Thistle Farms - USA
These products are made by a group of women in a residential program in Tennessee that provides housing, food, dental, medical, therapy, education and job training for women who have survived lives of violence, prostitution and addiction. When women come into this group, they are offered the resources needed to maintain recovery, heal from childhood wounds, and get physically healthy. Eventually these women find work, return to school or enter the job training program at Thistle Farms.
Through Thistle Farms, women gain much needed job skills, responsibility and cooperation. It is a supportive workplace where women acquire the skills they need to earn a living wage. Into every Thistle Farms product goes the belief that love is the most powerful force for change in the world. The programs the group offers are grounded in spiritual principles about living gracefully in the community with each other. Residents, graduates, staff and volunteers share daily tasks, offer hospitality, build on each other’s strengths, and provide compassionate, disciplined support. This group stands as a witness to the truth that in the end, love is more powerful than all the forces that drive women to the streets.
Cherished - USA
“I came to Hollywood to pursue a dream in the music industry, but within a few days I was practically forced in to prostitution to survive. I became a stripper, a drug addict...... for 10 years I lived a lie and didn’t see my family. Hollywood threw me a bone occasionally that kept me believing it would all work out in time. A semi famous film producer found me in the club and from there I was hired to dance in a few films and even got a few shots that aired on late night TV - but that didn’t stop the downward spiral I was in. It wasn’t until I was arrested and spent some time in Sybil Brand, a women’s correctional facility for car theft and drug possession, that I began to realize my life was out of control. Life inside Sybil was a nightmare; I’ll never forget as long as I live. Soon after I was released, I left Hollywood and came to the high desert to escape that environment. I prayed that God would help me get away from this lifestyle that I was afraid to leave. Those years are behind me now, but it was because I found the truth. I found out that I am Cherished and loved more than I could have known. I was just looking in all the wrong places! I love being able to reach out to the girls in the industry and support them in what they are going through because I remember what that
life was like.” -Kate
Kate’s entire life has been transformed because of the love she found in God - which now includes a life of peace and joy with her wonderful husband and children. She started Cherished, a faith-based outreach and support group in the high desert that reaches out to women and victims of commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking, empowering those who are ready with the message that they are loved, valued and cherished. Artisans who are in the support group are invited to make jewelry to help supplement their income and to pay for the professional, individual counseling offered through Cherished! Their redeemed necklace is created by women that have escaped a life of abuse and have now found hope again. They are learning that they are Cherished!
Meet Shana Goodwin a Survivor
Founder Chelsie Antos and TOH Executive Director Sherry Woodard had the chance to meet with Shana Goodwin (pictured center below) and hear her survival story first hand.
Shana was sold to a pimp by her mom at the age of 12 right in Tennessee. She was kept in a stable with other girls who were all branded by the pimp with tattoos marking them as his. She was trapped and never allowed to go anywhere on her own. She ended up addicted to drugs and was arrested over 160 times for being a prostitute. By the time she was in her 30s she had already lived two thirds of her life as a prostitute and sex slave. “When I was still on the streets, there was no waking up, just nights turning into days…” She survived years on the streets and was eventually able to escape the industry.
She began trying to heal from her traumatic life and sought out work, but no one would hire her because of her record. That’s when she found hope through a program in Tennessee that helps women rehabilitate, heal, and be employed regardless of their records or past. An opportunity was given to Shana to work as a sales representative for the lip balm and natural bath products other rehabilitated women in the program make. Trades of Hope is proud to be working with Shana and women like Shana from around the world selling their earrings, scarves, necklaces, bags and home decor to to help give these women sustainable work and a chance to live.
Shana is now working with a doctor to get all of the pimp's branded tattoos off of her. She is passionate about helping other girls like her get off the streets and out of this cycle of sex slavery.