Valentina Ferreira, 19, raised $10,000 through her Love Moves Not For Sale Yard Sales last April and in April 2012. The money went toward preventing human trafficking, the modern-day enslavement of human beings for labor or sex. Specifically her fundraisers focused on Hope for Freedom Safe House, which provides shelter and rehabilitation to women rescued from human trafficking. Ferreira, a Wellington High School graduate, will attend Palm Beach Atlantic University this fall.
Question: How did you come to learn about human trafficking?
Answer: Love 146 (a nonprofit organization that fights child trafficking and exploitation) came to my church, Christ Fellowship. As they spoke there was a counter going up on a screen that showed people being trafficked. By the end it was up in the hundreds, and it was only a 50-minute sermon.
Q: Tell me about Love Moves, the group you formed.
A: My church started an organization, Hope for Freedom, to create awareness for trafficking and were helping start a safe house. You can’t walk past a brother or sister and only hope the best for them. You have to take your shirt off your back and give it to them. You have to love them. It was a burden on my heart that people were being forgotten. I decided for my club to have the idea that people are not for sale. I asked Wellington to donate a spot at the Green Market. For five weeks I passed out fliers and gave out information. A lot of people were telling me, “That’s not true.”
Q: How did you respond to them?
A: I had the facts there. Because you’re younger they don’t believe you. One woman though said, “You don’t have to tell me, my daughter was trafficked.” There’s trafficking in South Florida.
Q: Can you tell me about that?
A: It’s mostly labor trafficking: people in fields or doing your nails. The maids in hotel rooms are part of companies and are being trafficked for work and for sex.
Q: You’ve started an internship with Hope for Freedom Safe House. What you do?
A: I can’t go in-depth because it’s such a sensitive subject. But I get to see how the organization works. It’s not just about the safe house. They have classes for you to take to see how to spot human trafficking.
Q: Do the rescued trafficking subjects stay in the house indefinitely or are they moved somewhere else? Is the safe house in Palm Beach County?
A: I can’t go in-depth on the safe house.
Q: How can someone find out more about Hope for Freedom, or about human trafficking in South Florida?
A: Check gochristfellowship.com/hopeforfreedom. Or my page