On Wednesday, August 8, 2018, Selah Freedom launched its NYC Selah Way Foundation luncheon at Wells Fargo located at 150 East 42nd Street. Elizabeth Melendez Fisher, co-founder of Selah Freedom, delivered a heartwarming presentation that included stories and statistics of young children right here in our own backyard.
“It was very exciting to launch the The Selah Way Foundation in NYC to a standing room only crowd of industry leaders. I feel so blessed that we are able to roll out the collaboration with the most highly vetted and regarded organizations coming together to eradicate sex trafficking in America. We will continue to take the best practices and not only make a major impact in America but take the global training arm to save and advocate for children and become interrupters to the process of trafficking happening around the world,” stated Elizabeth Melendez Fisher.
Also speaking on behalf of the organization, was Andy Adler, sports director and anchor for PIX11 News and pre-game host for the Giants, Yankees and Jets. Andy drove the point home, “These young women never had a chance at life. They don’t see an out, Selah is an intervention, a chance to recalibrate and set life on a new path. These young women need an advocate, Selah is a voice for the voiceless.”
Other guests included Tony Richardson, NFL Hall of Fame and NY Jets Commentator, Laura B. Riso, NYC FBI Agent Victim Specialist, Arthur D. Ettinger, celebrity matrimonial attorney Greenspoon Marder and Daina Falk, owner of Hungry Fan and daughter of legendary sports agent David Falk. Guests enjoyed a delicious summer cuisine by Celebrity Chef Chris Nirschel and a performance by DeeMo, Singer - Songwriter - Actor (“Gotham” and NBC’s “Shades of Blue”) who sang HERO, his hit single with his band.
Read my interview with the incredible and inspiring Elizabeth Fisher below:
Me: “Sex Trafficking is an issue that we unfortunately don’t hear much about, it tends to get swept under the rug due to most people just not wanting to acknowledge it because it’s uncomfortable. How do we guide the public conversation about sex trafficking more into the spotlight?”
Elizabeth: “I think that ‘Me Too’ has done a great job of starting the conversation. Now people are talking about what is happening. I think that by creating these platforms to speak out about sexual abuse, it opens the conversation. No one even wanted to speak about trafficking but now that sexual abuse is getting a platform and people are making the connection, trafficking is making headlines.”
Me: “What is the process when you first take a survivor in?”
Elizabeth: “It’s chasing them for years and years to help them realize they’re worth it. We’re in the streets, we’re in the courts, we’re in the jails, we are everywhere that these girls are. We help them take the next step like maybe commit to group meetings once a week, let them see what our house reform is. It’s a lot of dictating them to come to us, then they come and suddenly they get a peer assessment plan, an education plan, a GED, a career path, college goals and everything they need for a new start.”
Me: “There are people who are aware that sex trafficking is a major issue but think ‘what am i supposed to do about it?’ What are some things anyone can do to help end sex trafficking?”
Elizabeth: “Share information and spread awareness. We have “Parties with a Purpose” which anyone can host, you invite friends and we give you a kit with awareness literature and survivor stories to inform the guests about sex trafficking as well as donation cards for fundraising. We just have to start talking about it.”
Me: “I noticed Selah Freedom has a huge presence in Florida and Chicago, do you plan on expanding your presence in New York City?”
Elizabeth: “Yes we are currently doing our outreach and awareness programs here. What you see in Florida and Chicago is housing hubs, we will not have housing here. Our main focus here is prevention. We transport girls from everywhere to our existing housing hubs.”
About Selah Freedom
Selah Freedom has become the nation’s leading service provider to young American girls sold into sex trafficking and has the highest level of outcomes and standards in Selah Freedom’s safe housing, jail and court diversion programs. These programs remove unjust felonies from girls that were sold against their will and charged. Their national prevention program helps to get ahead of it for boys and girls with their network of the BEST PROVIDERS in the nation. Selah Freedom gives survivors in their programs an opportunity to dream again; to discover who it is they were created to be.
About The Selah Way Foundation
The Selah Way Foundation is a global network of leading anti-sex trafficking service providers dedicated to eradicating this issue on a global scale. By locking arms with well vetted, expert organizations in this movement, The Selah Way Foundation creates a solid system of care for survivors of sex trafficking. By the end of 2018, The Selah Way Foundation will reach its goal of raising $15 million (and by 2020, $55 million) to fuel its three initiatives: Prevention, Protection and Provision. These three initiatives will exponentially expand every year to eradicate sex trafficking on a global scale.