At the heart of FreeRoots we believe that Human trafficking is modern day slavery and is a violation of basic human rights. Human Trafficking robs people of their most basic human right...freedom.
In the United States, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) defines “Severe Forms of Trafficking in Persons” as: Sex Trafficking: the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act, in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person forced to perform such an act is under the age of 18 years.
Through common experiences in mission work globally we began to see that Human Trafficking was not only thriving in developing countries but in the United States. It was shocking to discover that our very own Houston, Texas currently has the highest rate of trafficking in the United States.
The truth is that there are numerous organizations who are fighting this injustice. They do an amazing job at rescuing victims and bringing traffickers to justice. There are other organizations who do amazing rehab and counselling work with the victims. Yet results show that many victims are taken back into sex work and re-victimized either by force or desperation. The gap is obvious, there are not enough legitimate skill training programs to equip victims to live independently and support themselves.
As a response to this need FreeRoots, as a nonprofit, officially began in the summer of 2014. Our focus is the restoration of dignity and life purpose in those affected by sex trafficking by training them in the discipline of hairstyling. Our mission is to walk along side these individuals as a community, and to ensure that they are successful in building the skills necessary to live their lives with purpose and freedom. Our original area of focus was in Phnom Penh, Cambodia from 2010 - 2016. The experience we gained there is invaluable and we are forever grateful for our friends and partners there .
As an organization we believe in being difference makers both locally and globally. Today our current work is focused in Houston, Texas and Mumbai, India. We also believe that to accomplish our mission we must join together with other organizations and individuals with the same passion and focus.
Our Houston work is centered on girls who are rescued from sex trafficking and extremely abusive situations. We currently partner with Freedom Place, a non-profit organization that houses underage rescued girls. FreeRoots role is to lead girls through an intentional curriculum based on basic inspirational skill sessions with an emphasis on mentoring and personal development.
For our work in India we focus on a full vocational haircutting training. The participants are all girls from the second largest slum area in Mumbai. Our hands on interactive curriculum is full of skill training, personal development and inspiration. The girls we work with are incredibly talented and develop their skills quickly. Vocational training for women is desperately needed in this population as well as finding healthy community focusing on their empowerment. The seeds of our program have begun to bloom in the communities and lives of the girls we serve there. As we continue our program there we are encouraged by the stories we hear from our partner organization on our students progress.
As we grow and expand we truly believe there will be a measurable effect. We collectively believe that if the dignity of one person is restored in any of our partner locations our time will have been well spent. With our partner organizations, supporters and training team members we will continue to see change. Beautiful change for those we serve, and a deep level of change in us.