By Nishima Chudasama, Director of Programs for Nest Foundation
“People sometimes consider the beauty industry to be a shallow one, but those within the industry know that it’s just the opposite”
– Ann Frey, Marketing Director, Circ-Cell Skincare
While making the film, PLAYGROUND: THE CHILD SEX TRADE IN AMERICA, we came to learn about the devastating impact of sex trafficking in the United States. Every interview yielded a heartbreaking story of boys and girls let down by systems that should have protected them. Every interview made the fight to combat sex trafficking more personal.
The stories the Nest Foundation heard from survivors were supplemented by cold hard facts provided by our partners – experts leading the fight against the exploitation of children. Facts like:
“Children trafficked here from foreign countries are entitled to resources from the U.N., State Department and other groups such as legal representation, education and relocation assistance, that are not even close to available for American kids.”
– Dr. Sharon Cooper, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
300,000 children in America are at risk of exploitation each year.
Atlanta is the number one destination for American men seeking sex with a child. We also learned that progress to address this disturbing, growing trend remains disjointed and near-sighted. Instead of protecting children caught in the sex trade, we are jailing them. Without a comprehensive plan and the foundation of public awareness, hundreds of children continue to be victimized every single day.
In an effort build this awareness of child trafficking and create sustained change at an institutional level, the Nest Foundation launched a campaign called 13. While thirteen is the average age a child is forced into the sex trade, it is also the age at which everything is possible. Campaign 13 has an ongoing commitment to galvanize every resource to protect that possibility and to create spaces in which survivors can thrive.
What does the Nest Foundation do?
Create an Inclusive Platform for Public Awareness
NEST organizes PLAYGROUND screenings in key cities to educate teenagers, parents, teachers, law enforcement and the larger community about the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) and factors that contribute to its prevalence.
Our Ambassador Program provides guidance and goals for on-the-ground ambassadors to organize and host educational events and screenings of the film in their communities throughout the year.
Build Capacity and Prevent Victimization
Nest supports PLAYGROUND screenings with workshops for teenagers, parents and teachers. We specially designed a curriculum and version of PLAYGROUND to empower students and teachers to address sex trafficking risks in their own schools and communities. The curriculum will pilot in British Columbia, Oregon and Washington in 2014.
Protect Child Survivors
Nest’s victim assistance fund enables us to relocate victims of sex trafficking to safe houses or shelters with specific resources for children who have been sexually exploited.
Where are we going?
13 has worked with our partners to target the following key cities across the country. These cities represent major hubs of child trafficking in states that have yet to pass significant laws to protect victims and prosecute perpetrators. We are constantly working to maximize our impact and this list may change as legislative priorities arise.
• Los Angeles, CA
• Columbus, OH
• Miami, FL
• Houston, TX
• Vancouver, BC
• Oklahoma City, OK
• St. Paul, MN
• Charlotte, NC
• Toronto, ON
• Baltimore, MD
• Phoenix, AZ
• Denver, CO
• Philadelphia, PA
The Nest Foundation’s long-term vision is to establish on-the-ground partners in each of these cities who can become recipients of proceeds from local events and sustain the infrastructure we establish.
What does Skincare have to do with Fighting Sex Trafficking in the United States?
It has a lot to do with it when one skincare company decides to help bring awareness to this issue. We were approached by Circ-Cell Skincare founder, Maya Crothers about joining forces to help raise awareness and funds in conjunction with a new product launch.
$5 of each Extraordinary Facial Oil (below) Sold goes to The Nest Foundation
From the beginning, everyone at Circ-Cell has wanted to find a way to give back. The women-owned and run company finally hit a size that made it possible to think philanthropically and the entire team wasted no time deciding on a cause and tracking us down. The company is launching three facial oils, each named after an important woman in the founder’s life – her mother, her mother-in-law and her daughter. For each unit of Extraordinary Facial Oil sold, the company will give $5 to The Nest Foundation.
When asked how a beauty company decided to get involved fighting the exploitation of children, Director of Marketing and Operations, Ann Frey stated:
“People sometimes consider the beauty industry to be a shallow one, but those within the industry know that it’s just the opposite- as female entrepreneurs, we are inspired by women every day. On the surface we empower women by promoting beautiful skin, but at the heart of our company is an ethos to create impactful products that are more than skin deep. We knew our customers would feel great about the chance to give hope to the most vulnerable and marginalized children in the US. Our passion for skin care and Nest’s passion for these children are going to make for a powerful partnership, and we love that our customers will be a part of that, because they are behind everything that we do.”