Restoration Project International (RPI) is a nonprofit organization founded August 2nd, 2013. Moved by the large scale and global impact of human trafficking – an estimated 4.5 Million persons trafficked are sexually exploited. Up to 300,000 Americans under the age of 18 are lured into the commercial sex trade every year. About 17,500 of trafficked victims are transported into the United States each year. Millions of girls and women are trafficked for sexual and labor exploitation, including pornography and prostitution; and indentured servitude. RPI’s ultimate goal is to engage all stakeholders in social change to help rehabilitate survivors and eradicate trafficking.
Her founder’s passion for restoring the hope and aspiration of trafficked girls/women began with a research study she conducted for the then Colorado Coalition against Domestic Violence (CCADV) now known as Violence Free Colorado (VFC). Edith’s research titled, The Termination of Parental Rights of a Rapist when a Child is Conceived through Rape, was aided by the Colorado Coalition against Sexual Assault (CCASA). Edith and these coalitions also successfully pushed for two critical legislative changes in the rights of rape victims, and children conceived by rape. These include: 1) SB227 (2013) which protects children conceived by rape from their rapist fathers and; 2) HB 14-1162 (2014) which protects rape victims from their rapist and the criminal justice system when a child is conceived by rape. RPI was founded to address structural and systemic challenges for survivors of trafficking which the founder’s research uncovered. These include: 1) How best can society help trafficked girls/women heal and be restored to normal lives? 2) How best can trafficked girls/women be empowered to avoid ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ and shun their captors? 3) How best can society’s misconceptions and apathy be challenged to make it more empathetic, engaged and willing to embrace trafficked girls/women as they transition back into society?
These are the organizing principles that inform RPI’s mission for social change. And RPI’s mission is realized by filling the vacuum in the transitional period between when victims leave the trafficking situation and or are redeemed to become survivors, and their struggle to reintegrate into society.
RPI’s engagement model is premised on the idea that education is crucial in the prevention of trafficking, relevant for protection of trafficking survivors and vulnerable girls, and rehabilitation of survivors. RPI’s education strategy extends from victims/survivors to society. An educated victim/survivor is better empowered to make informed life choices. And an educated society is better informed on the challenges of trafficking; and crucially, how to identify at-risk girls and restore survivors. RPI’s collaborative model also requires that it continues to work with like-minded organizations and government agencies to restore girls/women who have survived trafficking, as well as engage in global social change to eradicate human trafficking.