May 2023 Newsletter

I’ve used this scene while presenting at the Freedom Warriors Club, a group I founded to educate fellow students about Human Trafficking. I don’t want to scare them, but instead show them how real and how easily it can start. After volunteering at a family friend’s anti-human-trafficking fundraiser, I realized how unfamiliar and disregarded the topic is by most people. I felt inspired to do research of my own. The scenarios were heartbreaking—shocking, to say the least. According to the nonprofit Children’s Rights Foundation, 5.5 million children under the age of ten are trafficked every year on a global scale. Learning this made my stomach turn. While I was enjoying my princess parties, there were little girls just like me fighting for their lives. The Office of Juvenile Justice estimates that the bulk of female victims are in my eighteenth-to twenty age group. While I’m worrying about studying for an exam, there are teens just like me struggling to see tomorrow.

My name is Bella Babin and I am the president and founder of the Freedom Warriors Club at La Jolla High School in San Diego, California. I started this club in September of 2021 with the purpose to prevent, educate, and rescue and have now successfully amassed 53 inspired members. As a club we specialize in
the fight against the Commercial Exploitation of Children or CSEC in San Diego. We believe human trafficking is a widespread problem that most people, especially those of our age, don’t know much about, therefore we’ve achieved teenage knowledge on the subject. We have created a community of teens who are informed and inspired to advocate for change.

In our efforts toward prevention, my club and I have conducted meetings in which we cover topics on how to be safe on social media and the internet, strategies for protecting yourself and others, and developing knowledge on trafficking preparation. To educate we have hosted guest speakers such as our local law enforcement, Officer Noice, and spokespeople from The 3 Strands Global Foundation, a human trafficking prevention education program. These amazing individuals spread their insightful knowledge on the topic of Human trafficking in our community. Some points we covered were what to be aware of in public spaces, identifying warning signs from peers, the risk factors, why trafficking exists, and the forms it takes. In our efforts to rescue we have hosted fundraising events such as a bake sale, yard sale, and a pop up thrift store, to contribute to non-profit organizations like The Alabaster Jar Project, a group that provides a safe living environment and transitional housing to survivors, and Generate Hope, a safe place for survivors of sex trafficking to heal and find restoration.

I am so proud of each and every member of the Freedom Warriors and am in awe of our accomplishments everyday. Knowing I have spread awareness and education to so many teens and families brings me immense joy. Every penny we made and every donation we gave brought a smile to
someone in need and that has made everything worth it. I am so grateful for my peers who made the effort to be educated and aware no matter how uncomfortable the conversation became. I know the Freedom Warriors will take their knowledge elsewhere and create an even bigger impact. As warriors we fight for our safety and for the protection of our friends, family, and our community.” -Bella

February 2023 Newsletter

Human trafficking is a global issue that affects millions of people each year. In the United States alone, an estimated 25 million people are trafficked for forced labor or sexual exploitation. Arizona has become a hot spot for human trafficking due to its proximity tothe US-Mexico border and its large immigrant population. One of the current trends in human trafficking is the increased use of technology by traffickers to recruit and exploit victims. Social media platforms, dating apps, and other online forums are commonly used to lure victims into dangerous situations. Traffickers also use technology to monitor and control their victims, making it harder for them to escape.

Another trend is the targeting of vulnerable populations, such as runaway and homeless youth, foster care children and undocumented immigrants. These individuals are often in desperate situations and are more susceptible to being trafficked. Traffickers prey on their vulnerabilities and offer false promises of a better life, only to trap them in a cycle of abuse and exploitation.

Overall, human trafficking remains a significant issue in Arizona and across the United States. It is important for individuals and communities to be aware of the signs of human trafficking and to report any suspicions to law enforcement or anti-trafficking organizations. By working together, we can help end this heinous crime and provide support for survivors.

An organization that we support that provides the care needed for survivors is Rancho Milagro. Rancho Milagro is a non-profit organization that provides a sanctuary for survivors of human trafficking. Their mission is to provide a safe and healing environment for women and children who have been victimized by this heinous crime. The ranch offers a range of services to survivors, including trauma-informed counseling, life skills training, and educational programs. Rancho Milagro understands that each survivor’s journey to recovery is unique and strives to meet individual’s needs with care and compassion. They
offer a pathway to healing and empowerment, helping survivors move forward from their past and build a bright future. Every horse that Freedom Warriors sponsors provides equine therapy for five people. Our goal for 2023 is to have 20 horses working for Freedom Warriors.