Read along as we share our thoughts
about compassion, sustainability, and equality.

Introducing Lighthouse

On January 16th, we hosted a launch party to introduce Lighthouse to the world. Lighthouse is our powerful software designed to help frontline professionals identify and respond to victims of human trafficking.

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Allies Market

The Allies Market is a free event for patrons to shop responsibly this holiday season, while supporting local, socially conscious artisans and makers.

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The Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

Today, as we honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., I’m reminded of the centrality of freedom to the human experience: nations fighting for independence, racial and religious groups struggling for just treatment, and individuals persevering to overcome slavery. 

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3 Ways to Take Action on Human Trafficking Awareness Day

Today is Human Trafficking Awareness Day, a national moment to shine a light on modern day slavery.

The problem of human trafficking can feel overwhelming, and sometimes it can be confusing knowing how to help. We’ve been there too.

Here are three easy ways to learn more, take action and become an Ally in the movement to end human trafficking.

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2017: Year In Review

2017 was a monumental year. Thanks to advocates, supporters and partners like you, it was our most impactful year yet!

Our team curated seven highlights from the year to celebrate with you. From groundbreaking research to identifying victims, I’m deeply inspired by all the ways you’ve helped Allies advance freedom and protect dignity this year.

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END OF 2017 LETTER FROM THE BOARD

At a time when so much of our society is divided, 2017 has reinforced for me how dignity is universally central to the human experience. On a recent trip to the Middle East, I spent time speaking with migrants in a labor camp and was profoundly affected by the stark reality of their circumstance. They deserve freedom just as victims of trafficking in Texas do.

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Waste-free + Slave-free

The Slave-Free City vision rests on the belief that everyone has a role to play in the fight for freedom. No one organization or sector of the community can overcome the issue of modern slavery alone.

Transforming Austin into a city where traffickers cannot exploit the vulnerable and where survivors have access to all the resources they need to truly heal requires everyone doing their part. That’s why we are encouraged when community members like ingredients think creatively to mobilize their business platform for social change.

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A Single Garment of Destiny

“In a real sense all life is inter-related. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be… This is the inter-related structure of reality.

— Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail

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This Week I’m Gonna…Give

The complexity of human trafficking requires us to be creative in our approach to problem-solving. That’s why our team loves it when members of the community create innovative ways to engage their spheres of influence to raise awareness and offer solutions.

As part of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month we’ve paired up with Kristen Alexandrov, founder of givetwig, to raise awareness about the issue. Givetwig had its debut launch last week and is designed to make giving part of members’ weekly routines through small, recurring weekly gifts. Allies is excited to be part of this week’s conversation!

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Celebrating 2016

Thanks to your support, this was a year of growth and opportunity for Allies Against Slavery.
View our video to hear from our team, then check out the interactive highlights below to see our shared success in 2016.

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#SurvivorStrong15

This year I have provided support for over 50 survivors of sex trafficking with my team at Allies Against Slavery. Through referrals, mentoring, writing workshops, career coaching and our annual Survivor Leader Retreat, I have witnessed the fierce resilience and courage of the women and girls we serve.

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Worthy of Love

I recently had the opportunity to speak at the Grammy Awards.  A few weeks after this, I called into a recovery group for survivors of domestic minor sex-trafficking in Miami. The girls asked me questions about about my own recovery.  One teen girl shared, “I really related to your speech.”

“What part resonated with you the most?” I asked. 

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The True Cost of Our Things

What is your favorite thing to wear? What makeup product do you find yourself repurchasing over and over? What coffee is your go-to morning pick me up? Have you ever thought about where all of your favorites come from and the process involved in creating them? Jordan Ring had her purchasing practices turned upside when her eyes were opened to the world of human and labor trafficking and how she (and probably you) was unknowingly supporting these atrocities. Today she shares practical ways we can all start to rethink our role in the fight against modern slavery . . . and it could start with a purse!

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A Look Back at 2015

Click the interactive timeline below to look back at highlights from the year. With the help of supporters and partners like you, 2015 was a breakout year for Allies. Join us in celebrating all we accomplished together!

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Our Impact in 2015: The Slave-Free City Movement Grows

2015 was a breakout year for Allies! Together with supporters and partners like you, we’ve achieved significant milestones and made important advances in the Slave-Free City movement.

Modern slavery is one of the most complex, challenging problems we face today. Yet as Nelson Mandela said, “[Slavery] is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.”

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City of Austin Resolution

After several months of preparation and collaboration with Allies Against Slavery, Council Member Ellen Troxclair sponsored a resolution this week addressing human trafficking in Austin.

The resolution, introduced as the “Human Trafficking Awareness Initiative”, recognizes the important work currently being done by local organizations and signifies a continued public commitment by the City of Austin to be a national leader in the movement to end human trafficking.

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Voices of Survivor Leadership

Last month, I hosted a Survivor Leader retreat with the Survivor Support Team at Allies Against Slavery. We welcomed ten survivors of human trafficking to an inspiring weekend of creative expression and healing community. Through writing, art, discussions and workshops we explored three primary themes: reclaiming our self-worth, cultivating healthy intimacy and honoring our voices. We also discussed the relationship between living with self-compassion and making a sustainable contribution to the movement to end human trafficking. Each woman shared her gifts, passions, strengths and struggles within this sacred space. It was an honor to bear witness to their healing path. I call them Beautiful Warriors because they are radiant with love and fierce with courage.

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Why Don’t They Just Throw All The Pimps In Jail?

In April, 2015, a trial was held in San Marcos, Texas. The defendant was indicted on the charges of sex trafficking of a minor and three different counts of sexual assault.* Both he and the girl he violated were from Kyle, a community in the county just south of Austin. I was a juror on that three-week-long trial.

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Olivia Needs Someone To Trust

Most children trafficked for sex in the U.S. are not receiving the care they need to heal from their abuse. Due to the violence, control and demeaning messages of their abusers, many sexually exploited children are vulnerable to believing the lies they have been told about who they are and what is possible for them. They feel trapped, worthless and alone.

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Building Bridges: When Business Makes a Difference

We are always looking for ways to build bridges between sectors. We believe we do our best work when we work together. That’s why our team was excited when Bracelets reached out to Allies to create a new partnership.

Bracelets is a for-profit company with giving at its core. Bracelets™ bracelets are more than just something to wear on your wrist. They are a symbol of hope, strength and courage.

Bracelets is donating $10 of every purchase made to Allies when you shop through the Allies’ profile here: https://giveback.bravelets.com/bravepage/allies-against-slavery. Each Bracelet you purchase advances our mission to build a #SlaveFreeCity!

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Complicit: Why I’m Pledging to Build Slave-Free Cities

In order to truly commit to ending human trafficking, I first had to admit my own complicity in modern slavery.

“The answers to those questions can be haunting. We live in a world where human beings are reduced to objects and exploited for another person’s gain.

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, I had failed to ask myself, “What’s the story behind my everyday purchases?” Did the person who made my shirt make a fair wage while working in a safe environment? How much did my cup of coffee really cost? Did it cost only $3.50 or did it cost someone their dignity and freedom?

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Faith & Slavery

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1

Faith, at its best, has always been a resource for those seeking freedom. However, faith leaders, congregations and institutions have more to offer than is often utilized in the struggle against slavery. Besides providing consolation, support services and pastoral counseling for survivors, clergy and congregations can become powerful advocates, contributing their unique gifts to broader public policy campaigns.

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Violence Against Women: No Longer Sight Unseen

The bruised face of a woman on a billboard displayed in London’s Canary Wharf heals faster as more passersby look at her. This advertisement, which recognizes when people are paying attention to the image of the bruised woman, sends viewers the message that by not turning a blind eye to domestic violence, victims will start to heal.

Closer to home, female victims of abuse also began to heal by watching a survivor of domestic violence speak out to them, and for them. “Please reach out for help,”Brooke Axtell urged during her appearance at the 2015 Grammy Awards in January. “Your voice will save you.”

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Walking Billboards

Everything has a story. People, things, places–all are a collection of experiences. You could even go so far as to say that we are defined by our stories–they weave the tale of what we’ve done, where we’ve been, how we treat each other.

I think about that often as I’m moving around day to day, spending the majority of my time in Austin, Texas. With every decision, it’s helpful to me to ask, “What is the story behind this?” It’s the main reason why I’ve chosen to only purchase clothing (and

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Presidential Proclamation — National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, 2015

For more than two centuries, the United States has worked to advance the cause of freedom. Stained from a history of slavery and shaped by ancestors brought to this country in chains, today, America shines as a beacon of hope to people everywhere who cherish liberty and opportunity. Still, our society remains imperfect, and our Nation has more work to do to uphold these values. At home and around the globe, we must continue to fight for human dignity and the inalienable rights of every person.

Today, millions of men, women, and children are victims of human trafficking. This modern-day slavery occurs in countries throughout the world and in communities across our Nation. These victims face a cruelty that has no place in a civilized world: children are made to be soldiers, teenage girls are beaten and forced into prostitution, and migrants are exploited and compelled to work for little or no pay. It is a crime that can take many forms, and one that tears at our social fabric, debases our common humanity, and violates what we stand for as a country and a people.
I think about that often as I’m moving around day to day, spending the majority of my time in Austin, Texas. With every decision, it’s helpful to me to ask, “What is the story behind this?” It’s the main reason why I’ve chosen to only purchase clothing (and

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Celebrating 2014: A Foundational Year For Allies

Dear Friends,

This year was foundational for our organization and community. We established Allies as an official 501c3 nonprofit, expanded our core team, and refined our strategic vision to build slave-free cities.

We also celebrated several milestones in our work mobilizing and educating the community, supporting local trafficking survivors and coordinating a network of key partners. These five highlights stood out to me:

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Why I Became A Sustaining Allies Member

I attended the first Allies meeting in June of 2010. The meeting was held in a library on the east side of Austin, and twenty-five people showed up for handouts on human trafficking and an honest discussion about what was happening in our city. At that point, those of us in the room didn’t know that Allies would grow into a network of over 1200 people and become, in my opinion, one of the most affecting and versatile organizations Austin has ever seen.

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Ending Slavery: Changing Ourselves First

When talking about slavery today, we could cite astonishing statistics about the $32 billion criminal industry that exploits more than 21 million people worldwide through sex and labor trafficking. We could share the heartbreaking personal stories behind those statistics, highlighting that 12 is the average age a child in the United States enters the commercial sex industry. We could show you devastating pictures that reveal the horrific abuses the enslaved suffer each day.

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5 Ways to Keep the Anti-Slavery Movement From Becoming Obsolete

You can find a dynamic, visionary individual at the center of virtually every social reform movement in history. William Wilberforce in the British abolitionist movement, Susan B. Anthony in the women’s rights movement, and Martin Luther King Jr. in the civil rights movement, just to name a few.

But take a closer look at those movements and you’ll find something else too – a community that caught the vision, aligned their actions with a common purpose, and persevered together until they achieved their audacious goals, even when others thought they would fail. Wilberforce was a part of the influential Clapham Sect, Anthony used the platform of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, and King cofounded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. In other words, communities and institutions were instrumental in advancing their visions and movements over several decades.

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Let the Change Be You

It seems that it’s only happening overseas // But then I turn to see what’s staring back at me… // I’ve seen her face somewhere // A mother, a sister, a daughter, a woman, which represents queen //

These lyrics by Corie P. unveil the haunting truth that human trafficking happens not only around the world but around the corner. This hidden crime is all around us, if only we have eyes to see.

See, Austin is changing but there’s one thing that remains for sure // Exploitation like a black shadow is still traveling door, to door, to door // Beautiful people are being ignored //

But there’s hope! As we link arms across the city we can build a place where traffickers cannot exploit the vulnerable and where survivors can truly heal.

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