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New Seasons… March 20, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — julieannclark @ 2:14 pm
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Columbus has been an inspiration to me with the care, concern, and commitment that our community shows to those who have lived a life of human trafficking.  I have enjoyed building relationships with those in the anti-trafficking community, and sharing (loudly)  about the hopeful exit from local sex trafficking, particularly as survivors discover identity and self sufficiency, and are embraced by Columbus while on that journey!

It has been critical to the life of Doma and Freedom a la Cart to tell our survivor’s authentic, hopeful stories and to create raving fans of our work— an organization that Columbus has built and embraced!

It has been a privilege these last 5 years to be a full-time catalyst, illuminator, and adventurer, walking alongside the Columbus community as we have increasingly displayed our intolerance for slavery.   

I am thrilled to announce that I will be joining the Ologie team on Monday, participating in their focus to help companies, institutions, and organizations discover their authentic story and find their true voice. They aim to make every brand they  touch clear, compelling, and consistent so that over time they become better known, better understood, and truly unique. Local clients that you might know include:  Women’s Fund of Central Ohio, YWCA, Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, The Ohio State University, Capital University, City of Columbus, CCAD, CMA, and even the Columbus Airport!  Other clients include Perdue, University of Notre Dame, and The Food Network!   Most of you know how much I value our Columbus community, authenticity, and telling your story in a clear and compelling way.  This is going to be a great fit for this next season in my life, as the Doma team has been empowered to carry the torch of fighting human trafficking in Columbus.

As I transition to this role, I will be taking a step back from the decisions and the direction of Doma and Freedom.  But of course, I will still be involved in the community and championing efforts to alleviate poverty and fight Human Trafficking.  Freedom and Doma’s  leadership is committed to long-term sustainability through social enterprise.  John Rush, CEO of CleanTurn will serve as board chair.  Other committed Columbus communitarians and survivors serve alongside of him.

1) A simple way to fight human trafficking is to forward our gourmet box lunch and catering paragraph below to 3 people who might not know of our “Cause Cuisine”.

1)  consider a one-time or a monthly investment to boost the efforts of Freedom a la Cart-  Keturah is happy to share with you the area of greatest need for our survivors to thrive.

3)  volunteer:   Keturah is exerting extra efforts during this season; We would love to see Columbus to step up and sustain the good work by being in the trenches with us; she is happy to send you an intake form and share about our volunteer teams.  Volunteer@domaconnection.org

I’m looking forward to seeing how Columbus embraces and sustains the good work that has begun.

Other things to note:

Who to contact?  Keturah@domaconnection.org

My new email address is:  julieaclark@att.net

My new twitter is:   JulieClarkCbus

Instagram:  julieannclarkcolumbus

Blog remains the same:  julieannclark.com

Phone number currently:  614-648-3662

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We know it feels good to help people and the planet. Now you can, simply by enjoying delicious food!

Our catering company, Freedom a la Cart, is the ultimate find for the socially conscious consumer; it’s an opportunity to provide a top quality meal for your guests, all while displaying your support of our Columbus community and commitment to ending human trafficking.

We invite you to try our catering and gourmet lunches because of the cause, and we are sure you will come back because of our delicious, bright, bold, made-from-scratch, always fresh, often local and organic food.

OUR FOOD:  Gourmet Box lunches are $10.  Our taco bar, chili bar, hot sandwiches, and bright, tasty salads, are delicious alternatives in the same price range.  We are celebrated for our upscale food for catered dinners and cocktail parties, as well.  The delivery charge is waived for your first order with us.

TO ORDER:  Contact 614-343-3442 to order or visit freedomalacart.org to fill out a catering request.

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ABOUT US: Freedom a la Cart is a catering company started by a local nonprofit, Doma, with the core belief that women who have lived in slavery should be empowered to gain freedom by achieving economic independence.  Our business utilizes a fundamentally different approach to fighting human trafficking in our community—we employ local, adult survivors, teaching them the hard skills necessary to obtain and sustain employment, in an environment conducive to their success.

 Read our latest article in Cap Style here!

Check out a great review about the “feel” of what we create around community, care, and delicious food. 

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Introducing… Keturah!! (And our next ABO U CLASS!) June 5, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — julieannclark @ 11:57 pm
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I believe in a world where social justice isn’t the name of a college course or the title of a college degree but an ingrained aspect of our society. I believe in a world where human beings treat the world around them and each other with dignity and respect. I believe in a world where love is action – every minute of every day. The world that I believe in first begins with me. The choices that I, as an individual, make every day will inevitably lead to the recovery or ruin of our world.  Every day is an opportunity to fight against an injustice; to fight for my beliefs; to fight slavery, and to create a new alternative for a better world.

I am a dreamer, a brave adventurer, an activist, gardener, cook, abolitionist, and so much more. My name is Keturah Scott and I look forward to meeting you all at Doma’s next Abo U class on July 20th.

I was born and raised in Columbus and have just returned after a three year stint in NorCal with Not For Sale and a year traveling abroad. For the next few months, I will put all my passion and experience into creating an incredible Abolitionist Weekend that will teach, inspire, and mobilize the greater Columbus community into action.

Slavery does occur in Columbus, Ohio – in our community and on our streets. Yet there is an alternative way forward. We can fight slavery and the systems that perpetuate it. It will take a lot of time, energy, and action. It will take YOU – choosing to fight against it. We must remain hopeful, inspired, and courageous. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers.”

Join me in fighting slavery in Ohio. Become a bold abolitionist and inspire action in our community. Click here to register for Doma’s Abolitionist Weekend.

 

Captivity and Control: What does captivity look like for human trafficking victims? May 20, 2013

Filed under: CATCH COURT REFLECTIONS,Uncategorized — julieannclark @ 12:15 pm
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Let me first just say how brave you are to be reading about this.  It takes courage to learn about the ‘messy’ in our world.  Firsthand, I can tell you that it is freeing and empowering to have knowledge about this topic.  It arms you with information you need in order to keep our world and our children safe.  We are thrilled to announce that our next Abo U class this summer will be an entire day of learning about sexual exploitation, how to spot a predator, how to protect your family from such people, and how to teach a child at EVERY age about unsafe people without instilling fear.  Register for updates and announcements for class dates here.    Again—this is a difficult topic to digest.  But you and your family can live free from fear with just a little education.

So… on with post 2, in response to many questions after the Cleveland rescue:

Captivity and Control:   What does captivity look like for human trafficking victims?

Once they are in relationship with a recruiter or trafficker, the trafficker knows it is important to keep them under their control and to make them think she is not in captivity.  While they sometimes do this through physical chains and enslavement, they also use much mind control.

Psychological Manipulation!  (Love!)  Many truly believe their trafficker is a lover.  He/she buys her nice things and makes her feel special.  In one of the many manuals teaching people how to traffic others, a pimp remarked:  “She loved to shop so much that I could manipulate her with shopping”.   Trauma bonding and Stockholm Syndrome are at the heart of why some victims never leave—and why many return to abusers.  That same pimp also coaches traffickers to look for a weakness:

“ most… have low self esteem for a reason.  A pimp [trafficker] looks for that weakness, and if it isn’t on the surface, s/he brings it out of them.  It doesn’t matter what her weaknesses are, as long as they have them.  Then he uses those weaknesses to his advantage… It is the best trait you can find in someone you want to control.    If you can’t find one, you have to create one. … tear someone’s ego down to nothing before they will start looking to you for salvation….  Show them it’s your program that takes them from darkness to hope…   you are their hero—even if the weakness you rescue them from is actually one you created”.

Pimpology

Force!  One girl a few weeks ago said that her escort trafficker only used violence when she wasn’t submissive—so she avoided the violence by being compliant.   Other forceful ways to keep someone in captivity that we have seen in our town include cinder block cells, basements, and yes—ropes.   Traumatic Brain Injury is common in our ladies, as is PTSD from all of the violence.  I can’t stomach writing much more about this, but this article about one of the Cleveland girls illuminates the reality of abuse.

Drugs!  Addiction is a common way to enforce control and captivity.   Sometimes the young women have no addiction, and through coercion or as a way to numb the pain, they will partake in drugs provided to them by the trafficker.  Another pimp coaches the traffickers to find a highly addictive, expensive drug, so that she won’t escape.

Shame!  Shame is powerful.  Many women feel as though they have no worth outside of who this person has created them to be.   Shame is instilled early on in unsafe relationships, and at doma, we think it is critical to parent and to love others in a way that is free from shaming them.   If you’ve said to your children in frustration, ‘why in the world did you do that?’,  you might shame without recognizing it.  (We will be sharing more about parenting without shame at our one day Abo U.)  From day one with our ladies, the team of professionals AND our volunteers are taught how to love without judgment and to redirect feelings of shame toward self-compassion and ‘whole-heartedness’.

Harriet Tubman said she would have freed more slaves if only they knew they were slaves!  Many of our ladies don’t recognize themselves as victims until much time has passed away from their predator.

When asked how they felt at CATCH court last Thursday, our amazing survivors can identify with the girls who were rescued in Cleveland last week:

happy grateful, blessed, confident, grateful to be back, anxious, tired, determined, uncertain, feels good, clean and sober, inspired to be there today, grateful, blessed, cautious, capable, stressed, relaxed, excited, blessed, blessed, anxious, very grateful, determined, fearful, inspired, anticipating, excited, blessed, excited, tired, irritable, excited, anxious, faithful, mixed emotions, worried, , desperate, hopeful, free…

 

 

Predators and recruiters…the entry point May 7, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — julieannclark @ 1:10 pm
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I am sitting in anticipation of the press conference at 9:30, which I am unable to watch because I got rid of cable!   (I might sneak over to the neighbor’s house).  But what I am finding is that people’s commentary continue to show much confusion over the issue of Human Trafficking, abduction, runaways, captivity, education, and prevention.   So throughout the day, as more comes out, I’d like to share a little from my perspective, having worked with 220 women from Ohio who have been held in captivity.

One woman commented on Theresa Flores’s facebook page that it isn’t very clear whether these girls were abducted or were runaways.   I guess my first observation would be that it doesn’t matter.   The legal definition of Human Trafficking recognizes abduction and runaway as the same point of entry.   (force versus fraud versus coercion).   Many of the cases of Human Trafficking that I know of were not ‘abduction’, like the movie “Taken”.  Very few cases of Human Trafficking involve abduction.

They all involve a perpetrator.

Someone who deliberately preys on the weak or on someone they wish to harm.  Someone who has someone  in their sight– who they want to exploit.  Many of these predators are not so bold as to steal them away from a family who will go to national news with it.  Think about it– abductions like this hit news pretty much whenever they happen.   Seldom.  These predators have gotten really smart about how to trick people into a situation they don’t realize they are entering.

Recruitment– Many human traffickers have a whole network of people who are their recruiters.  These are the charming, cool and collected people who start the relationship with a victim.   Sometimes it is a woman who pretends to have a modeling agency, or an employment agency.  Sometimes it is a charming young man at a mall who is taught to get as many facebook friends and phone numbers as he can– only to be turned over to traffickers.  Yes- we have concrete reports of people doing this at the Polaris Mall, Tuttle Mall, and Easton.    In another instance in the United States, from the walls of prison, a young woman told me her Aunt gets pretty young girls jobs at a local restaurant– and in return, she’d get all kind of clothing and shoes from the owner.  Out of those girls, he was then finding the ones most vulnerable to being bought and sold.  Some of the women we work with tell us it was a family member who recruited and tricked them, a neighbor, and in one instance– a hair dresser.   Sometimes they were runaways.  And those who were runaways were most definitely running away from something!  And then, of course, some predators will deliberately try to find those who are cold, homeless, and strung out on drugs… because then they can nurse them back to life and create a dependency.  (This straight from the lips of a young woman a few weeks ago…who was helping her trafficker recruit younger girls to escort here in Columbus)…

Recruitment is real.  Predators are skilled.  And it traps girls into a vicious life cycle at an average age of 12-14 in the United States.   Out of the women we work with, we have seen every socio-economic status represented… every ethnicity is vulnerable– and every city in the United States is affected by Human Trafficking.

More posts later about the captivity part of Human Trafficking.  I’m trying to catch the press conference somewhere…

 

Lots of PINK! April 25, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — julieannclark @ 1:56 am
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When we first meet our amazing survivors, they are homeless.  In some cases, someone has quite literally told them whose house or which hotel they will sleep in every night, for as long as they can remember.  Others are so far into a downward spiral and addiction, that they stay awake for weeks at a time, only to crash every few weeks once their body starts shutting down.  Some have plastic trash bags with a few outfits and some personal belongings.  I’ve seen a few backpacks… and even a broken down laundry basket once.    

Most have horrific memories of ‘home’ and ‘homes’.  They entered into human trafficking at an average age of 13.  So you can imagine what it means to them when our team of volunteers takes them out to begin collecting things for their very first homes.  None of them initially have opinions about color preferences or decorating styles.  It’s so powerful for them to be able to EXPRESS themselves and use their voices for the very first time. 

Doma means home!  We redefine home for those whose homes were full of abuse, pain, neglect, and injustice.  We redefine home for those who don’t even have the first clue about what a home should look like—because their homes have only felt empty.

How do we do it? We spend anywhere from $200-$400 per apartment—and in “Trading Spaces” fashion, we take one day, and drive the survivors to thrift stores all over Columbus to pick out their own patterns and colors.   We help them do it with dignity and empowerment, so that they don’t feel as though they are just getting our leftovers.  We want them to develop their sense of self!  I used to make it a point to visit each apartment after every makeover.  And I’ve seen leopard prints emerge—and country patterns—and lots of PINK!

These amazing women delight in filling their apartments with pots and pans.  And in hanging up curtains, and in picking out pretty bedspreads.  One woman said that she loves the fresh laundry detergent smell of her bedspread as she pulls it up to snuggle in safe and sound at night—safe for the very first time in her life. 

Thank you for all you do for the ladies we love so much—so now please help us redefine home.  Over the last few years we have received some grant funding for apartment makeovers, but not yet for 2013. Doma has done amazing work with survivors to restore dignity with very little individual donations.   But now we really, really need your support.   I promise you, we would not be asking if we had the grant secured.  Please consider giving to our survivor services.  These next few weeks alone, we have 3 apartments that need made over– and one willing volunteer to coordinate. 

Donate here at domaconnection.org, donate now, survivor services, and leave a note in the donation that it is meant for apartment makeovers.  And yes, if you have pots and pans that aren’t broken down, and plates that look nice still—please drop them off at our offices– 40 West Long, YMCA- downtown.  

And yes, of course, we’ll take anything PINK that you might have.  It is so neat to see these amazing women exploring their inner child, and living life free and unclenched, and safe… 

 

Liberation January 30, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — julieannclark @ 6:58 pm
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Liberation: Doma International

Last Monday night was inspiring.  A doma colleague and survivor of human trafficking, Theresa Flores, hosted and organized the Liberator Awards to recognize the abolition heroes amongst us in Ohio. At the end of the night, Theresa asked me what my favorite moment was.  Was it the glitter that fell down from the ceiling, missing the award winners, but landing directly on Glenn McEntyre of Channel 10? Was it being in the room with the 15+ agencies who collaborate so well to rescue and restore survivors?   (Shout out to The Women’s Fund and Central Ohio YMCA for your continued support of us!!)  Was it the delicious Freedom a la Cart food?  (Shameless plug for catering and box lunch menu here!) 

Hmmm…  Nope.  It was when there was a moment of spontaneous eruption of applause and cheering:

At some point in the film about Theresa’s life, an amazing abolitionist in town (Bev Delashmutt) recalled when Theresa was testifying at the hearing for the new  Ohio anti-trafficking law, when a senator attempted to speed up her testimony.  

Theresa so poignantly said “Sir, I have prepared for this moment for a very long time and you will hear everything I have to say”.  

At that moment in the film, the entire Liberator Award audience celebrated.  

I think everyone realized that indeed, Theresa has found her voice.  Reflect on how empowering it is that a survivor, gave out awards to those who liberate– during January, National Slavery and Trafficking Prevention Month, and on MLK day, a day to celebrate the birth of a prominent civil rights leader who promoted nonviolent activism.  How inspiring that must be to those who are still seeking to use their voices. 

This is our hope for the survivors we work with here in Ohio.  At doma, we have intersected with 122 survivors of forced and coerced prostitution—or modern-slavery.  We know this intersection has extreme responsibility and vulnerability for all of us.  We form relationships with them; we enter into their new norm alongside of them.   We journey with them as they find their voices.  We empower them to use their voices, and support them along the way. It was amazing to see some of these strong survivors in attendance at these awards.  And for doma, it was beautiful to celebrate our partnership with SOAP exactly as we envisioned it to be– what beauty to have such a seamless partnership that actively fights slavery in our own nation.  And what an honor to work with our amazing survivors, equipping them to rediscover ‘self,’ providing a path to find their voices, and empowering them to liberate others enslaved. 

Psychological freedom, a firm sense of self-esteem, is the most powerful weapon against the long night of physical slavery- MLK

For Liberation, 

Julie A. Clark

CEO, doma and Freedom a la Cart

Attend our volunteer training on February 10th from 1:30-3:00 at the YMCA- 40 West Long.   Register with Vanessa@domaconnection.org

Visit freedomalacart.org and domaconnection.org to learn more. 

Short film about Theresa’s story can be found here.   

Follow us on twitter and facebook!  

 

Assigning homework after Connecticut…Ending on a high note… December 18, 2012

Filed under: Connecticut,Uncategorized — julieannclark @ 5:57 am
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The older I get, the less opinionated I become.   Many blogs are opinions or reflections or observations on important aspects of life.  And so, because of this, I have thought that maybe I don’t have much to offer the blogging world.

Until Connecticut.

I have to admit that I just now, for the first time, read a CNN article about what happened last week.  I just now took a look at Obama’s speech.  Why did I take so long to read the articles published about it?  Because I knew it would leave me with the familiar paralyzed, empty feeling, with no resolution.

I know now exactly what I can offer through the work of doma.  Some resolution.  Some redemption.  Some hope.  True stories of hope and healing as we see lives transformed every day.  Hope packaged with: Authenticity… A glimpse into the struggle…And a silver lining.  Not an answer to the complex questions raised last week, but checkpoints along the way as we strive to address realities and challenges within our humanity.

So in response to that feeling of ‘no resolution’,  I just now decided to open up to you all and be vulnerable about the very hard work we do at doma as we fight against human trafficking, or modern-day slavery.  Girls and women from the United States who were tricked or forced into prostitution from an average age of 13 in Ohio.

Working in Anti-Human Trafficking every day is hard work. Just this week, along with Connecticut, here are the things that crossed my desk from Columbus alone… one city:  A survivor in her 30’s died today; A survivor in her 20’s went missing 3 days ago;   Two teenaged girls were reported missing 7 days ago, last seen with a young man reported to be involved in a Columbus area with high trafficking (see picture below).

So what do I have to offer?

Authenticity.  I’m going to be super honest with everyone right now and ask you to look at our world dead in the eye and take on the evil.    This is our world, folks.  This is our nation.  These are our kids.  These are our teens.  These are our adults.  These are our families.  And it most definitely is up to us to do something about it.  Together.  To invest and not forget.  To align our calendars and pocketbooks to our inner priorities.  To shift and prioritize our innate values:

Peace and harmony.

A life well lived.

Bringing out the best in those around us.

Working our tails off to be able to say that we did everything we could to promote health and life– and to fight against injustice.

Consider investing in the learning curve so that you don’t feel paralyzed, overwhelmed, disheartened.  Glimpse into the struggle and turn toward the silver lining.
The homework I’m giving myself is to get a blog plan in place for the new year.  Yes, all because of Connecticut.

At doma, we try not to focus on the horror, because we all have hundreds of horrific images floating around in our heads from newspaper clippings and the realities of the pain in our world.  Believe me, I’ve sat through countless human trafficking and orphan care presentations that are gratuitous…without the hope.  Sure, they tug on emotional heart strings, and sometimes borderline manipulate people into donating or caring temporarily.  We won’t do that to you.  We want you to know just enough of the reality and the struggle to be motivated toward a true shift in values. 

Along the way, I’ll give you some homework assignments, offer up forums for discussion,  share doma’s authentic stories of hope… and look for some hopeful stories from you.  We want you to share in our joys, and invite you into our home.  I’ll share hard lessons learned along the way, funny stories about what happened today (we laugh a lot!), and maybe even throw in a few anecdotes from home life.  How does our core doma team balance having 15 collective kids, one newborn grandbaby, two pregnancies,  5 dogs, 4 cats, and an unidentified critter (…long story about my Christmas tree this year…)… ??
And I promise I’ll always end on a high note.  (Seinfeld reference, anyone?)  We need to hear more of the high notes. 

Your homework this week should take  5  1/2 to 8  1/2 minutes, in order of priority:

1) Take 2.5 minutes below to meet Vanessa, a doma teammate and survivor,  as she shares what the word freedom means to her;

2) Take one second to view the pictures of the two missing girls in Columbus; (and maybe take another second to offer up prayers and positive thoughts);

3) Take 3.5 minutes to view our indiegogo campaign here  and hear one way we fight trafficking at doma (since you have only 10  days left to get a free sandwich);

4)  Take one second to subscribe to my weekly or bi-weekly blog over to your right and subscribe to the monthly or quarterly doma newsletters here. (USA for Anti-Trafficking news and volunteer updates); and

5)  Leave a comment!

BONUS:  Watch a few clips from the above quoted Seinfeld reference– 30-seconds here or 3 minutes here.  

Peace and Harmony to all,

Julie

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