Chandra Moyer received an invitation to be the keynote speaker for Fear2Freedom Celebration event held at Portsmouth Tidewater Community College. Students and faculty members came out to learn how they can “be the change” and “restore joy” to those wounded by sexual assault. After care kits were assembled and loaded on an ambulance to be transported to nearby hospital for victims in their community. To learn more about how this dynamic organization is having a positive impact on our community and beyond click here
Release Me International recently spoke to parents and the community at Great Bridge High School in Chesapeake. The human trafficking awareness event, sponsored by the Norfolk Branch of the FBI, was an opportunity for RMI to present important information about the dangers of child sexual exploitation and the presence of human trafficking in our communities.
FBI Community Outreach Coordinator Vanessa Torres also spoke to the audience, explaining the different community outreach initiatives being implemented by the FBI to ferret out crime at a grass roots level.
This event was a break through event as it was the first time RMI has been invited to speak at a high school to present to parents and educators alike about the issue of trafficking and exploitation. RMI looks forward to building more ties with educators and the community to help educate and eradicate the scourge of child trafficking in our communities, nation and our world. Monica Rey Bailey, Board Director
On April 14th Release Me International hosted a Child Trafficking Awareness Event at Christopher Newport University. At this event Chandra Moyer gave a presentation to CNU students on the harsh realities of child trafficking and what each person can do to help. Tanya Street, a survivor of human trafficking, also gave a speech about her own experiences and her and Chandra both answered questions about human trafficking from the students. This event gave college students a chance to learn more about this atrocity and allowed RMI to spread awareness. The event was a rousing success with many students attending and an avid question and answer section. Release Me International is excited to continue spreading awarenss on CNU’s campus and thanks the campus chapter of the International Justice Mission for assisting with the event. Intern, Nena Huss
On March 6th Chandra Moyer, Founder of RMI served as a panelist for the AcademyWomen Officer Women Leadership Symposium. As an Army veteran Chandra understands the dedication and sacrifice required to serve as a military officer. The opportunity to raise awareness on child trafficking among such a distinguished group of Military women was such an incredible honor. The event was held at the Women In Military Service Memorial for America (WIMSA) within Arlington National Cemetery. Click here to learn more about this dynamic organization.
On March 18th Release Me International had the pleasure of participating at the CNU Internships & Summer Jobs Fair. This fair, organized by the CNU Center for Career Planning, allowed students to meet many organizations and learn more about potential jobs and internships. RMI enjoyed meeting the students of CNU, promoting our upcoming events, and potentially talking to a few future interns! Release Me would like to say thank you to CNU for putting on such a well executed event and looks forward to keeping in touch with the students we met. By Nena Huss
The Norfolk FBI selected Chandra Moyer, Founder & Executive Director of RMI for the 2014 FBI Director's Community Leadership Award for her dedication to the furtherance of crime prevention and education at the local, state and national level. She will travel to Washington DC in April to receive the award from FBI Director James B. Comey. "My prayer is that the recognition of this award will provide more opportunities for RMI to educate community agences and youth about the dangers of human trafficking. My hope is this award will give credence to the work that we're doing in hopes others will join us in combatting child trafficking."
By Consuelo Gonzalez, Intern
The International Justice Mission (IJM) chapter at Christopher Newport University (CNU) hosted their second annual Stand For Freedom event. It was a HUGE success: gaining over 1,000 signatures for the Human Trafficking Prioritization Act! Chandra Moyer, Rosemary Trible & Charity Mack spoke on the issues of human trafficking, social justice and sexual assault. By joining forces we are able to inform students who may carry this awareness to other people today and in the future.
by Sarah Sleem CNU's The Captains Log
Human trafficking in U.S.Brothels in Newport News exist, be aware.In my freshman year of high school, I met a girl in gym class around the age of 17. She began to brag about her boyfriend, a 30-something year-old man. All that ran through by mind was “Why?” and “How did she manage to hide him from her family?” Well, I found out the answer to the second question: she didn’t. Her mom supposedly loved the older man, and he lived with them.
Chandra Moyer, Founder and Executive Director of Release Me International, answered my first question on Jan. 21 when she spoke to CNU students about human trafficking in America.The harsh truth is that pimps can be anyone, including parents. Thinking even more about high school, I realized that I met many girls with older boyfriends and a disturbing amount of them had parental approval.
Recently, I even found out that human trafficking is becoming so much of an issue at my former middle school that the NOVA Human Trafficking Initiative has to address the problem. I would like to say this was huge surprise, but after Moyer’s talk I realized her description of pimps and victims fit in perfectly with a lot of people from my high school.
Granted the given pimp description was also that of your stereotypical jerk: he feeds on the girl’s vulnerabilities, builds her trust and then uses her. We all know people crave attention and do stupid things to gain it, but I do not think we always realize how dangerous the need for attention can be.
Unfortunately, pimps target us because of our young age. Just last year, two students in the area were identified as human trafficking victims, and a couple of brothels in Newport News were busted, according to Moyer.
I am not saying you have to get involved and help stop human trafficking, but it cannot hurt for students to become more aware of their surroundings.
by Faith Caster, Intern
On January 21st in the Gaines Theatre, many CNU students were given the opportunity to listen to Chandra Moyer share about the real dangers of human trafficking. Around sixty CNU students attended and were trained on this issue. Release Me International partnered with CNU’s International Justice Mission club who sponsored the event. Outside of the Gaines Theatre doors there were two booths dedicated to both organizations. The students who came through the doors were able to get information via a flyer and from the interns of both organizations.
In her speech, Chandra Moyer shared some critical material about human trafficking and specifically the role of child sex trafficked victims. She exposed some myths about this business. For example, sugar daddies do not exist, women caught in this business are not rich, and their pimps keep a majority of the profits. Secondly, many people think this could never happen to them, that it only affects a certain type of person, but the truth is it cuts across all economic and social divides. Trafficked women range from the A star student in high school to a rich girl in middle school. Thirdly, a woman prostitute over eighteen is often thought to be a prostitute by choice, and not thought of as a victim. The truth is that many of the older prostitutes have been in this business since long before they were eighteen. The average age to become a sex worker in the U.S. is 13 and over 100,000 girls are being trafficked each year. These numbers and exposed myths demonstrate the necessity for public awareness.
Without public awareness, women selling their bodies for sex are often treated as criminals rather than victims. Chandra shared a story about an underage girl who is arrested five times as a sex worker and each time went back into the sex industry because law enforcement saw her as criminal and not a victim. Unfortunately, every time she is arrested rather than helped, it becomes that much easier for her to return to a life as a sex worker, basically because she has no other alternative. These underage girls are victims of vulnerability, and consequently escaping from the sex trade industry becomes very difficult. Their pimps use every means possible to control them, such as isolating the girls from family and friends, or pretending to be a loving older boyfriend, and they do this so they can eventually make an enormous amount of money off of them.
Chandra also addressed the legal side of the issue. In one example, she mentioned how proper legislation against human trafficking enabled a man to be caught and put behind bars for the time amount needed to justify the crime. The buyers of child sex workers and the pimps must be apprehended appropriately otherwise human trafficking will continue to grow and flourish. Suitable and just legislation that tackles the issue is very much needed.
Accountability is a vital asset to child human trafficking prevention, but before that, laws and policies need to be passed in fighting this issue, and before that, awareness needs to spread.
The amount of students who came out to hear Chandra speak is very encouraging. Sixty people can now walk away with a stronger awareness of an issue that is not only essential for the betterment of society but also for themselves. This issue is large in scope and hiding in plain sight. Therefore, proper educational awareness is critical in combating child sex trafficking and as a result Chandra’s service to the CNU community is greatly appreciated.
By Consuelo Gonzales, Intern
The global nonprofit organization, Fear 2 Freedom, held a benefit event for victims of sexual assault. RMI had the tremendous opportunity to take part of making some of the 375 kits for victims of sexual assault, child abuse, and domestic violence. We also had the opportunity to hear the personal experience of Lisette Johnson. Ms. Johnson keenly described her husband’s abuse and attempted murder. Ms. Johnson certainly made some listeners realize another aspect of abuse. Abuse can come from any corner, even in an intimate relationship. As Ms. Johnson was describing her experience, one may have fell into the same belief that they will try to avoid at all costs falling into any kind of abuse. However, one does not realize the real lesson to be learned from Ms. Johnson’s testimony. As in any kind of testimony or lesson, the goal is to bring awareness. One can never be fully prepared to be immune from an abusive relationship or condition. As Release Me proudly holds and aims, “Prevention through Education and Hope for Restoration” is the end goal.
By Abby Swauger, PR & Grant Writing Intern
On October 15th hundreds of students at Christopher Newport University (CNU) gathered to support survivors of sexual assault. From behind the anonymity of a backlit curtain, seven women and one man, all current students, shared their story of assault and their healing journey to date. Interspersed with poetry readings and musical performances, the “Shadow Event” did a wonderful job of exposing some of the myths and taboo associated with sexual assault. There was hardly a dry eye in the entire Gaines’ Theater.
The event was hosted by CNU’s Where Is The Line?, a campus chapter of Rosemary Trible’s nonprofit, Fear2Freedom. Fear2Freedom is a global non-profit dedicated to helping survivors of sexual abuse find hope and healing. Where Is The Line? partners with universities and hospitals to create awareness and understanding about date rape, sexual assault, and sex trafficking.
RMI’s founder, Chandra Moyer, was the plenary speaker of the evening. She shared her own journey of recovering from the trauma of childhood sexual abuse. As she shared her story, a theme emerged that continued for the rest of the evening. She shared the psychological factors behind abuse and the emotional consequences it can have, like depression and thoughts of suicide. Her story, like those of the eight students who shared, was one of restoration and hope. The role that friends, counselors, and other community resources played in the recovery of each of these individuals could not be overstated.
The link between sexual violence and trafficking is impossible to avoid. Like each of the people who shared at the “Shadow Event,” victims of trafficking experience similar emotional trauma and they too need compassionate responders. Educational workshops like those offered by RMI are geared towards empowering individuals to know how to respond to trafficking situations as well as equip law enforcement to respond sensitively. These trainings also put teachers, nurses, and professionals in contact with community resources that work with victim recovery.
By helping people understand how to respond, it is RMI’s dream that every victim will have an advocate in his or her community, and thus, will start the healing journey to becoming a survivor.