the search for the victim.

Pros: Easy to use. Makes the user feel like they are doing something to fight trafficking. There are warning signs listed in the app so it educates people while they are helping fight trafficking.

Cons: Room database is not available yet. Rooms get remodeled so pictures can be outdated.

Sweat and Toil: Child Labor and Forced Labor by US Department of Labor

This app deals with overseas labor trafficking that is so hard to fight. The app allows the user to look up goods by area or country to determine if child labor or forced labor is used in the production of the item. This app is wonderful because the majority of human trafficking that happens worldwide is labor trafficking and this app helps people make smart decisions with their consumer dollars.

Pros: Easy to use. You can look up items by type or by country. Has numerous categories which reinforces what a big problem labor trafficking is throughout the world.

Cons: Organizations of all sorts manufacture projects and we know that there can be good and bad businesses in the same area. This app does not include the United States, so it gives the appearance that labor trafficking does not happen in this country.

The STOP APP-End human trafficking by 5Si

This app allows you to record instances when you suspect human trafficking is happening. We do not -recommend this app be used. If you see something, contact local police and then call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-3737-888.

Pros: Gives good information about what to look for and warns the user to report to local law enforcement first and them second.

Cons: Puts the user in dangerous situations of playing cop. Traffickers are dangerous individuals and often will react violently if they are afraid they are being recorded.

BAN Human Trafficking! by Inellex and Lifeboat ACT game by Jill  Cohen                                                        

These gaming apps allow the user to act out scenarios of how traffickers take advantage of people and groom them for a life of trafficking. Both of these apps put you in the shoes of someone in either an everyday situation or a desperate situation so you can understand how easily someone can be tricked into doing something they would have never imagined doing.

Pros: Great way to start a conversation with teenagers about human trafficking. Helps you understand what a victim goes through. Learn lessons while playing a game.

Con: The STOP APP was developed in Europe, so it would be easy for users to assume trafficking doesn’t happen in America. Remember that trafficking can happen anywhere and apply the scenarios to your neighborhood.

Apps are great tools as we work to educate everyone that modern day slavery is happening in our hometowns. But we must use them carefully. Never put yourself in danger. If you see something happening, contact local police. Please do your part to educate yourself and those around you to fight the fastest growing crime on the planet.

9th Annual Just Us for Justice Run

By Jessie Podolak

The 9th Annual Just Us for Justice Run was a huge success this July.  Despite dangerously high temperatures, runners (674 of them), volunteers (175 of them) and supporters headed to Carson Park to support Fierce Freedom and International Justice Mission.  Over $27,000 was raised to fight human trafficking and modern day slavery!

This year, Fierce Freedom began to transition into a new role for the race. Race founder, Jessie Podolak, approached Jenny earlier this year and asked her to consider having Fierce Freedom take over the leadership of the event.  This would allow many of the people who express a desire to “do something” to help fight trafficking to participate in a tangible event that IS making a difference globally, regionally and locally.  Jessie thought it would also take the race to the next level, bringing a fresh perspective and creativity to the table.

Fierce Freedom has accepted this challenge and is excited to transition into the role of “Event Coordinator.”  Some things will change in the upcoming years as Fierce Freedom takes on this role.  While International Justice Mission will still receive donations from the event, a higher percentage of resources will stay local, so we can fight trafficking here in our own back yard.  In addition, some logistical aspects of the run itself will change, as we hire out a chip timing company, and other details that will come together.

However, many things will stay the same.  Race leaders will continue to embrace a community driven event, with sponsors from various businesses and churches (multiple denominations) being represented.  We will continue to strive to put on an event that the entire family can enjoy, and hope to expand our children’s activities.  We will continue to use the event as a platform for educating our community as well as raising funds, and hope to inspire a new generation of freedom warriors!

This is a great step for Fierce Freedom and for the future of the Just Us for Justice Run!  As the 10th anniversary of the run approaches, we look forward to celebrating the work accomplished and pushing on to new goals ahead!


Freedom and Food

 Have you ever wondered what you can do to help fight trafficking but don’t know where to start? Join us for our Freedom and Food event and help raise money to fight trafficking here in the Chippewa Valley. The Food and Freedom event will be at the Altoona Family Restaurant (2000 N Hillcrest Parkway in Altoona) on May 16th and the Chippewa Family Restaurant (1701 Kennedy Road in Chippewa Falls) on June 9th. Enjoy the wonderful food at these restaurants and a portion of the day’s sale will be donated to Fierce Freedom. We will have staff and volunteers available throughout the day to answer questions about local human trafficking issues. Please join us!

Faith Community’s Response to Human Trafficking

On April 7th, Fierce Freedom will be sponsoring an event aimed at helping area faith communities identify and fight human trafficking. The event will feature talks from Pastor Steve Rutter, Pastor James Whatley, Jodi Emerson of Fierce Freedom, Lt Ryan Dahlgren of the Eau Claire Police and Jessie Podolak founder of the Just Us for Justice Run. The event will be at St Matthew Church in Eau Claire and will start at 10 AM. Registration is appreciated. Please contact to register.

Looking Forward to 2016

Several years ago I was giving a presentation when I stated that I believe that modern-day slavery can be abolished in our generation. One person in the crowd was quite vocal about the impossibility of that goal. However, we at Fierce Freedom believe it to be completely possible and with your help, it is becoming a reality!

This year we have seen some very practical ways that the anti-trafficking movement is making a difference here in the Chippewa Valley. One example is that a young lady who volunteers with Fierce Freedom was approached by a trafficker in the parking lot of a local coffee shop. She knew the trafficking warning signs but just as important, she knew that “something just didn’t feel right.” Even though she educates youth about the trappings of sex trafficking, she was almost lured into a trap that could have endangered her life. I am so happy to say that she is safe and continues to tell her story to youth – helping them to see how this could happen to each of them.

Its stories like that which keep us going. Last month we had a young lady tell us that she heard us speak at her school several years ago, and because of that presentation, she realized that she was being groomed to be trafficked. She was able to make some safe choices, therefore taking herself out of an at-risk situation. We know that trafficking statistics are hard to come by, but we do know for sure that 50% of the time that we speak to any given group we encounter someone who is affected by trafficking. We can do that because of your investment into Fierce Freedom.

This coming year we have many exciting opportunities. In January we are partnering with the University of Wisconsin—Eau Claire to give an anti-trafficking seminar to continuing education students and community members on how to combat human trafficking in rural Wisconsin.  We are also actively involved in training area law-enforcement, providing anti-trafficking training on university and college campuses as well as outreach into area school districts.  Along with those very exciting opportunities, we are thrilled to be part of the first ever State of Wisconsin anti human trafficking taskforce. In fact, here is a quote from one of our State Representatives: “…thank you for testifying at the public hearing on Safe Harbor legislation to protect children. You are very informed and an important voice on this issue… “       – Jill Billings

2016 marks our 9th year of educating the public about local human trafficking. We have made some good headway but this coming year looks like nothing we have seen so far, with state-level opportunities and trainings for organizations that will make decisions for thousands of children, women and men in the state of Wisconsin.  Will you join us in exposing modern-day slavery in our hometowns? We have so much opportunity to do so much good this coming year. You have the opportunity to make a difference with us to help the enslaved and exploited. Please join us!

With much gratitude,

Dave and Jenny Almquist

Fierce Freedom, Founders

Board of Directors Opportunity

Are you passionate about issues of Human Trafficking and looking for a way to help the cause? Fierce Freedom is looking for board members. The role of the Board of Directors is to set the direction for the organization and to approve policy. The board meets quarterly to conduct and be updated on the activities and financial status of the organize.

We are seeking a few individuals who are dedicated to the cause of exposing modern-day slavery in our hometowns and who will bolster the strength of the board by their personal strengths and professional affiliations.

If you would like to be considered for a position on the Board of Directors please contact the Fierce Freedom office at (715) 514-2890 or

Dave Almquist

Fierce Freedom Board President

Birthday for a Cause

It’s true! Birthday for a Cause is back! Not just as a one-time event but as an event that can be easily replicated. Some of you might remember that several years ago, Joyce Orth decided that for her 55th birthday she wanted to do something with “purpose.”  Her goal was to raise $550 for her 55th birthday.  Our founder Jenny Almquist recently had her 50th birthday and hosted a similar event. The hosting of that event was with the purpose of launching “Birthday with a Cause” on a broader level.

Jenny, like Joyce decided that what she wanted for her birthday was more than the usual birthday gifts, she really wanted to do something meaningful that would have a lasting impact.  If this interests you, please call the Fierce Freedom office at 715.514.2890 and find out what you need to get started.

Also, you can help now. With Jenny’s event behind us we have until Nov. 23 for matching funds up to $7500. This is such a great opportunity to impact and expose human trafficking locally!  Your donation could double if you give before the deadline. Call the office at 715.514.2890 or click the Donate Now button on our Facebook page or visit Your gift helps us speak to local students, educate law enforcement and more.

How You Can Help

What can you do to help fight human trafficking?

  •      Talk about the reality of sex trafficking with friends and family

  •      Report suspicious activity to 1-888-3737-888

  •      Mentor at risk youth

  •      Follow us on Facebook

  •      Designate Fierce Freedom as your Amazon Smile Charity

  •      See if your place of employment has a matching donation fund

  •      Set up a monthly donation through

  •      If you are a Thrivent Financial customer, make sure Fierce Freedom is recieving your Thrivent Choice Dollars.