Director's Corner: Save a Girl
September 2, 2015
Note: Each month "Director's Corner" will feature a guest writer from another local ministry or organization that assists our struggling neighbors. In this edition, we will hear from Call to Freedom, one of the ministry tenants in the Sioux Falls Ministry Center. This summer Call to Freedom sent a team to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally to help raise awareness of human trafficking.
By Kimberly LaPlante
Director, Call to Freedom
For years, Call to Freedom has been sending leaders to the west side of the state to promote awareness about human trafficking at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. The small town of Sturgis hosts a rally that swells the population of our state every year (even more this year).
Although, this event is a great time for many, there is a dark side to it as well. The human influx causes fear and the reality of an increase in human trafficking surrounding the event. Our goal is to outreach on the streets, in the campgrounds and in venues observing, listening and gathering anecdotal information that brings the dark side of the rally to light.
This year we had a team of 13 involved in launching our ‘Save a girl’’ campaign. We designed buttons, postcards and small informational business cards to hand out as we walked the streets. Our intention through this campaign was to reach men with the slogan ‘Save a girl; Ride a motorcycle’ and the women with ‘Save a girl; Define a dream.’
Consistent with the mission of our organization, we provided support for trafficking survivors and partnered with frontline victim service providers such as CISS Shelter in Sturgis (who are amazing btw). We also felt led to outreach to the men promoting awareness that buying a prostitute could mean buying a victim and empowering men to have a voice against this issue as well. We also connected with Free International and Klasskids and 37 of the 117 missing girls in the Missing Kids Books (kids missing that were thought to be in Sturgis have been recovered)! Our team encounters 3 of the missing girls, as well.
Call to Freedom is so passionate about being part of the larger story of those working with women and children at risk, as well as the issue of Human Trafficking. It takes a state, a nation(s) and us all working together to bring light and justice into this issue and change the fact that women, children and even men are being trafficked in our communities and needs others to join their cry for justice.
As a part of this immersion we also spent some time at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The team had the privilege of observing a making of relatives ceremony called Hunkapi. Daniel LaPlante, director of Tapestry’s Rise Up Red Nations, was led to adopt a white man who was broken for the mistreatment inflicted on the Native Americans by his ancestors. The ceremony symbolizes change and renders past troubles forgotten. It indicates that the person being adopted into the native community is reborn and has taken on a new relationship with new responsibilities. It is one of the most honoring ceremonies in the Lakota culture and was amazing to witness. One of the women on our team (an African American woman) was so moved by the ceremony that she has decided to deal with her own history of trauma and context as far as her home (Los Angeles) and advocate for others who have experienced pain the racism and injustice.