Wellington-based organization supports victims of trafficking

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Annie Lindgren

North Forty News

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

Seventeen years ago, Lisa Christopherson learned that there was still slavery in the world, and it was bigger than it had been. This started her journey in investigating human trafficking and what she could do about it. During her travels through marginalized communities, she saw it firsthand in India, Spain, Tajikistan, Nepal. Many would have the opportunity to get out, but the lack of opportunities prevents them from staying out. So she started working to provide economic empowerment to people.

Lisa embarked on a journey to find organizations she could partner with to create resources no one was doing, find economic empowerment, and provide people with opportunities to learn new skills and do worthy work. Initially, she was doing this mostly overseas, but she realized we had a problem in Colorado. In Denver, particularly in homeless communities, she found people engaging in “survival sex” or sex for drugs. Young teens are tricked into sending photos of themselves through social media contacts, which are then used to threaten them. She learned that many runaways end up in sex trafficking situations and that victims are lured into them through various means.

Lisa began working with the Avery Center, running workshops so attendees could learn new skills like soap making, jewelry making, and spa products. This opened the doors to internships with other business markets like crafts and building products, learning manufacturing, learning warehousing, sales and marketing, the whole supply chain through these workshops. After graduating from the program, they are offered internships to connect with community organizations and businesses.

I am Beauty Renewed, or “bRE,” is a grassroots organization founded by Lisa Christopherson and Tami Nelson. It helps to stop the cycle of human trafficking by offering workshops where victims learn how to make products and goods which are then sold. Participants connect with others, learn new skills, and eventually earn a living to support themselves and their families. Money from products sold is funneled back into the program to help pay salaries and provide the opportunity to attend workshops.

All bRE products are made by or for the benefit of a trafficking survivor. They must help them earn a living in a stimulating work environment. Through iambeautyrenewed.com, one can buy handmade earrings, leather bags, upcycled denim jackets and freedom boxes, including spa products. Items can be purchased locally in Wellington at the Polished Spa (8136 S. 2nd Street). Lisa also has a mobile shop, which can also be found at the Farmer’s Market or booked for events.

Support the work through I am Beauty Renewed either by purchasing products or making a donation. All money is donated to support victims of human and sex trafficking.

Lisa, inside the mobile store. Photo courtesy of Lisa Christopherson

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