First trip to the Dream Center

sunset pink sky
Pink sunset sky Tuesday night.

I took a tour of the Phoenix Dream Center with a group of women yesterday. It’s the residential facility that heals and houses victims of human trafficking.

I wrote about The Dream Center HERE.

The building itself is an old Embassy Suites. It has security from Homeland Security as well as their own security staff surrounding the building.

I was impressed that it had it’s own medical office. They said they want to check the victims out physically within a day of them entering the program. Often human traffickers keep the victims documents like driver’s license or social security card when they escape, so it could take 45 days to get new documents and a doctor’s appointment. They lost one young woman to organ failure and felt that they could do better. So, they built their own medical office and doctors volunteer their time so there is no need for documents or insurance.

The girl who died said she was at peace, because she was free and felt like the Dream Center was home.

The center also has a dental office and optometrist office.

I cleaned out my closet the day before my visit and found they have two rooms for men’s and women’s clothing that were clean and organized. Residents can go into the clothing rooms and pick whatever they want off the racks for free. Residents also are responsible for maintaining the clothing rooms.

There’s a garden which is healing for the residents to work in. They also have a chapel, therapists and psychiatrists.

One of the eye popping statistics was that unlike the drug traffickers who sell their product and then need to find more to sell, human sex traffickers can sell their victims from 12 to 16 times a day for years. Young boys around 11 years old can earn $300,000 a year for their traffickers.

We were told that 95% of the residents grew up in the Phoenix area, they are not coming from the southern border. The number one trafficker is a Romeo, who a vulnerable young woman falls victim to and is manipulated into sex trafficking. They may meet their trafficker online or in person.

It was a worthwhile day, but I’m emotionally exhausted.

I thought human trafficking was a border issue, but it turns out it’s not and it’s throughout our country and the world.

What are your thoughts about human trafficking NOT being a border issue?

More good news

Sunrise in our backyard.

When I went to lunch last week with a ladies group I recently joined, I sat at table with three of my neighbors. One is a board member for the group and the other two are my friends and new members also.

This group is fundraising for The Phoenix Dream Center, which is a facility to rescue and help victims of human trafficking. I wrote about that HERE.

The board member/neighbor at our table said “You’re the one with a background in PR.”

I thought to myself, “Did I really need to share that on my membership application?”

She slipped a spreadsheet and a press release across the table to me. “Can you help me get out our press release?” It was for an upcoming fundraiser.

“Sure,” I said.

“I just need you to fill in the blanks on the spreadsheet. I haven’t been able to find the contact information for some publications.”

The next morning I googled the publications with missing contact info. I was able to find some of them and I either filled out online forms or sent emails to them with the press release.

Within 30 minutes I got a response from a magazine publisher who has high end magazines for high end neighborhoods.

“I’m sold. I love The Dream Center. Can you take a call in two hours?” his email said.

I quickly texted the board member/neighbor to ask if she’d take the call. I’ve been to two meetings in two months and don’t know much about this group — like how long it’s been around, how many members there are, if they have a budget to buy ads, etc.

“I’ll be at the dentist,” she texted.

“Okay. I can do it,” I replied.

Later I got a phone call from the president of the group who said she’d take the call. Whew!

Fast forward and the president called me back to say they had an excellent call and then had a meeting the next day. They are getting free advertising from now on each month! They are getting a VIP listing and perhaps a feature article.

I’m so thrilled I helped open the door. I’m also relieved I didn’t have to take the initial phone call. I was smiling the rest of the day.

What has made you smile recently?