We Have A Dream

By Autumn Burris
Autumn BurrisFounder/Director
Survivors for Solutions

We once had a dream and it was not to become a prostituted person.   We dreamed of becoming a writer, a doctor, a lawyer, a truck driver, an artist, a ballet dancer and so many more professions. Dreams that didn’t involve one form of sexual exploitation or another.

Over the past 17 years, listening to countless survivors of sexual exploitation of all ages, nationalities, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, I have discovered survivors of sexual exploitation are some of the most intelligent and dedicated people. Survivors have dreams, goals and hopes for their future. They didn’t get lost along the way, they are still there.

In the journey from Victim to Survivor to ultimately Thriver, initially sexually exploited individuals have a myriad of needs-physical, psychological, spiritual, and emotional. Most Survivors I have encountered have a strong desire to earn an education. Returning to school is one of the most powerful tools you can give a Survivor. The reason is very deep and nearly indescribable. Sexually exploited people have had so many things ripped away from them in their lives. Giving the gift of an education is an empowering restorative tool. I say to individuals all the time, “Education is priceless-it is something that is ALL yours no one can take it away from you-not a trafficker, not jail cell-no one-it’s all yours!”

As a survivor, I returned to school late in life to fulfill my dream and passion. My dream came to light when my boss dropped the Trafficking Victim Protection Act of 2000 on my desk and said, “Read this”. In the course of the struggle, the light bulb went off in my brain and within a year, I returned to school.   In 2011, I graduated from The University of California, San Diego with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science with an emphasis on public policy and a minor in Human Rights. In my work in the abolitionist movement, I am thrilled to say that I use my learning from my degree regularly and it empowers me to speak with confidence and pride. I survived and today, I thrive.

In the Survivor community, there are Authors, Attorneys, Doctors, Researchers, PhDs, Case Managers, Social Workers, Therapists, Public Speakers, and those that are attending school now. My hope is that many more Survivors will join us in realizing their dreams.

Autumn is a friend of the PLNU Center for Justice & Reconciliation and the Founder/Director of Survivors for Solutions. Survivors for Solutions was created to advocate for peer-led services and programs, survivor-informed policies at all levels of government, and provide best practices consultation to governments, non-profits and institutions. Survivors for Solutions offers over 15 years of experience in advocacy, administration and service delivery to disenfranchised populations including sexual exploitation and violence against women.

If you want to give to the Beauty for Ashes Scholarship Fund, your tax deductible donation can be given here: Beauty for Ashes Fund.

Meet the Team – Beauty for Ashes Fund

The Beauty for Ashes team is a dynamic group of students, professors, and community members, each with particular passions and skills, that have banded together in the common desire to seek justice and to seek God in and amongst the devastating reality of Human Trafficking in San Diego. As we journey to fund the Beauty for Ashes Fund, we hope that you come alongside us. In order to come alongside us, we thought you might like to know a little bit more about who we are and where we are coming from. So, in brief, enjoy getting to know our team!

Director: Dad/Pastor – Dr. Jamie Gates Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 6.04.35 PM

Jamie Gates is professor of cultural anthropology in the Department of Sociology and Social Work at PLNU and serves as the director of the University’s Center for Justice and Reconciliation. Jamie is an ordained minister in the Church of the Nazarene and task force member for the Church of the Nazarene’s Global Social Justice Initiative.

Having been raised in and studied apartheid South Africa, Jamie continues to work with justice and reconciliation as core theological and social concerns. Jamie co-leads a federally funded research project that is looking deeper into the ties between gangs and human trafficking in San Diego.He leads a monthly speaker series called Brewed Awakening, which brings justice-oriented speakers to campus.

Among his publications is the book Living Justice: Revolutionary Compassion in a Broken World (2007), which introduces Christian young adults to ways of being engaged with passion and wisdom for justice in the world. He has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and religion from Eastern Nazarene College, a Master of Divinity degree with emphases in religion, philosophy, and multiculturalism from Nazarene Theological Seminary, and a doctorate in cultural anthropology from the University of Florida.

Jamie is a father to his family, a minister to the Church, a professor to his students, an anthropologist researcher by trade, a mentor to friends, and an all out lover of Jesus Christ.

Human Trafficking Congregational Liaison: Graphic Designer – Michelle ShoemakerScreen Shot 2014-09-09 at 6.04.59 PM

Michelle graduated from PLNU in 1988, with a degree in graphic communications, and then went on to attend Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA which set the foundation for the launch of her Design and Marketing Studio, Vantage Point Design in 1991. She has specialized in direct mail advertising, design and marketing for large non-profit organizations, churches and universities across the U.S. and Latin America.

While spending 20+ years fundraising for large ministries, a deep desire to “be” in ministry took root. In 2012, she heard a San Diego Sheriff discuss the realities of human trafficking of local girls as young as 12 – 14 yrs old, just 3 miles away from her home, in San Diego’s Hotel Circle. This became a pivotal moment. After a lot of prayer and waiting for the right opportunity, she came in contact with Dr. Gates who offered her a position at the CJR to be a liaison between local and national churches and universities and PLNU on the subject of PLNU’s work on Human Trafficking.

Currently she sits on the Leadership Team of San Diego’s Churches Against Trafficking group (representing 60+ San Diego churches of different denominations), and also represents PLNU’s CJR at various community meetings, including the San Diego County Human Trafficking Advisory Council Meetings (which includes key members of Law Enforcement, the DA’s Office, Child Welfare, the Department of Education, Victims Services, University Researchers, and Community Organizations).

The relationships formed within these groups have deeply embedded PLNU as a solid player and advocate within the center of San Diego’s anti-Human Trafficking movement at large. Michelle also speaks on behalf of the CJR to churches and other groups interested in learning about Human Trafficking, and the role of faith communities in the movement to end it.

External Relations: Mom/Business Owner – Kim JonesScreen Shot 2014-09-09 at 6.05.44 PM

Kim Berry Jones, a 1990 Point Loma Nazarene University graduate is the owner of Canopy Marketing, a San Diego marketing and web development firm.

Kim volunteers with the PLNU Center for Justice & Reconciliation offering assistance with strategic planning, external relations and fundraising for the Beauty for Ashes Scholarship Fund. Kim also volunteers at Generate Hope, a safe house for survivors of human trafficking.

She is a member of the Human Trafficking Task Force of the Lawyers Club of San Diego, and participates in Journey Against Exploitation, a ministry of Journey Community Church in La Mesa, CA. Kim is a passionate and dedicated woman of God who is whole-heartedly seeking new ways to serve others, and the anti-trafficking movement has been one avenue of that out-pouring.

Intern: Daughter/Student- Mollie Ah SingScreen Shot 2014-09-09 at 6.06.15 PM

Mollie Ah Sing is a Senior International Studies major concentrating in Peace Studies at Point Loma Nazarene University. Mollie grew up in Hawaii and is a second generation Nazarene.  Mollie first researched human trafficking in the context of Independent Research in Kathmandu, Nepal.

After learning about trafficking abroad, Mollie returned to Point Loma and began working with Dr. Gates at the CJR with the Beauty for Ashes Team to learn what human trafficking looks like in San Diego. Now Mollie serves as the Lead Beauty for Ashes intern for the CJR as well as the Outreach Coordinator for the Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition, a dynamic Victim’s Service Provider in the anti-human trafficking sector in San Diego.

Mollie seeks to humbly serve others by creating spaces of unity and diversity in which justice can be reached.

Intern: Daughter/Student- Katherine FlemingScreen Shot 2014-09-09 at 6.06.45 PM

Katherine is a sophomore at PLNU. She is originally from Boise, Idaho where her family currently lives. The summer before her freshman year in high school, Katherine attended a conference where she learned about the international sex trade. She continued to be interested in the modern day abolition movement as she entered college and began working with Dr. Gates and the Beauty for Ashes team in 2013.

She spent the past summer working with churches and non-profits in Boise, connecting and educating as she did ministry with middle schoolers. Katherine now interns for Dr. Gates and partners with Mollie as the second Beauty for Ashes intern.

She is a social work major and after graduation, hopes to use her degree to do work with victims services in San Diego and abroad.

Intern: Daughter/Student- Clara Anne McGarryScreen Shot 2014-09-09 at 6.06.54 PM

Clara Anne is a Senior studying Social Work at PLNU. Clara Anne is from Arizona but a California surfer girl at heart. Clara Anne has served as a lead on the Beauty for Ashes team since the Fall of 2013 and is dedicated to seeking truth and being aware of harsher realities.

Clara Anne has interned for the Salvation Army: Door of Hope and worked to learn what the scope of trafficking is in San Diego.

Intern: Daughter/Student- Sabrina Van ZuidenScreen Shot 2014-09-09 at 6.07.12 PM

Sabrina Van Zuiden was a summer intern at the CJR. After discovering a passion for the fight against trafficking, she found a proactive space to participate through Beauty for Ashes.

Sabrina is currently a sociology student at UC Berkeley, and hopes to continue working in the anti-trafficking movement in the bay area.

If you want to give to the Beauty for Ashes Scholarship Fund, your tax deductible donation can be given here: Beauty for Ashes Fund.

Crowdfunding a Dream

By Kim Berry Jones, 1990 PLNU Graduate

My awareness of the issue of human trafficking began when I watched the documentary Half the Sky. The Half the Sky MovemeScreen Shot 2014-07-27 at 7.19.24 PMnt is about igniting change to end the oppression of women and girls around the world. I knew then that something had shifted in me, but what could I do about it? Soon after, in a conversation with a friend, I learned that women and girls are trafficked right in my neighborhood. San Diego is now nationally recognized by law enforcement as a hot spot for the commercial sexual exploitation of women and children. Right here in my back yard.

But what I also soon discovered was a movement. People from all over the world working to abolish human trafficking. And people working on this cause right here in my back yard.

It’s been my honor to be a part of the dreaming and planning around the Beauty for Ashes Scholarship Fund – a fund at Point Loma Nazarene University that will provide financial support for both survivors of human trafficking to complete their education at PLNU and for other PLNU students who are called into the vocation to join the fight against modern day slavery.

As we began to plan towards the launch of the Beauty for Ashes Scholarship Fund an idea emerged….what if we kicked off our efforts with a crowdfunding campaign? Crowdfunding is a widely popular method used to raise financial support online by raising small amounts of money from a large number of people. From tiny projects to major movie productions, crowdfunding campaigns bring together a unique community of people who share an interest — and are willing to donate their own money to support that interest.

“So why not?”, we thought. At the PLNU Center for Justice and Reconciliation we keep hearing from women who have been rescued and are in the process of healing that they dream of an EDUCATION. They know that education is a part of their move from victim to survivor to thriver. But funding a college education is daunting for most of us. For a survivor who is putting the pieScreen Shot 2014-07-27 at 7.20.11 PMces of a new life together, finding the resources to attend college can seem totally out of reach.

But we don’t believe it should be out of reach. As an alum of PLNU and a volunteer at the Center for Justice and Reconciliation (CJR) I am committed to helping launch the Beauty for Ashes Scholarship Fund. I’ve experienced the life-changing community at PLNU, and I know that the supportive environment of the University can be a place of hope, restoration and future for a survivor.

So, here we come! The team at the CJR is in the process of launching the Beauty for Ashes Crowdfunding Campaign. With the goal of raising the total cost of one year of education at PLNU for one survivor, we look forward to launching our campaign and we hope that YOU will want to get involved. In the upcoming weeks we will introduce the Beauty for Ashes Fund to the PLNU campus, the San Diego community and beyond. Successful crowdfunding campaigns take extensive planning and effort. This past month we have been selecting the best platform for our campaign and planning the steps to roll it out and meet our ambitious goal.

Behind every survivor of human trafficking is a story. A story of a woman or a man that for reasons we may not understand became the victim of violence and exploitation. But woven in with the tragedy is hope – hope for a future and for healing and restoration. And each one of us can be a part of this story. Won’t you join us?

Note: If you want to give to the Beauty for Ashes Scholarship Fund, your tax deductible donation can be given here: Beauty for Ashes Fund.

Kim Berry Jones

Kim Berry Jones, a 1990 Point Loma Nazarene University graduate is the owner of Canopy Marketing, a San Diego marketing and web development firm. Kim volunteers with the PLNU Center for Justice & Reconciliation offering assistance with strategic planning, external relations and fundraising for the Beauty for Ashes Scholarship Fund. Kim also volunteers at Generate Hope, a safe house for survivors of human trafficking. She is a member of the Human Trafficking Task Force of the Lawyers Club of San Diego, and participates in Journey Against Exploitation, a ministry of Journey Community Church in La Mesa, CA.


Announcing the PLNU Beauty for Ashes Scholarship Fund

By Dr. Jamie Gates, Director, PLNU Center for Justice & Reconciliation

We have been working at PLNU since 2005 to engage the issue of human trafficking locally, nationally and internationally. Our students, faculty and staff have hosted awareness events, prayer vigils, run workshops, seminars, concerts and fund raising efforts. We’ve volunteered at local and international social service agencies working with victims. Students have engaged in professional internships in law enforcement, the district attorney’s office, social service agencies, schools and the child welfare system. We’ve developed an awareness website that now hosts the human trafficking events calendar for the county of San Diego, www.abolishhumantrafficking.com. But when survivors of human trafficking started to ask us if they could attend PLNU as part of their recovery, and counselors at regional victims service agencies started telling us of this desire and need, it was time to act institutionally. In June 2014 the PLNU administration gave us permission to start the Beauty for Ashes Fund to help fund the education of survivors of human trafficking!Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 10.08.31 PM

Aside from a deep faith in Christ and a loving Christian congregation to surround them, there may be no more important long-term intervention for the rehabilitation of survivors of human trafficking than the loving, academically challenging and carefully mentored environment of a Christian university education. We are reminded by the prophet Isaiah that God heals even the deepest wounds, and “will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair” (Isaiah 61.3). PLNU’s Center for Justice and Reconciliation is deeply involved in the social movement against human trafficking both locally and nationally. The CJR provides leadership in research, community organizing and the development of non-profit organizations and congregations to respond. The Beauty for Ashes Fund reinforces PLNU’s primary mission, i.e. to provide higher education in a vital Christian community where minds are engaged and challenged, character is modeled and formed, and service becomes an expression of faith.

Interviews with local survivors, on-the-ground social service providers and key research literature point to the deep desire and need for an education that enables survivors to successfully move from surviving to thriving. At the same time, most survivors could not have been rescued or led on a path to recovery without many others who are vocationally called and well-trained to engage this dark world with the deep knowledge, passion and wisdom that PLNU provides.

The Beauty for Ashes Fund has been established to:
1) support the education of survivors of human trafficking,
2) launch many passionate young people into meaningful careers that tackle modern slavery with wisdom and mentorship, and
3) to strengthen the university’s infrastructure to support this level of mentoring.

Our work places PLNU as an educational leader in the global movement to end modern slavery. Through this fund PLNU will be seen as a place of higher learning that stands behind its mission statement, not just for the privileged youth of our culture, but also for the most vulnerable. We are a university for those who were once captives, as well as for those who want to set the captives free.

Note: If you want to give to the Beauty for Ashes Scholarship Fund, your tax deductible donation can be given here: Beauty for Ashes Fund.

Dr. Jamie Gates, cultural anthropologist and director of Point Loma Nazarene University’s Center for Justice and Reconciliation, co-leads the NIJ project “Measuring the Extent and Nature of Gang Involvement in Sex Trafficking in the San Diego/Tijuana Border Region”. He co-chairs the Research and Data Committee of the San Diego County Advisory Council on Human Trafficking and CSEC. He mentors campus organizers against human trafficking. An ordained minister, he also serves as faith-based organizer with the following national and local organizations: Faith Alliance Against Slavery and Trafficking, Churches Against Trafficking, Interfaith Center for Worker Justice and the Wesleyan-Holiness Consortium Freedom Network. Jamie is the lead consultant to Nazarene Compassionate Ministries, USA/Canada on human trafficking.

From Human Trafficking to Human Rights: Reframing Contemporary Slavery

Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick

Human trafficking and contemporary slavery are important issues that have gotten a whole lot of attention over the past decade. Largely as a result of activism in the United States, countries all over the world have been scrambling to bring their laws into line with US benchmarks. International aid agencies have added this issue to their portfolio. International donors are giving money to support these efforts. And, perhaps most the most exciting thing for a social movement scholar like myself, is to see the issue of contemporary slavery emerge as a full-blown social movement. It’s got all the moving parts—a clear and compelling message, major support, the public’s attention, and changing norms and policies all over the world. [Read more…]