A Letter from the President of StolenYouth
I’m writing this letter in StolenYouth’s fifth year, but in many ways it feels like our work is just beginning. In my role as President, this is a very exciting time. As we build new and existing partnerships and raise unprecedented levels of funding for the recovery of trafficked youth, we are also expanding our organizational infrastructure. We are reaching out to a wider audience than ever to become a hub for information, funding, and awareness-raising around the issue of child trafficking in Seattle and across the country.
Four years ago, we built a unique coalition of organizations fighting trafficking on all fronts. Since then, these organizations have pioneered new ways to assess the scope and nature of child trafficking in Seattle. They have piloted a landmark high school curriculum that recruits young men as allies, trained 1,500 hotel and business personnel to recognize trafficking as it happens, and provided vital recovery services for over 200 trafficked youth. Today, as we refine our understanding of the demographics of trafficking in Seattle, our partners are becoming more effective in identifying its victims.
With over $3.2 million in funding from StolenYouth, this coalition has built a 24/7 continuum of care for young people identified in the sex trade. In building this set of services, we are guided and informed by survivors of trafficking, who advise and often lead our grantee organizations. Looking towards the future, we are also fostering new collaborations between our partners and newcomers to this cause. Seattle is seeing a rapid increase in local alliances fighting the exploitation of children, and we are on the front lines of this progress.
I continue to be inspired by all those around me who believe in the possibility of real change. I can’t think of better examples than the amazing members of our Board. I’m grateful for the dedicated service of our outgoing Board members—co-founders Zan Brookshire and Lynn Thomsen. At the same time, I’m excited to welcome an impressive group of new Board members this year, including Alan Brown, Ouida Hemingway and Libby Miller. With their help, we’re working to deliver our clearest, strongest message so far.
To the individuals and businesses who have supported us over the years, I cannot thank you enough. The backing and partnership of our generous community has allowed StolenYouth to have a significant impact in a very short time. Moreover, we’ve learned that when you commit to helping society’s most vulnerable members, your community will rally behind you if you can show them how. I look forward to strengthening these relationships, and forming new ones, as we expand the safety net of services and support for survivors.