- Jon Nappa, Executive Director Storm Warriors International
We know it’s a worldwide crisis, but Human Sex Trafficking is also on the rise in every state across America. Young boys and girls and young men and women are right now being held, abused and violated against their will and it’s not going to stop unless we each do whatever we can to intervene. But if you’re like many other Americans today, you may not even realize that this is a real problem in your community. Let’s do what we can to fix that right now. You can become aware, informed and empowered to help survivors escape.
In this SPECIAL FALL ISSUE of The STORM REPORT from Storm Warriors International, we profile an organization that is doing something about it and we include some ways for you to get involved.
Just Love Worldwide is a vibrant, not-for-profit organization working hard to end human sex trafficking. Their programs and support services along with their vision for going forward is something you’ll benefit from knowing all about. Just Love Worldwide might even be an organization you want to help support or to become directly involved with. Or, you may be someone in actual need of the support they provide to men, women, youth and children. You may be looking to escape from being trafficked. Do read on, watch the select videos, click through to the organization, and contact Just Love Worldwide directly. We’re all Storm Warriors here. Helping one is helping all.
For the rest of you, Just Love Worldwide also offers many things you can learn from and possibly apply in efforts of doing something impactful in your own community to counter this horrific practice. So, climb in the boat fellow storm warrior, and let the rescue and recovery begin.
Meet The Founder of Just Love, Nancy Gallinaro
Nancy Gallinaro, seen right, is the Executive Director of Just Love Worldwide, with her associate, Meredith Philbrook on the left.
Nancy Gallinaro is the Executive Director of Just Love Worldwide. She first learned about sex trafficking of minor girls in South Florida in 2010 and began volunteering in a safe house there for minor girls. Nancy worked closely with young victims from 14 to 17 years old. When asked how a person with no experience or education in trauma or child care could work with kids that have suffered so much, Nancy simply replies, “I just love them”. Hence, the inspiration for the name of the organization that was soon to follow.
In 2014, Nancy moved back to her home state of Maine and began to find ways to take on the sex trafficking issue in Portland. She recognized the cultural signal flares revealing the crisis was very much at hand, so she did something about it. She founded Just Love Worldwide in September 2017. After spending 3 years building relationships with survivors, law enforcement, nonprofits, and the church, the time was right for Just Love Worldwide to become a reality.
The first Engage Together Class began in September 2017 and ran for 8 weeks. The class was designed to research the gaps in services in Portland and greater Portland. What they found was disturbing. The gaps were enormous. The goal quickly changed from simply assisting other organizations to finding ways to serve the vulnerable, the victim and the survivor. The support for Just Love Worldwide grew quickly and it became obvious to start the process of becoming a 501c3 not-for-profit dedicated to serving this need. On September 15th, 2018, Just Love Worldwide became a charitable organization and can now receive tax deductible donations.
Here’s a quick glance at the interview Storm Warriors recently conducted with the Founder, Nancy Gallinaro:
SWI: What exactly is the modern crisis impacting our local communities?
Nancy: It is hard for anyone to imagine in this day, in this country, that humans are slaves. It is almost impossible to believe it could happen in Maine! Men, women, boys and girls are being bought and sold for sex. The necessary laws haven’t all been put in place and many of the ones that are in place are weak. As a result, the criminally inclined are brave and empowered, preying on the weak, the lonely and the poor. In some cases, the victims are simply the unsuspecting, whether poor or vulnerable or not.
SWI: What is Just Love Worldwide doing about it?
Nancy: The most powerful tool we can put in every child’s toolbox is education about human trafficking. This includes: what grooming looks like; what a trafficker uses to control; and how to escape. We are working with as many contacts as we can to provide sufficient training in the middle and high schools across our state. We plan events and training to spread awareness to adults and we are developing plans for citywide training for Identification with EMTs, hospital staff, hotels, cab and Uber drivers. We work closely with women in recovery and safe homes to provide (via Just Love gift bags) basic needs such as toiletries, new clothes, and other needed items. We additionally provide friendship and community, and broad assistance to help them get on their feet and find that new normal. We also work with local politicians to improve laws that will better protect children and provide needed services.
SWI: What are some of the upcoming initiatives of JLW?
Nancy: We are quickly outgrowing our ability to manage the work as volunteers and are anxious to be able to start to staff the organization and dedicate full time attention to getting the work done. We found out first hand that there is no emergency shelter for women who are arrested or freed from traffickers. That’s a real crisis that has to be addressed. Right now, jail remains the safest but least appealing shelter for those who want to escape, and that needs to change. We plan to open an emergency shelter (for stays up to 90 days) as soon as it becomes financially feasible to do so. We need to provide a warm, clean, safe place for assessment and placement into a subsequent long-term recovery home. When possible, we will help the survivor to get back to her actual home, if it turns out that she was relocated during her trafficked experience. We are painfully aware that the number of available long-term shelters is extremely limited. Just Love is already underway developing strategies to open a brand new one (for stays up to 12 or 18months) in a safe farming environment.
SWI: How can people get involved and help make a difference?
Nancy: For those who are interested in organizing training workshops or seminars in their school, church or community to learn how to identify and help stop this horrific trade, they should contact us directly and we’ll help make that happen. They can reach us by email at Justlove@eastpoint.church or by phone at 207-749-6858. Donations are welcome and needed and can be made by check written to Just Love Worldwide. They can be mailed to 57 Wilson Drive, Westbrook, ME 04092 or dropped off at Eastpoint Church, which is located at 345 Clarks Pond Parkway, South Portland, Maine 04106. Attention should be made to: M. Philbrook.
Meet a Survivor
SWI: Anything more you want to add about this opportunity to be Storm Warriors who help survivors in their own community?
Nancy: Those who are moved by this atrocity want to work with survivors right away and help them. Its natural, but expert training is needed to fully understand the many layers of trauma and special needs involved in recovery. Fund raising is always welcome and financial help is needed; however the awareness that happens when an event is held is the real gift. As people learn, they talk and the more people know the more hostile the environment becomes to traffickers. It is important for concerned individuals to not take matters into their own hands, for their safety and the safety of the victim. To report suspected Human Trafficking, call 888-373-7888. The hot line will connect to the local facilitators and law enforcement in whatever state you’re calling from. For those in Maine, contact us for ways to get involved in your local community.
SWI, JLW AND THE MOVIE THEATER CAMPAIGN
During the course of our Phase 1 involvement with Just Love Worldwide, we uncovered many ways to help them with their start-up needs, including helping them develop their website (which will be unveiled prior to December of this year), their initial media content (workshops, PSA’s and special movie theater trailer) and some solid support in defining and refining their vision, mission and purpose strategies, plans and communications. It’s been moving, inspiring, and life-changing for many. The brave survivors who have shared their stories while continuing their journeys of escape and renewal have deeply touched SWI.
In light of this critical need and this critical time, and in support of JLW’s commitment to doing what they do, SWI has produced an additional animated trailer that will appear in movie theaters in several cities in Maine for the entire month of December.
We believe the campaign is well worth the effort to generate much needed awareness. You can help us appear in as many theaters as possible by donating to this campaign. 100% of your donation will be applied to the continual showing of this trailer for as long as the donations can cover the expense.
~ TIME SENSITIVE ~
Whatever is donated for this campaign will be matched up to $10,000. Here’s a great way to be a part of demolishing human sex trafficking in our American cities.