JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The nonprofit Rethreaded has unveiled a new safe space dedicated to helping survivors of human trafficking, which includes a store where the products they make can be purchased to support them.
The location is a 2 acre, 36,000 square-foot campus, which borders Springfield and the East Side at 515 East 9th Street.
“It’s here to make sure women have a chance to reclaim their lives,” said Kristin Keen, the Founder and CEO of Rethreaded. And it starts with a job, which Rethreaded can now offer up to 60 women, quadrupling the 15 jobs they could offer before. “[A woman] can permanently break the cycle of human trafficking for herself and her family.”
A donation from local philanthropist Delores Barr Weaver helped make this Campus of Hope possible, and it now carries her name.
Donors like Vystar Credit Union and Higher Pixel also made contributions, and you can also make contributions by shopping from its retail store. The store on campus is about as big as the old location used to be (at around 2,8000 feet) except this space is dedicated to selling items made by survivors, which you can also browse online here.
From Friday until Saturday, an anonymous donor will match every single purchase made up to $50,000. The store is open from Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. every Saturday through the holidays.
Since it first began in 2012, Rethreaded has employed 74 survivors, helped support more than 4,000 women globally, and collaborated with over 200 companies. It hopes to help employ 500 more women here in the next ten years.
“Our survivors have worked so hard to heal, so hard to make Rethreaded successful, so hard to learn their skills and that when they come here, they see how much their work mattered because this building will pave the way for 500 more women,” Keen said.
This campus is now coming to life, and growing into its full potential, just like the women who work on it.
“Magical,” Keen said to describe the experience of getting to this point. “I mean, we always talk about how the impossible being made possible but when you see it happen, it changes your life.”
What Is Human Trafficking?
Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery. This crime occurs when a trafficker uses force, fraud or coercion to control another person for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or soliciting labor or services against his/her will. Force, fraud, or coercion need not be present if the individual engaging in commercial sex is under 18 years of age, according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.
Between Dec. 2007 and Dec. 2019, 63,380 cases of human trafficking were reported to the NHT Hotline.
Florida has the third-highest number of human trafficking cases in the U.S.
If you believe you are a victim of Human Trafficking or suspect an adult is a victim of human trafficking, please visit the National Human Trafficking Hotline, or call them at 1-888-3737-888.
If you suspect a child is a victim, please call the Florida Abuse Hotline at 1-800-96-ABUSE.
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