Run for Freedom

July 19, 2017 


Fighting modern-day slavery around the world


Hello friends!

We hope the summer is going well for you.

Our work in India and Poland continues to grow. Our resource hubs in USA, Canada and UK are busy planning awareness events and launching fundraising events that will finance our rescue and rehabilitation work. The motivation and fuel for our work is the changed lives we see, and the possibility of bringing freedom to so many more. Thank you for being an integral part of this mission.

We are excited to announce our 6th Run for Freedom, Walk for Justice 5K and Super Hero Fun Run, which is our biggest fundraising event. This is a great opportunity for us to connect with friends and reach out to the community to help us raise funds for the operational expenses of our safe houses. Hundreds of you in the Dallas area come out each year and support us in this event.  Thank you!

If you are receiving this newsletter and not in the DFW area to attend our race, you can help support us by becoming a Sponsor, Donor, or Virtual Runner.  

For those of you in our area, we would love for you register yourself and your family. Please share this event on your social media platforms and come join us on race day with your friends and family.

Register by clicking on the links below for  Run for Freedom, Walk for Justice


Happy Graduation!

July 3, 2017 


Thank you donors. Your generosity helped these two brave survivors go back to school and graduate. One of them was back in school after 15 years and her story was featured in the newspapers in India at the recommendation of the government. This is a proud moment for us all at YouCanFreeUs


Take a minute to hear our girls speak up!!

This video was done by our brave beneficiaries at YouCanFreeUs Mumbai, India  for the candlelight vigil against modern slavery at the World Rotary Conference in Atlanta this month.


Dollar a Day Campaign

We made a major appeal through our last newsletter and our social media platforms. Several of you have responded and have become a monthly Freedom Partners by donating $1 a day or $31 a month. Thank you so much for your generosity and partnering with us.
We are now short of $4,500 in monthly support to meet our first goal.


This sweet picture is of the “little girls’ corner” at our project in Mumbai. These precious ones are now safe, but thousands of children are still sold or living with their mothers in red light districts around the world.

This week the U.S. State Department released the Trafficking in Persons Report 2017
Here is the link to know more about this global problem of our times.
https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/271339.pdf

I Am In A Hurry!

June 5, 2017 


   I AM IN A HURRY!  THANK YOU FOR TAKING TIME TO HEAR MY HEART – Sujo John

We started YouCanFreeUs in 2010 and with the support of many of you, we have grown and are presently operating safe houses in India and Poland, and have resource hubs in the USA, Canada and most recently in Norway. We have had the joy of bringing freedom to many whose life stories have been re-written.

I returned from our project in India two weeks ago and after seeing the darkness and evil so prevalent in the red light area, I am determined to do more. 

I AM IN A HURRY!  LET ME TELL YOU WHY….

 – 45.8 million are living in slavery and I must do something.

 – Women and children are being traded daily and I must do something.

 – I look at my three children flourishing in America, and I see the faces of children in the red   light areas of the world and I must do something.

 – Somewhere the cries of the oppressed are rising. Someone just got kidnapped, someone was lured and trafficked – I must do something.

 – This has become the evil of our times affecting 167 countries and I must do something.

 – Evil cannot win the day, I must do something.

 – Let me tell you about the pictures on the above.

In the first one,  I met these women just a few weeks ago in the brothels of Mumbai. As we handed them beauty supplies they covered their faces in shame. They do not need to live in shame but in freedom and I must do something.
The other is a child we rescued along with her mother. She clings to any males she sees.
Why?  There is a hole in her young heart because she has no father. There are millions of children waiting to just be held and loved. I must do something…


THE TRUTH IS, I CANNOT DO MUCH ALONE

YouCanFreeUs is blessed with amazing leadership in Clarissa Anderson and Kari Dingler who have been with me from the start, and we have more amazing people who are joining our leadership team soon.

Our staff, led by Sheethal in India and Daniela in Poland, are just phenomenal. They pour hours into rescue operations and caring for survivors often risking their lives. Rae at our Texas office helps pull it all together.

We have amazing volunteers in India, USA, Canada and the UK who sacrifice their time and resources. Our precious donors, many of you on this list, have given sacrificially.

Our dreams our big – for more safe houses to be opened around the world so more women and children can be set free.                            


THERE IS A PROBLEM

We can have all the passion and intent in the world, but the reality is we need financial resources to do more.

SO, HERE IS THE APPEAL

This summer we are looking for 200 friends to support YouCanFreeUs @ $31 a month.

We are asking you to pledge $1 a day to help us in this global fight against human trafficking. None of us on the leadership team are paid by YouCanFreeUs. We promise to direct your funds toward this fight.

If 200 of you will support us by becoming a Freedom Partner @31 a month, that will be $6,200 a month that can help in rehabilitating 15 survivors each month. It pays for everything, their medical expenses, life skills training, counseling, housing and food, clothes and supplies.

Thank you for taking time to read this message.

I am grateful for each of you!

Sujo John

 


In case you missed our announcement on social media, we had a rescue just a few days ago. A young mother with three little girls. Her rescue was four months in the making.


 

The Spring of a New Season

May 3, 2017 



Modern slavery must end on our watch…

We at YouCanFree.Us take pride in the people who make up this non-profit – staff members, donors like many of you, and volunteers from all over the world in their communities championing the cause of freedom. Today we want to highlight a blog written by a young lady from Chicago who is presently at our operations in India. She talks about the first few days of a young mother and child who took new steps toward freedom with us this past week. This young mother was born and raised in a brothel. It is the only life she has known.
To know more about our work and to be a donor please visit http://www.youcanfree.us


The Spring of a New Season

by Heather M.

Can the past be overcome? The depth of that question is something we often wrestle with when we consider the works of social justice and life re-building. The answer can be measured and charted by success stories or client statistics, but a chart can never communicate the hope that radiates through a survivor’s eyes. I once read a quote by Mother Teresa, (which I haven’t been able to find since, so forgive my loose rendition). It said something along the lines of: I can express more through my eyes than I ever could with an abundance of words. It’s in the eyes. Fear being replaced by acceptance, joy sneaking into places formerly closed off by depression, and friendship making a way through a tunnel of loneliness.

At the YouCanFree.Us safe home, I experienced other people’s emotions through their eyes. On the second day I arrived, the director was chatting with a young girl who had a two-year-old daughter. It was their first day as new residents of the home. Both were obviously overwhelmed by being in a new environment, but the young mom had her guard up. Her face communicated. Her eyes darted from person to person and she did not let her guard down when her peers or staff expressed welcome. She was polite, but her stress level was visible. I tried to sit near her just to make her feel included without intruding into her personal space. Her arms were covered with scars from old wounds, many of which seemed self-inflicted and even more did not. There was no question that pain had led her to this new home. Within hours, her daughter had lightened up. She was playing and enjoying the kids. You could sense the baby felt more comfortable as she went from clingy, to exploring and even giggling with her new aunties. If I could sum up what the mom’s facial expression said though, it would be, “I’m not trusting anyone, even if I have to be here, I am not letting my guard down.”

I have worked in a safe house, so I know that sometimes the fact that the environment is joyful can make new residents feel out of place. Sometimes, unfortunately, the very thing they need is what they are afraid of, and I have seen women run from the safest place they have experienced in a long time. It’s part of living a life in constant fear. Fight or flight, they call it. It’s a natural reaction to prolonged trauma that even good people are perceived as a threat and it would be naive to expect a new resident feel anything else. For that reason, I was a little concerned that this very young mom may be experiencing an adverse reaction to this opportunity for a new season. The other women laughed and showed one another photos from a recent camp adventure and everyone was enjoying themselves as dinner was being prepared by one of the women. It was an environment many long to experience, but she just seemed even more withdrawn.

I returned to the house the following Tuesday, just four days later. Her baby was having fun and Mom was open and smiling. When someone asked her to dance, she threw her arms up with a big gesture, “Nahi, nani, nahi,” smiling as she refused. I cannot say that the stress has been removed, but it has certainly dissipated.

Her demeanor change represented the openness possible for her to enter into the spring of a new season. It was the refreshing breeze of an acceptance in an often judgmental world. It was the freedom of being given options after being trapped by circumstances. And it was the warm gestures of kindness breaking through the tunnel of a painful past. This young mom’s adjustment into this new season is not complete, and neither is her daughter’s. A “The End” sign is far from being posted and marked in a statistical success chart. But the smile and the joy are experiences that can be sensed and should be celebrated. They are today’s victorious hope of a new future, finishing the winter and ushering in the spring of acceptance, choice, and kindness.


Upcoming May Events for YouCanFree.Us

May 6th – Hope Against Trafficking – Ladies High Tea – New Orleans, LA, USA

May 10th – YouCanFreeUs UK fundraising event – Oxford Blue, Windsor, UK

May 11th – Leadership talk to C level executives hosted by Egon Zehnder, London

May 14th – Talk at Saalem, Helsinki, Finland

May 15th – Leadership talk and YouCanFreeUs story at Sloane Club, London

If you are interested in more information about the London events, please email clarissa@youcanfree.us

New Rescue and So Much More…

 April 24, 2017


YCFUF-Logo-FINALBK-05

Advocacy, Rescue and Rehabilitation  – India, Poland, USA, Canada, UK

 



Meet Shreya! She just re-entered society…

One life story re-written…

Mumbai, India

Her uncle began drugging her and sexually abusing her as early as five years old, and threatened to kill her if she told anyone. At the age of 12, Shreya, fell in love with her boyfriend who promised her a better life, only to sell her to a brothel in Mumbai. Her rescue came during a police raid and she was placed in a government home for children. Shreya struggled for years to overcome the trauma she experienced as a child and young girl. She felt worthless and showed no interest in furthering her education or training. The government authorities had her join YouCanFreeUs India at the age of 19.

Through our life skills training, she learned how to read and write, received art therapy, attended English classes, and was taught jewelry making, Shreya was enrolled in 10th grade to continue her education, and after completing a beautician course, began working in a beauty salon while in our home. After locating her family, a home certification was completed by YouCanFree.Us, and Shreya’s grandmother was approved to be her legal guardian. In March, Shreya went back home to live with her grandmother and her two brothers who were overjoyed.

Shreya said the YouCanFree.Us family loved her when no one did. She is very thankful to YouCanFree.us for finding her lost brother and family as her dream is fulfilled and she can live with them and support herself as a beautician in her hometown.



New Rescue on April 14th in Poland!!

A little handbag with perfume, lipstick and … a good bunch of protectives, a phone with only two numbers in, and an empty wallet with document and picture of her child – that is all she had with her when we met her at the police station.

She escaped from what is called a side road prostitution. A miracle, as these women are usually too afraid to run away, or receive help when we offer it. (This was also a huge vote of confidence for the police to contact us to help.)

After our staff assisted her for the many tiring hours while she testified to the police for their investigation – she is finally at home with us, starting her new journey. Now we are slowly unpacking who she is and what she needs from us.

Our recent rescues, Magda and her son, Franek, continue to flourish as Magda is beginning life skills training. Despite health issues, Franek is making great progress developmentally and is now at the same level as other children his age.


We have special events coming up in London, UK and Helsinki, Finland

May 10th – YouCanFreeUs UK fundraising event – Oxford Blue, Windsor, UK

May 11th – Leadership talk to C level executives hosted by Egon Zehnder, London

May 14th – Talk at Saalem, Helsinki, Finland

May 15th – Leadership talk and YouCanFreeUs story at Sloane Club, London

If you are interested in being at the London events please email clarissa@youcanfree.us


4 New Girls & 2 New Babies

March 7, 2017


YCFUF-Logo-FINALBK-05

Advocacy, Rescue and Rehabilitation  – India, Poland, USA, Canada, UK


typorama 9


Hello friends of YouCanFree.Us,

Your generosity and support are driving great things in our operations around the world. We want to highlight a few of these things to keep you posted on our journey so far this year.
In Mumbai, India, we have had three young women and one child start their journey to freedom since the start of 2017. In Poland we recently had a 21-year-old women and a baby that joined our safe house.
We are often asked what it takes to get girls on the right side of freedom.  It takes a lot of determination, patience, building relationships with law enforcement, and going through a sometimes lengthy judicial process.  However, the biggest thing of all is the capacity to take RISKS. We are so blessed by our phenomenal staff at our operations who are willing to do all they can at tremendous personal cost to rescue a human being.
So, here is an appeal we would love for you to consider. Would you be a monthly donor at $31 a month or a $1 a day? We want to do more and grow our operations in 2017.  Your support will go a long way in helping us do that.
I am so grateful to many of you who already support YouCanFree.Us. You are key to our fight against modern-day slavery. We could have all the passion in the world to fight this evil, but the reality is it takes financial resources to get the job done.
You can start a partnership with us by supporting monthly through our website at www.youcanfree.us or by clicking on the donate link at the bottom of this post.
Thank you for your consideration.
Sujo John
Founder, YouCanFree.Us

Life skills training is critical to a survivor’s reentering society…

Our girls at YouCanFree.Us India have been busy making ladies jewelry, and pocket squares for men. These items will soon be made available for purchase. We are grateful to our friends, Ash, from Delhi, who is volunteering her time to get us started with this pocket square project, and Diana with our jewelry project.


Story of the young girl and baby rescued in Poland just two  weeks ago….

Magda came to us carrying a small bag of all of her earthly belongings, and all of her precious baby boy’s belongings. Magda carried much more emotional baggage with her than physical baggage.  Before her son, Franek, was born, Magda had nothing to live for.  She was trafficked by her much older boyfriend who beat her until the end of her pregnancy, and forced her into prostitution.  Before Franek, Magda wanted to end her life.  Now Franek is her lifeline, he is her purpose in life – to love him and provide a new life for him.  We at YouCanFree.Us are loving Magda and Franek and showing them there is a future ahead of them with hope, and the opportunity of a life of independence, free of abuse and slavery.
   (This is an actual picture of the baby and the mother now at our YouCanFree.Us Poland safe house,  real names were not used in our update for their safety)

UntitledYour contribution will make a difference in the life of a survivor of sex trafficking.

Are you ready for the holidays?

December 15, 2016


Merry Christmas, dear friends!

What a beautiful time of year as we celebrate the joy and wonder of Christmas. 
We at YouCanFreeUs look back at this year that went by so quickly, and can truly say your partnership with us helped make a difference in the fight against modern day slavery.
Lives were rescued and restored and many more are on the journey toward freedom in India and Poland.
 Displaying

In 2016, we had a fantastic launch of YouCanFreeUs UK with our Director, Clarissa Anderson, who relocated to the UK and is putting together an amazing team.


We have had great awareness and fundraising events across the United States and Canada including Run for Freedom, Walk for Justice.

Christmas in the red light disticts

We took the joy of Christmas just 10 days ago to hundreds of women and children in two red light districts of Mumbai, India.

This is why we do what we do. Seeing broken lives transformed – living and breathing in true freedom.


Year-end donation
Dear friend, would you and your family consider a year-end tax deductible donation? Your giving fuels everything we do.


Watch this video below that Sujo John took in the brothels of Mumbai recently. For those who have not seen our projects, this is the closest we can we take you. It is gripping and hard to watch.

Sujo in Red Light District

We look forward to your support in 2017.

From our girls, staff and leadership team in the USA, Canada, India, Poland and the UK,

Merry Christmas!