Dedicated to helping clients build successful lives.
September 2014 Update
When I think about slavery, I think of it in the past tense—an abolished institution. I think of it as something society has evolved above and beyond. Certainly, I think of it as something I can see. I mean, I know all about the internal slavery of addiction, but actual, physical slavery doesn’t happen anymore, right?
Wrong. Unfortunately, modern-day slavery is alive and thriving all over the world in the form of human trafficking, including right here in Middle Tennessee. Trafficking occurs when a person is used to perform sexual acts, stripping, and/or pornography in exchange for something of value. Female children are the largest commodity in the trade, but women, boys, and men are also victims of trafficking. Over 300,000 children are trafficked within the U.S. annually, with victims coming from urban, as well as rural cities, and without regard to socio-economic status (source: Innocents at Risk). Popular recruiting places for trafficking are shopping malls, community centers, schools, theme parks, neighborhoods, and online. In other words, the places that you and I and our children go all of the time!
So, how is the happening? What is the hook that lures people into the world of trafficking that quickly becomes a inescapable prison? A Tennessee Bureau of Investigation report suggests victims are often initially approached on social networking websites. A predator gains the trust of potential victims by expressing sentiments of love and offering to promote them in glamorous career possibilities. Once he has gained the victim’s trust, the predator convinces the victim to meet in person, often in a remote location. Once they meet, the predator uses various ways to restrict the victim’s movements through any combination of physical harm, cutting off modes of communication, and threats to harm loved ones. The victim is caught and the predator then sells her (or him) as a product.
Indications that someone is a victim of trafficking include: alcohol/drug dependence, poor grades/drop out of school, frequent injuries, malnourishment/poor eating habits, disorientation, possession of few personal belongings, disregard for physical appearance/hygiene, no identifying information/documentation, avoidance of eye contact, fear of authority figures/law enforcement, a tendency to work very long hours and yet always be broke, large debts with no ability to pay them off, no permanent residence, and perhaps a brand/tattoo by the trafficker.
Victims are most often reluctant or unwilling to identify themselves as a trafficked person out of fear of abuse or retaliation against themselves or their loved ones. Some questions to ask a person who you suspect may be being trafficked are: *1) Are you free to leave your job or your home? 2) Are you being harmed? 3) Are you being forced to do anything against your will? 4) Are you or your family being threatened? 5) Do you live with/near your employer? (*source: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops)
Anyone could be at risk for human trafficking if the “carrot” being dangled is tempting enough, but many victims are women with troubled pasts involving addiction, incarceration, or abuse – women like those who find themselves at Doors of Hope. Be aware of the existence of sex trafficking. Know what to look for and ask the right questions. If you suspect that you are in the presence of trafficking, please call the Tennessee Human Trafficking Hotline (1-855-558-6484).
~ Solita M. ~
Have you ever imagined yourself in the Prodigal Son’s shoes? We know it’s a parable that symbolically represents the journey we all take back to our Father. But what if your literal life story followed that pattern? You made some really bad choices that have taken you to the end of your rope. Now you’ve come to your senses, and you desire change.
Only maybe your journey home isn’t so clear. You repent and seek to restore your relationship with God, but you still have to serve the sentence for your crimes. Right now you can only contemplate the changes you want to make in your life — restoring relationships, finding a job, a place to live, a place to worship, true friends who will help you stay on the right path and not lead you back into the ditch.
You’re anxious for your release date and yet scared to death of the immense challenges and temptation that will come with that freedom. If only you had someone to encourage you, someone to confide in, someone in your corner.
That’s the role of a Braveheart mentor. It sounds like a huge job that requires great wisdom, but really it’s just about listening and encouraging through letters, and praying regularly that God will provide the rest. Imagine getting a letter like this one that a mentor recently received…
“I am glad I get to talk to someone like you… I haven’t wrote you in awhile because I keep telling myself things to prolong it. I’m glad you haven’t gave up on me. Your letters are very helpful and uplifting… I’m glad I have an angel of God in my corner through these times and his name is [insert your name here].”
We are almost half way through our current 12-week class series and still have over 30 men on our roll. Each week we give these men important principles in helping them to “renew their minds,” but we aren’t able to connect individually with them on a deeper level. We need men like you to come along and build up these brothers through letters and prayer.
If you subscribe to this newsletter, you probably already know how important a mentor can be in the life of an inmate who desires change. Please also consider passing this message on to some men of God who are willing to give themselves to others.
If you can serve as a mentor, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Doors of Hope helps Men! Join our mentor team or to find out more about our efforts.
100 Reasons for Hope Campaign
Thank you! As we celebrate our fourth year of work, Doors of Hope celebrates more than 400 men and women who have graduated from our classes at RCCWC and RCADC. In addition to that instruction, Doors of Hope seeks to reduce the recidivism rates by helping facilitate the reintegration of citizens released from correctional and/or rehabilitative institutions back into society. By mentoring each unique client with life skills, coaching with goal-setting and providing accountability for progress toward those goals, many clients are able to achieve dignity and manageability of their lives. It is the consistent monthly giving of our regular supporters that provides the cash flow of our organization that makes it possible for us to even qualify for grants.
Would you like to join us in making a huge difference in changing someone’s tomorrow morning? A pledge of $10 or $20 per month provides much-needed cash flow and enables us to make the dollar for dollar match required by the granting agencies. A pledge of $30 per month, $360 a year, can provide rent for that first crucial month after a person is released. Click here to donate on-line.