Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.
— Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Our Mission

The FREE Network is a 501c3 non-profit focused on confronting and combating all forms of human trafficking while empowering victims to survive and thrive in their communities. Under current laws human trafficking includes forced labor, domestic servitude, commercial sex operations, child sex trafficking, and trafficking of human organs.

The FREE Network provides a comprehensive continuum of anti-human trafficking services in support of prevention, education, and rehabilitation to a wide range of victims, at risk individuals and the community as a whole. The end goal of The FREE Network is to utilize community partnerships, public engagement and legislative support to eliminate human trafficking in Western Florida and beyond. 

 

OUR SOLUTION + CORE VALUES

Serving as a resource to rescue and empower victims to thrive, and driving prevention though community education and awareness, The FREE Network engages in the following primary actions on a daily basis:

Legislative ACTION

Advocating for and sponsoring anti-human trafficking legislation as well as promoting strict enforcement of all trafficking legislation is an essential piece of The FREE Network. Strengthening our legal system to implement consequences for violators and perpetrators while keeping victims and survivors safe, empowers our community and continues to set the foundation for a slavery-free future.

Victim Services

Victims are at the core of why The FREE Network exists. Our volunteers and specialized Network partners are committed to safely rescuing victims from and providing a them a safe environment to transition into a productive society. This includes support from partner organizations that offer immediate victim services such as shelters and safe-houses, assistance in developing a plan of action and providing personal care items necessary for the transition from victim to survivor. 

Survivor / Thriver Empowerment

Rehabilitation is a critical step for a survivor to successfully integrate into society. Survivors and thrivers are an integral part of our organization and have a strong voice in how our organization carries out its mission. They are embedded in all facets of The FREE Network from the volunteer level to serving as board members and leaders of partner organizations. The FREE Network is truly a victim/survivor-focused organization and provides an understanding and compassion to our victims that many people cannot comprehend. Love and hope are our cornerstones for guidance, strength and support. 

Community Awareness

Through community awareness, The FREE Network empowers its members and citizens through knowledge. Educating our community is crucial in knowing and understanding the signs of human trafficking and how to report it. Harnessing the power of the media and our Network partnerships, we engage the community by hosting events, training sessions and implementing other awareness tactics regularly.

Resource Development

Keenly focused on leveraging resources at all levels whether human or financial, The FREE Network establishes relationships within the community to properly allocate resources throughout its member base. We are also dedicated to harnessing the wide range of talents that make up our humble volunteers.

Prevention

Prevention is essential in protecting our community from becoming future targets and victims of slavery. The FREE Network is committed to providing ongoing education opportunities for both youth and adults. We believe in empowering people of all ages to become voices against modern day slavery. 

Community Action Groups

These grassroots-based geographic teams are direct representations of what The FREE Network stands for: our mission and our core strategic objectives. With action groups currently located throughout Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, The FREE Network serves as a informant between them to ensure all groups are aligned with current and upcoming activities and information. In addition, The FREE Network assists in the expansion of these groups across all of Western Florida.

Abolish Movement Kick-Off Rally, January 2014   Photographer: Jose J. Lopez

Abolish Movement Kick-Off Rally, January 2014   Photographer: Jose J. Lopez

HISTORY

In 2009, June Wallace had the vision to establish the Community Campaign Against Human Trafficking-Tampa Bay, as the advocacy arm of the Clearwater/Tampa Bay Area Task Force On Human Trafficking.  

Since then, we have led the effort to permanently protect hundreds of human trafficking victims. We have been at the forefront of nearly every major human trafficking arrest in West Florida.

Although numerous agencies and organizations were actively working to help victims of human trafficking in the Tampa Bay area, the impact of these groups’ efforts were somewhat diffused due to the lack of one key component: a unified message and identity to communicate to the public. Understanding this need for collaboration, over 100 service providers and local organizations chose to unite in 2012 as the Community Campaign Against Human Trafficking – West Florida, Inc. (CCAHT), making them one of the largest human trafficking organizations in the state.

In July, 2013 the Community Campaign Against Human Trafficking in partnership with The Junior League of Tampa, was awarded a fully integrated marketing campaign by Ad 2 Tampa Bay. With the creative and marketing efforts of Ad 2 Tampa Bay and an overwhelming amount of support from the community, The Abolish Movement to End Child Sex Slavery launched in January, 2014 as one of Tampa's first and largest umbrella awareness campaigns for human trafficking. The award-winning campaign was paramount in awakening the community and continues to build awareness under leadership from The Junior League of Tampa.

In 2014, the coalition became a 501(c)3 under the leadership of Dotti Groover-Skipper and an incredible board of directors. They re-branded the organization as FREE- The Slavery Survival Network, also known as The FREE Network.