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To our dear friends, supporters, sustainers, and cheerleaders:
None of this would be possible without you. Our mission is not our own. It involves all of us, together. We are here because we said, “yes”, and so have you. That fact is something we reflect on regularly. On those days when slavery seems too big, or a survivor's trauma too severe, we think about how you are here with us, cheering us on, asking what you can do to make freedom and hope possible.
2015 was our best year yet, but not the best to come. We put this report together as an interactive way to see more closely what we’ve been up to and to give a few thoughts on where we want to go.
As you scroll we hope you see your fingerprints all over it. The success we’ve seen is because you exist. We hope you enjoy our 2015 year in review...
We have a vision to see every victim of slavery and human trafficking living free from exploitation. We work toward that end by providing holistic restoration, partnerships to increase victim identification, and addressing systemic factors that allow trafficking and slavery to exist.
It's our hope that by being involved in a survivor's life from rescue to reintegration and by working alongside government agencies, law enforcement, NGOs, and the community we can create slavery free communities.
Here are a few ways we provided holistic survivor care and disrupted the flow of exploitation in 2015:
Abra and her child were victims of labor trafficking in Richmond, forced to work without pay and to endure abuse. Referred to us by a community partner, Abra began to trust that Gray Haven could be a safe place for her family to begin the process of healing. As a single mom, finding the necessary support to transition into her new life wasn’t easy. Without a stable place to live or employment, Abra was unsure of her next step. Gray Haven connected Abra with vital community resources such as medical care, immigration legal counsel, counseling, emotional support, child care, transportation, and housing. Abra is now approaching her two year anniversary with Gray Haven, and we are excited to see the tangible growth, change, and holistic restoration in her life. She started a great full-time job with benefits, moved into her own apartment, and finished professional development classes to reach her educational goals. She is almost finished pursuing another one of her dreams: her personal training certification.
We don’t believe success is defined by how much we do, but by the results of everything we do. That means every activity, every movement, every motion is strategic and thoughtful with a goal of helping each survivor of trafficking move from victim to survivor to leading their lives freely. Whether through direct services on the first day someone is identified or by training health care professionals how to spot a possible trafficking situation we are working hard to ensure every survivor gets a fair shot at a better future.
Here are some activities in numbers:
Our mission is about people. We work with a wide range of people coming out of trafficking and slavery. They are bold, brave, hopeful, and incredible people. Because of a survivor's experience we have to abide by ethics of confidentiality for their privacy and safety. But we do want you, our friends and supporters, to know more about who we serve. Here are a few breakdowns of the people we work with and for:
Ella was sexually exploited over a period of 10 years. Over time, Ella decided she wanted to press charges and testify against the trafficker. On the court date, with Gray Haven beside her, Ella bravely testified against her trafficker. Because of her courage, her trafficker is now serving time in prison and will not be able to exploit anyone else. Today, Ella is working towards achieving her dreams of going to college, opening up her own bakery, and advocating within the criminal justice system.
We long to see a world without slavery. A world where every single person that has been exploited is free and restored. As a young organization we started out serving survivors with basic needs like mentoring, food, and clothing. Now we create a space where each survivor can rebuild their life from the first day out of enslavement through the years it takes to move forward. We have developed an intricate understanding of human trafficking and slavery and utilize that understanding to develop holistic approaches to work toward our ultimate vision: a world where no one is enslaved and every person who has been victimized is freed and restored.
We want every victim of human trafficking in Virginia identified, protected, and free. To work toward that goal we are focusing on training organizations across Virginia and through partnering with other NGOs serving survivors. We are also working to strengthen protocols and policies that prevent victims from being identified and appropriately referred for survivor care.
Human trafficking and slavery affect people in every nation on earth. Often someone is lured from their home to the United States only to find themselves trapped and enslaved. We want to see a world free of slavery and human trafficking as well as a world where anyone affected is provided with quality survivor care. This is a part of our long-term vision, and to work toward this goal we are building partnerships in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa.
Our donors work hard and give freely of their resources to make freedom and hope possible. From students to corporate executives. From senior citizen bible studies to foundations. None of the stories you just read would happen without them.
Our preschool aged son asked one day, “Momma, what’s a slave? Are there still slaves?” We’ve had the privilege of watching The Gray Haven since its early days. We’ve seen it expand its reach and effectiveness, turning slaves into survivors, educating police officers about human trafficking, we’ve heard success stories of traffickers being held accountable. We can’t all be on the front lines fighting this battle. But when our son asks if there are still people enslaved, we sadly tell him, yes, slavery still exists, but we can also proudly tell him that Mommy & Daddy give their resources so that those who are enslaved are set free. Because how can we not look that sweet boy in the face and tell him we are doing all we can to end slavery?
We give because life cannot be just about us--our own little world of family and friends. Abundant life is about the health and wholeness of all of us. We all impact one another, we are in this big world together.
Joy is one of our core values. We think work should be fun and so should serving and walking alongside others. We deal with a heavy and complex topic and one way to not give into cynicism or hopelessness is to foster an environment of joy. We are a unique group of people that bring different strengths and passions to our work.
Our board members are compassionate driven folks who believe we may just change the world.
Robyn McDougle, Al Bailey, Kathleen Reed, Ted Elmore, and Stephanie Davidson
Jennifer, one of Gray Haven’s first clients, was a victim of labor trafficking as a minor. Over three years later, she is married with a child and has a full-time job. She has expressed to staff how her experience of support and mentoring with Gray Haven made a difference in her life during such a difficult season. As Jennifer says, "Change isn’t possible unless you decide for yourself that you want to change, but the support of others along the way can make a huge difference." She now desires to be a mentor for other trafficking survivors, and is currently pursuing an internship opportunity within Gray Haven. Our hope is that other survivors will share Jennifer’s passion and one day be part of the Gray Haven team.
We started this year strong and have seen gradual growth throughout the year. With current projections we are set to double our financial capacity continuing through our next calendar year. This is largely due to more diverse funding streams like federal funding and local foundations. Still, though, our individual donors are what have made us a sustainable organization and will continue to do so as we grow.
1. In February 2015 we spoke on Capitol Hill for a Senate Briefing on human trafficking
2. For most of 2015 we've been working on a joint venture documentary film that tells the story of life after trafficking. You can learn more here: www.reclaimthefilm.com
3. Joshua Bailey, one of our co-founders spoke at a TEDx conference. The talk will be released soon.
4. In January 2015 we moved into a larger office to allow for our growing staff and client engagement
Thank you for a remarkable year! Thank you for supporting our work and for believing hope is possible. We want every person affected by human trafficking and slavery to be free and this year was another step in that direction. Finally, thank you for reading our year in review!
The Gray Haven Team
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