Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year from Nowhere2Hide

Happy belated New Year everyone!
After a two-week, real-life vacation (my first in a very long time), we're gearing up for the new year. Over the next couple of days, we'll be spending lots of time thinking through all the possibilities that the new year holds. We'll be back on Twitter (and possibly on Facebook) starting Monday.

Before I get too far into our hopes, dreams and plans for 2010, I have to stop for a moment and say thank you. I'm overwhelmed by the response and attention that Nowhere2Hide has received. Our blog has 18 followers, and we have over 900 followers on Twitter. I've talked with many of you, either via email, phone, or (if I'm lucky) face-to-face. Your support and willingness to partner in our efforts to end human trafficking and slavery have been more encouraging that I can explain. From, not just the bottom of my heart, but from my whole heart - thank you thank you thank you.

We have some exciting things happening with Nowhere2Hide. Those of you who read this blog regularly may recall that, in a post several months ago, I said we had no intention of forming a non-profit organization because we felt there were enough of them out there already. Well... after talking with some fellow Michiganders who are very involved in anti-trafficking and -slavery efforts here, we've decided that we are in fact going to start a non-profit. The paperwork has been filed and, barring any unforeseen issues, Nowhere2Hide will be an official non-profit in a matter of weeks.

We've already selected our officers and Board of Directors, and our first meeting is this coming Friday. This is a step I never thought we'd take. But we've discovered that there's a significant need to raise awareness about trafficking and slavery issues in Michigan, so that's what we're going to do.

In mid-December, I had a very encouraging meeting with a woman named Bridgette Carr. She's a law professor at the University of Michigan and runs a human trafficking clinic that provides pro bono legal aide for trafficking victims. She's also a member of the Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force. Nowhere2Hide will be partnering with the MHTTF to create a video aimed at raising awareness about trafficking issues in Michigan. We're very excited for this opportunity!

At some point, Nowere2Hide will start a fundraising campaign. The money will likely be used for print material, and to help create the video.

On Saturday, January 16th, I'm attending a luncheon hosted by the Michigan Darfur Coalition. It will be a great opportunity to meet some of the refugees who have settled here, and to connect with Coalition leaders.

This year, we will also be talking quite a bit about a woman named Katy. She's in the process of raising money so she can spend a year in Cambodia working with an organization that provides after care for women and girls who have been rescued from slavery. I'm hoping to talk with her soon, and will be writing a post about her story, and ways we can help her get to Cambodia.

In the summer of '09, the Child Protection Compact Act was introduced in the House. It's still stuck in committee, and in 2010 we'll be encouraging you to help move this bill forward.

We will be brainstorming ways to gain media attention regarding trafficking and slavery, and will be paying close attention to accuracy in the media. We will be working to turn the tide this year, encouraging those in the media to investigate trafficking and slavery issues.

And of course, I'll be in Washington D.C. in April for International Justice Mission's Global Prayer Gathering.

2010 promises to be an exciting year, not just for Nowhere2Hide, but for abolitionists around the world. Momentum is building, and 2010 could see us reach a significant tipping point in terms of awareness and public demand for change.

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