Hi! Catherine here! This has been a fantastic year for Stop Trafficking ME.
Our first year was all about joining anti trafficking community groups, volunteering weekly, facilitating a girls group at the local youth center (jail), speaking at various, business groups and an occasional workshop at a residence for sex trafficked adults. I was all over the place learning about the different aspects of trafficking. What was going on on the legal side, ie girls get a ticket/fine, maybe jail time too and it goes on their permanent record, johns pay a fine w nothing on their record. Where can sex trafficking women go for help? Who is doing what in Maine? It was a time of jumping in with both feet and learning!
The second year was epic as I my speaking engagements grew exponentially… nearly 3,000 people in person never mind tv, radio, newspapers etc. I worked with the great Ms. Harris at Deering High School
weekly for months working with the volunteer students to create a performance at the school for the community to educate them around sex trafficking and sexual assault. This 40 min program was followed by an expert panel for a community discussion.
Over 100 people came and the event was well covered by all the important local media. Business group talks were attracting easily 100 or more to about a dozen lunch meetings. Even the teenage groups in some of the high schools also brought me into speak to their health classes and to speak at their fundraisers.
There were definite reoccurring themes and questions that proved to me the highest priorities needed to be around a mass community education. How can I reach more people effectively? How could I fund the kind of PSA campaigns that is as proactive for our children as the humane society is for abused animals?
Speakers get paid a lot of money for keynote talks and public speaking is my gift. Many survivor leaders will not speak or give interviews without being paid. There is a reality to being “used…again”… I totally get that and respect them for it!~ I have chosen to not ask for a penny. If I get asked to speak, I go. Even if its far and I have to get a hotel…I go, for free.
In 2017 with the funds from selling my rental home, I hired a local coach for $5,000 for a “3 month intensive”. She gave me her personal templates that she uses as a speaker kit to send to organizations that hire speakers annually. She advised to have 3 talks to offer ie what is sex trafficking, child sexual assault prevention and one motivational-how to thrive after trauma. I intend to be a well paid keynote speaker to fund broader reaching education for prevention to my community. My hired coach and everyone she interviewed to critic me all have me the highest marks for speaking. Ok… so where would I speak, who is already speaking there, and what does it look like?
I attended the New Hampshire Faith & Justice Summit. They brought in a well known survivor leader from Michigan as keynote. The takeaway for me at this conference was learning more about A.C.E. from our own Bill Legere with Hope & Grace.
Next I attended the Massachusetts Child Advocacy Conference. That one was awesome! Again, their keynote speakers were from away, one from law enforcement in Michigan who was abused by his baseball coach. And a Olympic athlete in Judo who was also abused by her coach and demonstrated how to flip someone. The best speaker was the head of Polaris. I learned so much! The breakaway groups were great… one class referenced Dr. David Finkelhor who I was on a panel discussion with for the University of NH this spring. Great guy, hugely respected. I was star struck sitting beside him. No one has studied and understands offenders like he does. His research is published all over the world.
Next conference was the Thistle farms Conference, Nashville 300 people all working/collaborating together the way we should be. The keynote speakers were from all over the world.
Every conference I attended I got permission to FB live or record, and I shared everything I could on all my social media outlets.
My take away from this one was an example of what could be. What is possible if groups get over themselves, not compete with each other or let religion or political opinions separate us from the mission we all share… save children…heal victims… prevent more abuse…
I also attended a smaller day long work shop in Boston about men & boys that was profoundly informative, again I streamed that panel lecture live. Most people outside non profits, service providers or law enforcement ever get to attend these extremely informative educational conferences so I try to be the bridge between the latest most up to date information and our communities.
This was my third year speaking at our state military base. The first time I stood alone in front of 98 men in uniform and 2 females! I had two hours to present and they were awesome! Next, this spring we did a panel for the advocates that served their units both full time and national guard. This fall I spoke again to one unit in a circle table conversational style that I really enjoy doing.
MECASA funded me top attend and get certified through the “My Life My Choice” program that serves in communities as a 10 week program for girls at risk of being trafficked.
I serve as a cohost on a local cable access channel program called “Issues That Matter” with Robert Picone. I met Bob through our local writer, sweetheart of the fishing community and loved by all… Shelley Fleming Wigglesworth who was savy enough to do a four part story on me and sex trafficking in Maine. She knocked it out of the park. She also had me meet the Guys…Bob, Coffee Steve and Tall Steve at the station to do a show with me and Diane Madden who was representing Hope Rising a residence for Sex Trafficked survivors. They have 5 beds, of the only 12 beds for survivors for all of New England!!!
The guys have been kind enough to allow me to bring guests on the show to talk about I think… really matters! Bob and I have interviewed: Peter Dimarzio with Homeland Security victim assistance agent for New England. (two shows) Meg Hatch from our Maine Child Advocacy Centers. We also gave Meg all the books and Toys my friends and followers sent in for their newest location in York Maine.
Those interviewees made sense, but what about teaching children healthy sexuality? I thought Bob was going to beg out of this one, but he was a trooper! Jenifer Blatz-Wiessner AASECT Certified Sex Therapist, LCSW, ST came on the show to answer those uncomfortable questions grow ups have who care for children. What do I say to my little boy about his morning erection? How long (how old) can my child take a shower with me? Our first show with Jennifer was spent on young children then our second was more preadolescent to adolescent age.
I thought something for stress should be next on the agenda after those shows so I brought in two long time T.M. mediation teachers to teach us about their method and explain the Research that proves its far reaching effectiveness.
One hot topic right now is gender identity. They are the most vulnerable of our children. Who better to explain than our own Gia Drew from Equality Maine and Julianne Siefriedt who teaches gender studies at the University of Maine
2018 is going to have many more guests to educate, inspire and enlighten us on Issues That Matter!
This year I started something called “Soul Sundays On Sebago” We put up a tent in our yard and invited important speakers to come to this women only
event in hopes of creating a safe place for women to come and connect.
We also had award winning
photojournalist from Time magazine come to our home to take pictures of thriving sex trafficking survivors
Another highlight to 2017 was a substantial donation of $15,000 that enabled me to upgrade our website. We also evolved our legal name to add Stop Trafficking US to our Stop Trafficking ME. Our website is now www.StopTraffickingUS.org The feed back over the last few years has been consistent that people are using this site as a resource. Ive been told by many that their service providers specifically send them to our site as a resource for support, real tools from a fellow survivor and safe place to send loved ones who may not understand what sex trafficking really is.
And what sex trafficking is and isn’t is a HUGE issue!
Over and over and over… I meet people who really do not understand even what the definition of sex trafficking means. Are oblivious to the danger of offenders, misguidedly thinking the biggest danger is stranger danger!
I come back to, how can I be of the highest, best, most effective service to stop grown ups from having sex with children?
I believe with every cell in my body that mass, creative, multi level, consistent on going education is our top priority. I know that when people “get it” they will become opportunity blockers to prevent abuse from happening, they will see the need and take responsibility to do their own healing work, they will create systems of care for all those vulnerable who need our protection and resources.
There has never been any disease, issue, plague, cancer, anything…more devastating … or more easily cured than generational wake of devastation left from child sexual assault. 89% of all addicts, incarcerations, domestic violence… are people who were sexually abused as children. 94% of women in prison. Take a look at all societal dysfunction and you will find a massive common theme. 70% of all child pornography is made in the US. 90% of that was made in the Childs own home. 1 in 4 girls, 1 in 6 boys are sexually assaulted before they come of age. Right here… in your back town…by people the children know and trust.
Education is vital.
Im only one person. And my reach is increasing for example… this holiday season I put out a list of my own tips to keep kids safe from offenders on my Stop Trafficking US FB page and paid $30 for a boost to reach more people as I do out of my own pocket on things I think are really important. I posted this on December 20 at 7:09 its nine days later and that post was read by 7,455 people. 5,376 by organic reach and 2,083 paid reach. 254 clicked like or love. 30 people commented mostly thank you. And the best part, 126 people posted the tips to their page!
I had high hopes based on historic evidence that I would be able to get Tony Robbins attention if I attend Date With Destiny.
I had a detailed cost analysis and project plan in hand… a 12 month PSA campaign with 4 surveys quarterly to prove success.
Maine would be the BETA but would surely spread to every state to follow suit. Using our own hometown heroes to educate their own community… a game warden in the woods speaking about predators…Maple syrup guy taking about grooming of victims and knowing what to look for…
Date With Destiny was 6 day event. I raised my hand a lot. I never got called on. I didn’t get 1.4
million but I didn’t give up either. I just adjusted my sail!
In 2018 Im going to our Maine college of art, universities and media schools with a challenge… come up with PSAs that answer these questions with a Maine flare… winners receive $500 and their work will be shown on every media outlet I can get it on. Maine people CREATING the PSAs!
Sex trafficking has many layers, legal stuff, help for people still on the street, housing, health… so much! I have a narrow lane… prevention through education.
I speak. Like the Lorax, I speak. To groups, on panels, to media, on the cable show… I speak.
My goals for 2018 are:
* 25 PSAs in various medias that my community embraces
* 10 Issues that matter shows
* Finish my book A Survivors Guide to THRIVING or “Getting up to Zero” not sure of the title yet.
* John School to educate John to stop buying sex.
I understand Tony Robbins Business Mastery is where I would’ve gotten to support I wanted… There is one in January. $4,000. In Palm Beach. Id like to go fetch support and guidance.
Money to pay winners of PSA challenge.
An effective go fund me or kick start or whatever page to start raising funds for the PSAs to get as much air time as St Judes and the Humane Society! And 4 state wide surveys.
A project manager to help me keep all these balls rolling… get speaker kits out etc so I can be used to raise money for PSA air time/surveys too.
Video editor. I have HOURS of recordings from al the events that Ive attended that need to be edited to sound bites.
I do well on my FB but I hardly touch linkedIN and I have so many great resources there…I just dont have the time and expertise to utilize it.
With all the speakers and experts Ive met, we could have one hell of a cool summit for our community…not just non profits, service providers… a weekend summit where parents and regular people can come FOR FREE. Just sayin.
If you like what Im doing, my goals and passion please send me a lot of money. Im thinking the 1.4 plus every thing else… 2 million would be awesome. We could make a profoundly healing impact that would ripple out not only across our united states but further. Big Brother isn’t going to save our future by saving our children… WE MUST DO THIS OURSELVES. And we will, together. Look for the donate button on my website and give what you can.
Stop Trafficking US is a non-profit 501c3 established in 2015 by survivor Catherine Ann Wilson to raise awareness, educate and mobilize Maine people to stop the sexual abuse and exploitation of children. # EIN 474939009