Spring Forth (A Survivors Perspective)

Isaiah 43:19
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

Spring is here! Out with the old and in with the new. That's the attitude I have as I serve at Haven ATL. There is something special about being able to shed your former self to become a new creature in Christ Jesus. Watching God transform us day to day gives testament to his power and most importantly his grace. I can remember the very moment I decided to leave "The Life" and chose Gods direction for my life. I thought it would be hard, boy was I mistaken. Life was hard struggling from day to day... Having to always look over my shoulders and not having anyone to depend on but myself.  I wasn't living, I wasn't even surviving. I wanted OUT!  I wanted happiness, peace and love. I wanted to live and not die. It was like waking up in a grave yard with nothing but ruins around you. I called out to Jesus and he saved me.  Just like that, he gave me a clear path with purposeful directions. It did not cost me a thing because Jesus had already paid the price.  We can call it my spiritual spring time! Is there anything that you need to get rid of in this season? Spring Forth into a new direction. I did and I'm enjoying the sunshine!
- Keisha Head, Survivor Advocate

Create In Me

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10

When doing Gods work it is very important to pace yourself and make sure your heart is in the right condition. The psalmist in this scripture understood the beauty of this. There will come times where you grow weary, despaired and downright tired. But the work must be done. No matter the situation, God is in control. Continue to fight the fight!

Project Unbreakable

Did you know that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month? To help raise awareness about sexual assault and commercial sexual exploitation, Haven ATL participated in Project Unbreakable during the month of March. 

What is Project Unbreakable? It "is a photography project aiming to give a voice to survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse, featuring photographs of survivors holding posters with quotes from their abusers. Since its conception in October 2011 by then 19-year-old Grace Brown, Project Unbreakable has featured over four thousand photographs, both photos taken by Grace and submissions from all over the world" (Project Unbreakable). 

Check out some of our photos below and visit project-unbreakable.org to learn more! 




Graduation Celebration

This Thursday was a special day for HavenATL. Several volunteers joined our staff in celebrating women in our program and the progress each has made.  We had two women graduate from our program. This was an especially powerful and moving experience to celebrate the positive changes and growth of our ladies. We cannot thank our partners and volunteers enough for not only helping make the day a success but for also serving so passionately with us. It is within the context of community that the HavenATL ladies have blossomed and bloomed! 

Jennifer Keitt Power Breakfast 2015

HavenAtl had the wonderful opportunity to attend Jennifer Keitt’s Power Breakfast 2015.  The theme for the breakfast was “Unlocking Your Unlimited Potential.” The Power Breakfast was life changing for several of our women. For many, this was the first time they contemplated their purpose in life. Here are a couple of testimonies from some women who attended the event.

"I must admit it was amazing! It gave me strength and joy and made me feel very positive about my goals in life. I am 40 years old and totally confused about my whole life. At the conference, I met a woman who is now my accountability partner. She invited me to church and I got saved! I feel as though God put my accountability partner in my life for this reason! I have drastically changed ever since attending the Power Breakfast.  And I truly believe God is working through Jennifer Keitt, through others to me. I have been blessed and I feel blessed. I am a changed woman." -S.W.

"It inspired me to look at my potential and recognize my potential so that I may fulfill my purpose and be more effective in it. Also I recognized who I am. It inspired me to want to do more.  The empowerment breakfast gave me an idea to scrapbook the last three years of my life. So that I may see myself and my capabilities. " -P.W.

Jennifer Keitt, thank you so much for inviting the women of HavenAtl, you have truly made an impact on them!

Baby Showers Bring May Flowers

This week we hosted a baby shower to honor our three moms-to-be! The theme was "You are my Sunshine" and we were able to shower them with love and support. One of the ladies was brought to tears of gratitude. This is her fourth child and she has never had a baby shower. 


We could not have done this without the generosity and help from our amazing volunteers and supporters. We wanted to share some pictures from the day - it was a fun time to celebrate, play games and pray over each of them! We have monthly special events for our program, let us know if you want to be involved!

Everyone has a Story to Tell


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At Haven, we are always looking for new ways to empower the women in our program. We want them to have opportunities for practical resources like tutoring, resume writing, job readiness, and interviewing skills, but we care deeply about FULL restoration for each daughter: body, soul, and mind! That’s why we also offer counseling, support group, life skills classes, bible studies, gardening lessons, artistic outlets, exercise classes and other resources.

We are so thrilled to announce a new class we are offering our ladies! Starting March 12th we will hold a Creative Writing Workshop led by friend of Haven, Jillian Oates. Many of our women have shown an interest in communicating their experiences through writing. Some have already written poetry and themes expressing their struggles and passions. We agree with Maya Angelou who said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” Jillian has experience with writing and editing and is so honored with the opportunity to share her knowledge with our women who have the most amazing stories to tell. Even if they don’t pursue writing after this class, we want them to know that they have an endless capacity to bear their souls through the written word.

We will study and write in several genres of writing including fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction (memoirs, biographies, etc.). The class will continue for six weeks, and at the end we plan to hold a slam poetry-style event (except ours won’t be a competition!) to give the women the opportunity to share with the community what they’ve written. (Details on the occasion will be posted later, but we encourage you to attend, as this will be a moving event!) We also hope that, in time, we will be able to publish a compilation of the pieces created by the women.

We also plan to have published author, Susan Norris, make an appearance at and possibly lead one of the workshops. (If you haven’t read her book, Rescuing Hope, please check it out.  She will also be mentoring Jillian, who is pretty new at leading workshops!

We believe so strongly that the Lord has so many dreams and desires for each woman whom we have been blessed to come alongside. Through this new opportunity, we hope to see new passions develop and deeper healing rise!

The Bill is on the House

We are so excited about this new law in Georgia & we just had to post about it! 

State Attorney General Sam Olens estimates that more than 28,000 men knowingly or unknowingly have sex with prostituted girls each year in Georgia and that every month, 200 to 500 girls, mostly ages 12 to 14, are commercially exploited statewide.
Alarmed by the statistics, Olens joined forces with state Sen. Renee Unterman, R-Buford, to advocate for stronger human trafficking laws in Georgia, including House Bill 141, which imposes a fine of up to $5,000 for businesses that fail to inform victims of a 24-hour, toll-free hotline they can call for help.

This new law requires the following to post the notice that lists the hotline number in conspicuous places

Click to Download the PDF

Click to Download the PDF

 

  • bars 
  • hotels
  • hospitals
  • adult entertainment businesses
  • airports
  • bus stations
  • truck stops
  • job recruitment centers
  • interstate rest areas
  • massage parlors
  • tattoo studios

The new law was signed on May 6, 2013 in Georgia and the specified businesses were required to post these signs on September 15, 2013.

DID YOU KNOW that in 2001, IN GEORGIA the pimping of a child was punishable as a misdemeanor crime with a fine of only $50? 

Thankfully with partnering efforts with nonprofit advocates and law enforcement like Georgia’s Not Buying It, the laws are changing.

House Bill 141 follows two years of heightened human trafficking enforcement in Georgia.
In July 2011, Georgia substantially increased the punishment for human trafficking from a possible one-year sentence to a minimum of 10 years in prison.

If trafficking causes a minor to commit sex acts by coercion or deception, traffickers face 25 years to life in prison, up from a maximum sentence of 20 years. Offenders can also be fined up to $100,000.  The tougher penalties led Georgia to become one of seven states to earn a B grade in a national study conducted by Shared Hope International, a nonprofit that grades the effectiveness of the states’ human trafficking law annually. Georgia was previously scored as a C.

Click to see the entire report card.

Click to see the entire report card.

Shared Hope International stated in Georgia’s overall 2013 report that, “Georgia has a comprehensive human trafficking law and commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) laws that can be used to combat demand. However, traffickers are not required to register as sex offenders, creating vulnerability for at risk children”.  

There is hope on the horizon and these are victories to celebrate. While there is still work to be done, we're proud of the progress our state is making.

 

Hello World

Hello World! There’s a little something that you should know about us:

We LOVE to celebrate.

We LOVE to party.

And we especially LOVE new life!

So many of our women at HavenATL are pregnant or have just recently had babies! What better way to celebrate than to have a big ol’ baby shower?? 

We believe that every person should be celebrated! And oh how we love to exercise our beliefs ;)  Many children grow up in environments where their mothers are working in the sex industry and/or being trafficked into different trades. Although there is NOT a consistent type or profile of a trafficking victim, some form of vulnerability tends to be the common thread amongst all different trafficking victims. 

At Haven ATL, we have seen that a common theme for our women has been the generational cycles of abuse and extreme poverty, which lead to desperation and vulnerability.

Most children are between the ages of 12 & 14 when they enter the commercial sex industry in the U.S.

We are so proud that our women desire to be good mothers and that they desire make changes, which will affect their entire family line. This is worth celebrating! Haven ATL wants to support them in any and all ways. We need your help.

Baby supplies are expensive! And many young women struggle with being able to afford just the day to day basics, leaving them afraid and anxious that they won’t be able to provide for their babies.  So! We are collecting the baby supplies below for the holiday season:

 

diapers

strollers

car seats

blankets

toys

winter clothes

wipes

formula

Tay & Jeremiah

Tay & Jeremiah


We have found that it is super simple and easy to meet these needs through Wal-Mart or your favorite online store. We love this because anyone from all over the country and the world can participate in the restoration of Atlanta through changing a shipping address to:

Haven Atlanta
967 Dewey St. SW
Atlanta, Georgia 30310


“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” – Galatians 6:9

We are thankful for YOU. Talk to us! We would love to hear your thoughts and questions.

Much love, Haven ATL

Welcome to the Journey

And so we begin something new and charge ahead towards the goal.  At Haven ATL, we long to see the city of Atlanta free from Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSEC) and the damages it causes to communities, families, and individuals.

Atlanta Skyline

As defined under U.S. federal law, victims of human trafficking include children involved in the sex trade, adults age 18 or over who are coerced or deceived into commercial sex acts, and anyone forced into different forms of "labor or services."

Make no mistake - sex trafficking is modern day slavery.

This is one of the most overlooked, disregarded, and ignored issues of our time. According to FBI statistics, “ATLANTA ranks among the TOP 14 CITIES for CSEC”.  Whew. That’s a big one. Let that soak in.

Atlanta… the city that we love so much, our backyard…Atlanta! A place known for its thriving economic strides! The home of the Braves- the dwelling place of the fantastic World of Coca Cola and Georgia Aquarium- the residence of Centennial Olympic Park, the Fabulous Fox Theatre, Georgia Dome, Atlanta Zoo, Fern Bank,  Martin Luther King Jr.’s National Historic Site and so much more.

Many of us have personally experienced the inviting and energetic heartbeat of Atlanta. Yet, many only see the glamour that dazzles us on the surface. A veil has been drawn over our city so many do not see the reality.

THE REALITY IS: Atlanta, Georgia has been sick for a very long time. It has been beaten, used, abused, and has become a hub for the grooming, purchasing, and transference of human lives for international sex slavery.  

But we do not lose hope.  HavenATL is dedicated to serving women who have fallen victim to commercial sexual exploitation in the Metro Atlanta area through prevention, education, case management, and outreach.

Haven ATL

Join the Movement

So we can truly say that Atlanta is the land of the FREE and the home of the BRAVEWe look forward to partnering with you.
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With much love and adoration, HavenATL