Five years ago, my husband Jay and I launched this website from an internet cafe in Costa Rica. The cafe, which doubled as a movie rental store, had opening hours as unreliable as its internet, but its proximity to a nearby bakery made the trip into town worth it every time. The initial version of Hopeforthesold.com cost us a few hundred dollars to build, and served as a platform to share what we were learning about sexual exploitation around the world.
I’ve since written posts and articles in some interesting settings. In Michoacán, Mexico, I’d have to hit “publish” before the daily 12:00 noon rainstorm knocked out the internet. In Paris, my regular writing spot, a well-known Western burger joint – the only place I could find reliable WIFI – also turned out to be the rendezvous location for couples having affairs on their way to work in the morning.
I’ve written from the sun-soaked beaches of Belize, the rainy valleys of Vancouver Island, and the desert heat of Nevada. My thoughts have tumbled out after interviewing trafficking victims, visiting red light districts, and meeting with government representatives. Writing locations have included airplanes, coffee shops, strangers’ homes, backyard sheds, office shares, and a cute little airstream we call home.
What started out as a simple blog that allowed me to process what I was learning about the horrors of human trafficking has turned into 384 articles that have been viewed almost half a million times by over 250,000 people in 214 countries and territories (including really cool ones like Norfolk Island, Tajikistan & Bhutan). Today, Hope for the Sold is a community of readers that, I am happy to say, are not only reading but acting.
Over the last few years, we’ve had the privilege of meeting many Hope for the Sold readers in person, and have loved hearing stories of how they’ve taken action to fight exploitation. Some barely knew anything about human trafficking a few years ago, but now have careers in the anti-trafficking field – whether it be aftercare, advocacy, fundraising, law, or community engagement. Others have learned to identify warning signs of trafficking, some have volunteered abroad, and a few have found the courage to tell their own stories of exploitation for the first time. It has been an honour to meet so many of you.
After two documentaries, a 100-city North American Red Light Green Light tour, and the opportunity to testify in Parliament, we’re just getting started! We have some exciting things happening this year.
Hopeforthesold.com is growing up and going to college! Is it weird to say I feel like proud parent? I invite you take a long and leisurely gander through the different sections. You can get started here.
While making Red Light Green Light, we shot dozens of interviews but had to squeeze as much as possible into a 75 minute film. It was a challenge to cut out so much good stuff from the documentary itself, but I have some good news – we’re releasing some of the extra footage as a series of short videos.
This series, called Hope University, can be used as a resource by service providers, police units, teachers, students, conference organizers, and anyone else who needs materials for training or awareness on human trafficking. We’re launching the first four videos this week, and will add more regularly. Oh, and it’s FREE. So go ahead and utilize this great resource for your next event, research project, or seminar.
We’ve met some incredible people over the last few years, and we want you to meet them too! We’ll soon be launching HOPEcast, an in-depth conversation about social justice issues, so you can listen and learn as you drive to work, go for a run (or do whatever it is you do while listening to podcasts). It’ll be my first time hosting a podcast, so I’m brushing up on my interview skills, doing loads of research, and getting ready to introduce you to some cool folks.
RLGL will be available for purchase on DVD and digital SOON! We’re finalizing the details and will let you know as soon as it’s ready.
We’re in the early stages of researching and fundraising for our next documentary. You’ll be hearing a lot more about this later, but what I’ll say for now is that it will address another angle of preventing sexual exploitation.
So go ahead and check out our new digs, and be sure to sign up for Hope Weekly to receive awesome articles, stories & updates every Tuesday. ***If you’ve been getting all our posts delivered to your inbox already, we’re phasing that out and switching to Hope Weekly instead, so be sure to sign up today!