Since Transforming Hope's inception in November, 2010, we have tried many things in an effort to determine the most effective way to fight human trafficking....strip club outreach, a shelter for teen girls who have been trafficked, speaking and training, changing laws, and back to outreach. We have experienced a good deal of trial and error, as this is still such a new issue to many people, making it difficult to know best practices and such. We have seen so much growth in our community, in our country, and around the world in terms of recognizing that human trafficking is an issue and it needs to be stopped, which we are SO thankful for!
Below is a timeline showing briefly where we have been on this journey and then an explanation of where we are heading, as well as some of the phenomenal organizations we are partnering with on future endeavors.
Beginning in 2016, Transforming Hope began partnering with Durham Parks & Recreation, The Vine Effect, and community members to serve residents in a low-income housing community in Durham. In 2017, we're hosting six bi-monthly events designed to fill a practical need with a giveaway and facilitate quality time between healthy adult role models and the kids in the community. Also, in 2017, we will offer individual-based support to residents who express needs and a desire to receive assistance in some way. This support could be a community health day, assistance with taxes, some meals for a new mother and her family, or a women's Bible study and everything in between.
Also, in 2016, Transforming Hope joined a group of about 20 organizations led by LIFE Skills Foundation and including nonprofit, city and county government offices, and community members, to help open a Young Adult Resource Center, now called "The Hub". Transforming Hope is now on the Leadership Guiding Team and is working diligently alongside our partner organizations to get the Hub open in 2017.
In 2016, Transforming Hope joined two of Durham Crisis Response Center's task forces, the Sexual Assault Response Team and the Youth Relationship Violence Task Force. Through this partnership, we are working with DCRC and several others to open an emergency shelter for adults who have been involved in human trafficking right here in the Triangle in Fall, 2017.
In 2015, UNC's School of Social Work received funding and created the organization Project NO REST. Transforming Hope had the opportunity to work on their prevention team to assess what is happening in the state and create a response to fill gaps. One of the ways that THM helped fill a gap was SB 279 (Section 4d specifically), a law in NC that now requires schools to include sex trafficking awareness and prevention in middle and high school healthful living classes. Transforming Hope is providing some instruction in the classroom and in 2016, translated our training materials into Spanish in order to assist the approximately 30% of students in Durham Public Schools and their parents whose first language is Spanish. Also, in 2017, THM has been invited to Project NO REST's Expert Advisory Group to assess what curriculum is available to schools, what is most effective, and how to create a collaborative response to prevent human trafficking and help students who may already be affected by human trafficking.
Transforming Hope is also proud to be a part of Durham's Child Trafficking and Exploitation Task Force through the City Attorney's office, Partners Against Trafficking Humans in NC (PATH NC) based in Raleigh, the NC Coalition Against Human Trafficking (NC CAHT) which is a statewide collaborative response to human trafficking in NC, and Vend Raleigh, a Triangle-based group of women who run their own businesses or nonprofits. Our founder, Abbi, runs the sub-group specifically for nonprofits.