February 28, 2023
If I Could Talk To You About Human Trafficking This Is What I Would Say by Skip Orth
‘If I Could Talk To You About Human Trafficking, This Is What I Would Say’ is raw and real! The stories used in this book to demonstrate how women get caught up in the lifestyle or pushed into prostitution, are such an accurate description. It demonstrates how even though women may enter the sex industry in very different circumstances, they still experience the same pain and real heartache that comes along with the ‘work’
In his book, Skip offers a vivid, accurate picture of what human trafficking looks like. I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to educate themselves on the subject of human trafficking.
Skip’s book encompasses real-life scenarios that I see in my office everyday. The book dives into what often drives women into the commercial sex industry and what sometimes keeps them there. The sex industry is the exploitation of vulnerability and this book highlights how women are exploited by traffickers, but also by the industry as a whole. This book serves as a wake-up call to people who believe that all women who enter the sex industry enter by choice.
We believe every sexually exploited and human trafficked woman can find FREEDOM, HEALING, & RESTORATION.
The vision for Set Free Refuge is to provide aftercare for sex industry survivors who have left the sex industry. There are different types of aftercare organizations providing specific services for survivors. Set Free Refuge exists to provide temporary, emergency shelter to women exiting the sex industry.Follow our journey through our Blog.
Skip Orth, Board President
Skip is an entrepreneur who has started several businesses and is currently the owner and CEO of Father and Son Pest and Lawn Solutions, a multi-million-dollar lawn and pest business in Northwest Florida.
One night, in 2012, Skip had a dream. In the dream, he was standing in front of a prostituted woman. Looking at her, he intuitively knew she was not selling herself willingly, but only because she had no other choice.
Not understanding the meaning of the dream, it wasn’t until months later, when Skip saw a documentary on human trafficking that he understood what human trafficking was and the implications of his dream months earlier!
From that point, Skip’s passion to help survivors of human trafficking grew as he became more educated about human trafficking and involved with various human trafficking organizations. Out of his passion, came the deep desire to one day open a safe house for human trafficking survivors.
The vision that started as a dream in 2012 became reality in August 2020 when Set Free Refuge was launched.
Marcie Rey Landreth, MSW, Executive Director
Marcie Rey Landreth, MSW, RCSWI is the Executive Director and Therapist at Set Free Refuge, Inc. A non-profit organization specializing in helping sexually exploited and human trafficked women. Marcie has over 15 years of non-profit experience working with marginalized and underrepresented communities. However, her true passion is helping women heal from trauma.
Marcie provides trauma-informed counseling and group therapy from a strengths-based perspective. She helps women and girls unravel their pasts and discover their futures. Marcie recognizes that healing is a journey and walks with her clients in love, hope, and compassion.
To schedule an appointment please follow the link below:
First Time Client:
We're Committed to What We Do
A Critical Need for Emergency Shelters
The first few hours after a woman decides to escape from the sex industry are extremely critical. Without a safe, stable, secure place to go, she has little choice but to return to her trafficker and the lifestyle she was attempting to escape.
Exiting “The Life” can be a traumatic event for a trafficking survivor in and of itself. Most sex industry workers have no connections or resources outside of “The Life”. Therefore, leaving “The Life” means abandoning virtually everything and everyone she is familiar with and often escaping with just the clothes on her back.
Therefore, having a specific place to go with people who understand her situation, are trauma-informed, and intentionally designed to provide for her needs, is huge for a sex industry survivor. It offers her a critical first step to successfully and permanently establishing a new life for herself.
Emergency Shelters vs. Long-Term Shelters
The purpose of an emergency shelter is to offer immediate shelter, safety, and stability to a girl exiting the sex industry. The main goal of an emergency shelter is to stabilize and equip a recent sex industry survivor so that she can plan her next steps toward a normal life. Assistance includes:
- A warm, welcoming room with a soft bed.
- A house mom/house supervisor who understands her trauma and is there to comfort and assure her.
- A new supply of personal items such as clothing and personal care items.
- It may include detoxification, medical and dental care.
- Help in transitioning to a long-term facility and exploring what other options she has.
In contrast, a long-term shelter focuses on helping survivors gain life skills they will need when transitioning to living on their own and supporting themselves outside the sex industry. This includes help in learning practical life skills such as keeping a checking account and budget or building a resume and job interview skills. They also provide counseling and therapy on a regular basis to help her work through the trauma and PTSD every survivor experiences.
However, long-term shelters are not equipped to provide emergency, spur-of-the-moment shelter to a trafficking survivor. Long term shelters typically have an application process that may take days to complete if they even have a slot available.
In order for a girl to enter a long-term shelter, she must first have some stability. She must be substance-free and emotionally stable enough to participate in a group home setting with a regular daily routine. Emergency shelters like Set Free Refuge are a bridge for a girl coming directly off the streets and stabilizing her so she can successfully transition to the best path forward.
Sex trafficking survivors come to emergency shelters from several sources. If their escape is assisted by by law enforcement without an alternative place for her to go, the only option law enforcement has is to incarcerate her which adds more trauma to the trauma she has already experienced. Having a warm, friendly facility available that is willing and equipped to shelter a trafficking survivor is better, by far, than putting her in a jail cell.
There are numerous outreach organizations across the country who connect with sex industry workers, offering them assistance. These outreach organizations depend on emergency shelters to take in women at a moment’s notice.
Emergency shelters are in such short supply, these outreach organizations often search the entire country to find a placement once they have a girl who needs one.
When escaping the sex industry, time is critical. A woman may only have a small window of opportunity to escape her situation, but she can’t escape without a place to go. Therefore, emergency shelters must be available 24/7 whenever the need arises.
Set Free Refuge is always open to receiving women from all over the United States.
Limited Resources Available
The number of emergency shelters around the country for women escaping the sex industry is very limited. Some reasons for this can include:
Women escaping the sex industry often require intensive resources to deal with issues like substance abuse, PTSD, physical trauma, and mental health.
There is a degree of risk in working with trafficking survivors that many organizations are not willing to take. Traffickers don’t like losing their source of revenue. It’s dangerous to shelter women who were, at one time, controlled by and brought revenue to criminal enterprises.
It’s expensive. Because of the resources that are needed to adequately assist sex industry survivors, such as full-time staffing, security, medical care, psychological care, and housing costs, the amount of money continually needed is significant and beyond the ability of many non-profit organizations.
Running an emergency shelter for human trafficking and sex industry survivors is one of the most physically, financially, and emotionally challenging tasks to be undertaken, so not many people or organizations are willing to do it.
How We Help Sex Trafficking Survivors
As an emergency shelter, Set Free Refuge provides a place to immediately stabilize a trafficking survivor, meet her immediate medical needs and provide help and guidance for the next step of her transition out of the sex industry. This stabilization process could take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.
The goal of her time at Set Free Refuge is to equip her to continue her pursuit of a normal life. A caseworker will work with each woman to determine the best path she has available to move forward. It may be she has a stable family she can return to. She might decide to apply to a long-term program. Each survivor has a different set of circumstances and her caseworker/advocate will work with her to determine what is best for her.
Most women who escape the sex industry leave with little more than the clothes on their backs. Not only do they have very few possessions, but they often have several medical and mental health needs as well. Working in the sex industry is extraordinarily traumatizing both physically and mentally. Survivors need medical care, dental care, and help to process the horrific things they have experienced.
These women may also have legal issues that must be handled. They could have prior charges, warrants or immigration status issues pending. Before a survivor can truly be free from her past, she must be able to clear up her legal complications. This could be a long process that extends beyond the time she is at Set Free Refuge, but we can at least help her develop a plan to start getting her legal problems resolved.
Survivors of the sex industry often have children who are estranged or have been taken away and need help reuniting or at least reconnecting with their children. This again can be a long process, but we can help her to get on the path to accomplishing that.
How YOU Can Help
I’ll be straight up with you. The biggest need is money. The cost of providing for one survivor at Set Free Refuge for one day is around $125.00. Set Free Refuge can serve up to six survivors at a time. At full capacity, that equals $750.00 a day or about $23,000 per month.
The costs include paid full-time staff, security, building, utilities, medical, food, clothing and transportation, just to mention a few. For $125.00 per month, you could sponsor one survivor for one day out of the month. Becoming a regular monthly supporter of Set Free Refuge will enable us to be there for the sex trafficking survivor when she is desperate to find a safe place go. And of course, any lesser amount would be gratefully appreciated.
We also need volunteers. Some of the areas where we need volunteers is administrative tasks, transportation, fund raising, and others. Volunteers must go through an application process and receive appropriate training. If you are interested in volunteering please fill out a volunteer form.
We also need in kind donations. We have set up an Amazon wish list in which you can purchase specific items for the Set Free Refuge home. We also accept donations of vehicles, property, or any other items of value in good condition that can be sold.
Help us educate people about human trafficking by enabling us to give away free books. Offering free books to people who are interested in knowing more about human trafficking serves two purposes.
- First, it spreads knowledge and awareness of human trafficking to individuals who may have heard about it but are hungry for more information.
- Second, it helps us to connect with people who may want to join forces with us to support sex industry survivors escaping the industry.
Printing and postage costs of each book are about $5.00. You can help us spread vital information about human trafficking and connect with new partners by sponsoring 20 books for $100.00, 50 books for $250.00 or 100 books for $500.00.
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