Human Trafficking Speaker
Restore One educates students
BY HAILEE WHITFIELD ON DECEMBER 19, 2013
Justine Williams has spent around two years helping victims of human trafficking. Williams is the director of prevention for Restore One, an organization that helps victims of human trafficking. On Monday, Nov. 18 and Wednesday, Dec. 4 she came to Rose and shared with students how they can help to stop and prevent trafficking.
“My mission is to prevent sex trafficking and sexual exploitation of American youth and we have two programs that help with that,” Williams said. “We also have Project So Loved and Online Outreach.”
Project So Loved teaches youth preventative measures both through education and teaching of self-worth and value. Online Outreach is where Williams finds dark areas of social media where people are vulnerable. Williams wants to let victims know that there is an alternative and if they need help, there are resources.
“I was accepted to go to Thailand for a two month mission trip and I fundraised for eight months and I went,” Williams said. “I didn’t think it was going to change my life like it did but when I got back I realized I couldn’t ignore it[the problems of human trafficking].”
Williams met Chris and Anna Smith, the founders of Restore One, and they supported her on her trip to Thailand. The day she left for training camp, they were actually notified to begin the process to start Restore One.
“We were tweeting each other and I told her that I still wanted to be really involved with them because they were moving back to Greenville,” says Williams. “Anna helped me with my culture shock when I got back into the United States after being in Thailand and it was a huge friendship and mentorship after that.”
After reading the book “Little Princes,” English teacher Karen Medlin asked Williams to come speak to her students. The book is about how the author, Conor Grennan, visited Nepal and found kids that were being trafficked.
“I’ve had speakers come in to talk about human trafficking for the last few years,” Medlin said. “My students are donating money to the Anchor House that contributes to housing for boys that have been trafficked in the United States along with wearing pins that she [Williams] gave them to help spread awareness.”
Students from Medlin’s class are now taking action in trying to notice signs of trafficking. Students including sophomore Gia Perdue are trying to take action.
“It’s scary to think that this actually happens in the United States and it’s becoming such a big deal,” Perdue said. “I think it’s great that there are organizations that are helping this and now I am always on the lookout because we were taught tips on how to look for it[human trafficking] and what to do if we see it.”
A jar is located in Medlin’s room that students are trying to fill completely with donations before winter break. The money will be given to help build the Anchor House. There is not yet a place for boys to go after being rescued in the U.S. and now one is being built right in Pitt County.
Williams also came and spoke to National Honor Society. Williams was the first speaker of many community service speakers that are planned to come. She shared to students the things they can do to look out for it and to prevent human trafficking.
“I thought it was very informative and I would love to be more involved in an organization that raises awareness or even a fundraiser at school” senior Sarah Heard said. “I think now I will be more on guard not only for me but for others as well.”
Another way to donate money to Restore One is to purchase clothing items or bracelets from the organization by going to restoreonelife.org. All the proceeds are going to the organization so they can provide help for human trafficking victims.