Sex trafficking is a crime that hides in plain sight. While the majority of victims are female with an average age between 12 and 14, sex trafficking knows no boundaries, demographics or socioeconomic status and is just as likely to be found in wealthy as poor communities. This multi-billion-dollar criminal industry is rapidly becoming more lucrative than illegal drugs, but not if Susan Norris has her way.
In 2010, at a luncheon that would forever change her life, Susan first became aware of the insidiousness of this exploitation. She immediately began researching the issue of sex trafficking in the U.S., talking with detectives, survivors, families whose daughters were trafficked and former pimps. The more she learned, the more she recognized that these victims needed someone to share their heartbreaking stories and become a catalyst for a national conversation about the impact of this industry.
With the writing of her acclaimed book Rescuing Hope, A Story of Sex Trafficking in America, Susan sought to help educate young people about what sex trafficking is and how traffickers groom potential victims.
But, the story didn’t end there. Recognizing a clear need for ongoing advocacy, Susan founded Rescuing Hope to enlighten the public about sex trafficking in America; educate potential victims and first responders; and empower advocates and survivors.
The organization provides resources to help survivors, assists with medical treatment and emotional support and finds pro bono attorneys when needed. Volunteers help survivors access state and local services, long-term residential programs, group therapy services and assist with family reconciliation. At monthly support dinners, survivors come together to just “be” and have fellowship with those who have walked a similar journey.
Susan, often referred to as Mama Susan, has become one of the most dynamic advocates for the victims of sex trafficking. As a member of the Georgia State Human Trafficking Task Force, a CLASS certified speaker and a P.O.S.T. certified instructor on human trafficking, she uses her powerful voice to lobby for stronger laws to protect victims and help them piece together their shattered lives.
As one survivor shared, “When I met Susan, I met a lifelong friend, a second mother. I was broken and didn’t believe I would be able to have a life outside of being an escort. She walked with me, chasing after me at times, still walks with me, believed and believes in me and has never stopped loving me.”
To learn more, please visit rescuinghope.com. The organization is always on the lookout for volunteers and resources to benefit survivors, especially lawyers, doctors, dentists, hair stylists and mechanics who can provide pro bono support. If you can help, email Crystal@rescuinghope.com.
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