North Forty News
January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.
Seventeen years ago, Lisa Christopherson learned there was slavery still in the world. That started her journey in investigating human trafficking and what she could do about it. In her travels through marginalized communities, she saw it first hand in India, Spain, Tajikistan, Nepal. So many would get the opportunity to get out, but the lack of opportunity keeps them from staying out. So she started working to provide economic empowerment to people.
Lisa went on a journey to find organizations she could partner with to create resources no one was doing, finding economic empowerment and providing opportunities for people to learn new skills and do dignified work. She was mostly doing this overseas initially, but she realized that we had an issue in Colorado. In Denver, especially in homeless communities, she found people engaging in ‘survival sex’ or sex for drugs. Young teens are groomed into sending pictures of themselves through social media contacts, which are then used to threaten them. She learned that many runaways end up in sex trafficking situations and that victims are lured into it through various means.
Lisa started working with the Avery Center, doing workshops so attendees could learn new skills like soap making, jewelry making, and spa products. This opened the doors for internships with other business markets like hands-on crafts and building products, learning manufacturing, learning warehousing, sales and marketing, entire supply chain through these workshops. Once they graduate from the program, they are offered internships to connect to community organizations and businesses.
I am Beauty Renewed, or ‘bRE,’ is a local organization founded by Lisa Christopherson and Tami Nelson. It helps stop the cycle of human trafficking by providing workshops where victims learn how to build products and goods that are then sold. Attendees connect with others, learn new skills, and ultimately earn a living to support themselves and their families. The money from the products sold goes back into the program to help pay salaries and provide opportunities to attend workshops.
All of the bRE products are made by or benefitting a trafficking survivor. They are to help them make a living wage in a nurturing work environment. Through iambeautyrenewed.com, one can purchase handmade earrings, leather bags, up-cycled jean jackets, and freedom boxes, including spa products. Items can be bought locally in Wellington at Polished Spa (8136 S. 2nd Street). Lisa also has a Mobile Boutique, which can also be found at the farmers market or booked for events.
Support the work through I am Beauty Renewed either by purchasing products or donating. All the money goes back to supporting victims of Human and Sex trafficking.
Originally Published in North Forty News, January 26, 2022