How The Jonah Project Helps Human Trafficking Survivors to Find A Safe Place


This week’s blog transitions us to an agency that Believe in Me has partnered with in the past. The Jonah Project received support from Believe in Me this year with three separate grants. This blog focuses on their Freedom Railroad program, one of our Transitional Living Pillar grants. The Jonah Project is a local non-profit organization that helps survivors of human trafficking to find a safe place. They provide resources and support to help survivors rebuild their lives. The Jonah Project is committed to ending human trafficking and bringing hope to those affected. We are proud to support them and their work.

Exactly How Many Kids Are Affected By Human Trafficking in Our State?

Washington State has a long-standing problem with human trafficking, evidenced by the high number of boys and girls, as well as LGBTQ Youth is known to be trafficked within its borders. While girls and women make up 55% of human trafficking, the other 45% are boys and men. Breaking down these stats further shows that homeless LGBTQ youth are 7.4x more likely to experience acts of sexual violence than heterosexual individuals. These numbers are heartbreaking and overwhelming, so we must unite to combat this devastating issue without fear. Educating ourselves on the issue and doing what we can support those affected can help ensure safety and security for everyone.

In 2007, a study conducted by Washington State University determined that there are five main types of human trafficking ongoing in Spokane: gang and organized crime-related, prostitution industry, minors in the prostitution industry, mail order brides, labor exploitation, and “other.” You can read more statistics at Human Trafficking: Giving Second Chances To Those Who Need It.

Chances are there’s going to be nothing visible, nothing that you can see from across the room or even from up close, that should alert you that a stranger is being trafficked. That may come as a surprise – especially if you have been to a training where you have been taught the ‘signs’ or indicators of trafficking, such as a person looking disheveled, upset, or scared. But as we learn more about how trafficking works, we are also learning that the best way to help is to pay attention to people you know or interact with – your students, tenants, children, patients, and co-workers. It is all about two magic words: context and proximity.

It’s About Time For You to Dispel These Common Human Trafficking Myths

Human trafficking is a complex global issue. Unfortunately, there are numerous misconceptions about the true nature of this heinous crime. One of the most common myths is that sex trafficking only involves victims being forced into prostitution when in reality, sex trafficking can involve any exploitation of a person’s body for lucrative gain. It also perpetuates a false narrative that all victims of human trafficking are foreign nationals when in fact, domestic labor trafficking is a huge issue as well. Dismantling these erroneous beliefs by creating more educational platforms that accurately discuss human trafficking is essential to combat the issue effectively. Additionally, creating more awareness and understanding through education will help further bridge the gap between those who understand what human trafficking is and those who don’t.

Believe In Me Awards an $18,000 Grant to The Jonah Project’s Freedom Railroad Program

Believe in Me is proud to announce an $18,000 grant to the Jonah Project’s Freedom Railroad Program. This grant provides vital relocation assistance to those suffering from abuse, neglect, and exploitation – helping them get back on their feet and start over. It also provides essential support services such as shelter, financial assistance, and emotional guidance to survivors. The Freedom Railroad Program enables victims of slavery and modern-day servitude a clean slate of life – a new home, job opportunities, and a chance for a real future full of possibilities. We are confident that this $18,000 grant will make powerful strides in continuing the meaningful impact this program has had on those fighting to reclaim their life freedom!

How the Jonah Project is Helping Survivors Start a New Life

The Jonah Project is making a life-altering difference for survivors of human trafficking in our area. Through relocation services, this organization provides survivors with the means to purchase bus, train, or airfare tickets to move to a safe space. As of September 2020, The Jonah Project has served over 320 women and children everywhere from Michigan to North Carolina to rescue operations across international borders. Their important work is helping survivors escape their traffickers and embark on a new chapter in life. The Jonah Project’s mission is to provide survivors with comprehensive relocation assistance and ensure that each one achieves lasting freedom and independence from exploitation. 

Help Build Awareness and Educate About Human Trafficking in WA

In addition to supporting organizations like The Jonah Project, it’s essential to get educated about the issue of human trafficking and how you can help survivors. It’s estimated that millions of people are trafficked annually, and most do not get a chance for a full recovery. Here are some ways you can educate yourself:

  1. Continue educating and dispute these myths whenever you hear or read incorrect information. 
  2. Recognize the signs of a vulnerable population. 
  3. Take a training course.

Listen carefully to their individual stories, as those stories can become weapons in the hands of human traffickers – fantastical tales of romantic love everlasting and happily ever afters, or tall tales about decent jobs, good wages, waiting for vulnerable workers, just over the horizon. Sometimes, the stories themselves raise red flags. Let’s say, for example, a teacher learns her student plans to run away with a man who promises to make her a model. Other times, traffickers or potential traffickers tip their hands through recruitment.

Let’s join forces and strive toward a world where all humans are treated with respect and dignity.

You Can Help Survivors By Donating Or Volunteering At Believe in Me

In conclusion, Believe in Me is proud to support the work of The Jonah Project: providing physical safety for trafficking survivors and offering resources to help them start a new life. It’s difficult to comprehend, but human trafficking continues to be an all too common problem in WA and throughout the nation. We learned that myths could fuel prejudices against victims of human trafficking and make it hard for them to find their way out of exploitation. 

Thankfully, with the generosity of our donors, Believe in Me was able to provide The Jonah Project with funds to support their Freedom Railroad Program. Together, we can contribute our support by donating money or volunteering our time. It’s up to all of us to spread awareness about this present problem, dispel myths about human trafficking, and help assure these survivors get away from constant threats and into a safe environment. Let us all use these facts as a reminder that it’s within our power to do anything to oppose antiquated systems of exploitation once and for all. 

So donate today, volunteer your time next week, or share your support through hashtags or social media posts and become active in this fight against human trafficking! Together, we can make a real difference. 

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