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“I am loved.” / A Night of REST 2017

Written by Kim Merrikin
on November 20, 2017

Every single person is worthy of love. That is the belief that drives our work at REST, and that was the theme of the evening at our fifth annual A Night of REST fundraising gala on Saturday, November 11. And we heard all 600+ attendees boldly declare with us that...

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Decide to Put Slacktivism to Death

Written by Kim Merrikin
on July 06, 2017

There is a lot of talk in recent years about the rise of “slacktivism.” As social media has grown and become an awareness-raising machine, this idea of “slacktivism” has emerged. In short, it is being willing to post/share/comment/like—but be unengaged otherwise. Slacktivism is talking big game about your feelings about...

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A Penny for your Thoughts? Survivor Feedback is Gold.

Written by Bridget Battistoni
on June 07, 2017

There are many ways of determining success. Since the beginning, REST’s metric has been simple: to provide help and hope to the people we serve. How are we doing? Let’s hear directly from them: “If I didn’t have the REST House, I’d probably be dead.”- Shelter guest, age 24 “REST...

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“The World's Terrible Truths are Never Solved by Turning a Blind Eye,” & Other Important Lesson's Learned at Microsoft's 2016 //oneweek Hackathon.

Written by Bridget Battistoni
on October 17, 2016

Danielle, a Microsoft employee, volunteered her time to Hack for Good at Microsoft’s //oneweek Hackathon for REST’s Project Reach Out and met a survivor of sex trafficking and employee of REST who privately shared her story to help inform the project participants. Danielle sent us this letter about the profound...

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We've Begun Our Year with a Real Game Changer

Written by Bridget Battistoni
on October 09, 2016

At REST, it seems like we’re always up to something big: a resident finishes school and gains a degree, a survivor joins our support group and finds a meaningful community or we celebrate another survivor who has successfully escaped the sex trade for 30 days, 6 months or a year....

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When Sex Trafficking is a Family Affair

Written by Bridget Battistoni
on May 14, 2016

A couple of weeks ago, we posted a story involving six local men who were arrested during an undercover operation that involved child rape & domestic minor sex trafficking. These men ranged in age, race and profession. They lived in major cities, and in the outlying suburbs. As you can...

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Two Things You Can Do Today To Support Human Trafficking Victims: HB 2668 & SB 5277

Written by Bridget Battistoni
on February 22, 2016

Trauma recovery, especially for people who have experienced ongoing terrorizing physical and sexual violence, is an arduous and painful path. The seemingly insurmountable roadblocks when attempting post-trafficking recovery is no exception. Victims of human trafficking, as a result of their trauma, often suffer from anxiety, panic disorders, depression, eating disorders,...

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It All Started When You Bought $2,700 Cupcakes

Written by Bridget Battistoni
on November 16, 2015

It all started when you bought $2,700 cupcakes. Well, actually, it started when you and hundreds like you came to A Night of REST with generous grit to give freedom, safety and hope to sexually exploited people in our community. One of my table mates remarked that it seemed if...

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When Trauma Exists in the Caregiver-Child Relationship

Written by Bridget Battistoni
on June 24, 2015

In 2010, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck near the capital city of Port Au Prince, Haiti. More than 1.5 million people were displaced, and 300,000 structures were severely damaged or destroyed. Some cities near the epicenter reported 90% of their buildings lost. The amount of devastation was incomprehensible. Five weeks later,...

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10 Things Not To Say When Meeting A Survivor of Sex Trafficking

Written by Bridget Battistoni
on April 21, 2015

We mean well. We don’t intend to be insensitive. But sometimes our words are still hurtful to those who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation. With the help of some people who’ve felt the effect of unintentionally damaging words first-hand, we’ve created this list so we can better communicate love to...

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A Survivor's Story: Meet Mia

Written by Bridget Battistoni
on March 26, 2015

I spent my childhood being trafficked for sex. When I was five years old, I was raped by my stepfather and uncle. Soon, my stepfather began to pass me around to his friends. This quickly escalated into strangers paying my stepfather for time with me and eventually being sold to...

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50 Shades of Propaganda: How You Are Being Indoctrinated To Sexual Violence

Written by Bridget Battistoni
on February 11, 2015

I’ve always been particularly fascinated by World War II. More specifically, how Adolf Hitler was able to convince hundreds of thousands of ordinary people to participate in, or at least tolerate, the systematic massacre of more than six million people during his reign. How were so many people able to...

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Trauma & the Brain: How a Fraction of a Second Can Change Your Life

Written by Bridget Battistoni
on January 06, 2015

Several years ago, I was sitting on my couch, enjoying the silence that only a parent of small children can appreciate. The digital clock on our DVD player told me I was up too late, but the stillness of that hour was a refuge to my ears and soul. The...

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Give for Goodness' Sake…and for Yours

Written by Bridget Battistoni
on December 20, 2014

Tonight, hundreds of children and thousands of women are being exploited for commercial sex in our city. Night after night, in hotel rooms, in area homes, and in cars parked along our city streets, girls and young women are raped for profit. With the growing awareness around anti trafficking efforts,...

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Where is God When I'm Suffering?

Written by Bridget Battistoni
on November 24, 2014

Growing up, despair felt like my closest companion. Most days, I felt invisible and unknown. My dad struggled through deep depression and bouts of mania, suicide attempts and hospitalizations, and the consequent guilt and shame. Several times throughout my childhood my siblings and I awoke to hearing violent struggles, or...

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5 Incredible Years: What's Next

Written by Bridget Battistoni
on November 14, 2014

Five years ago, God gave our founders dreams of building relationships with girls and young women who were trafficked for commercial sex. Our hope was to build trust, so they would feel safe enough to identify the things they needed to begin a life free from sexual exploitation. We not...

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What Happens When 500 People Come Together and

Written by Bridget Battistoni
on November 09, 2014

We’ve always known that you who partner with REST are some of the most hard-working and compassionate people around. And that you’re motivated to use your talents and resources to change our world for the better. We’re grateful you see love for your community as a long-term commitment and that...

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Buyer Beware Campaign Moves the State One Step Closer to Being Inhospitable to Traffickers

Written by REST
on October 20, 2014

In 2011, sex buyers tipped their hands and disclosed what they believed would dissuade them from using women involved in prostitution. In the comprehensive study, Comparing Sex Buyers with Men Who Don’t Buy Sex Melissa Farley, PHD, Founding Director of Prostitution Research and Education, and Peter Qualliotine, co-founder of the...

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How Celebrity Hacks Reveal Privilege

Written by Bridget Battistoni
on September 07, 2014

By now, you’ve likely seen headlines about the hacking of more than one hundred celebrities’ iCloud accounts and the subsequent release of their nude photos and intimate videos. These celebrities, as well as the public, were rightly outraged at the massive breach of privacy, saying things like, “If you looked...

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Dear Jim Norton, You're Not Funny.

Written by Bridget Battistoni
on August 17, 2014

Recently, comedian Jim Norton, known for his crude talk and sexist comedy routines, wrote and article in Time called In Defense of Johns, in which he defends his right to pay women for sex acts. As a self-proclaimed expert, Norton writes, “I cannot even fathom a guess as to how...

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Heroin is a Bad Boyfriend

Written by Bridget Battistoni
on July 08, 2014

“I had no idea this type of help was available.” These were the words that rang in my ears throughout the night and into the early morning, as I counted the hours for the sun to appear. Asmine*, a forty-two year old woman recovered in a coordinated effort between Seattle...

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Men Who Buy Sex, Part 1: Sin is Trafficked Goodness

Written by Bridget Battistoni
on June 16, 2014

I sat with a man named Jeffrey who had been arrested on charges of soliciting prostitution. He is one of the tens of thousands of Seattle’s johns. In our first session together, Jeffrey remarked, “Friday afternoons are always the most difficult for me to control myself. I am not sure...

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5 Considerations When Starting an Anti-trafficking Organization

Written by Bridget Battistoni
on June 03, 2014

On a monthly basis, REST receives inquiries from people all over the country who are considering starting an anti-trafficking organization and are looking for a “how-to.” We are so grateful to be receiving these requests and know first-hand how important it is to learn from others who have gone before...

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Counting the Cost of Justice

Written by Bridget Battistoni
on May 28, 2014

I imagine most of you who attended REST’s Sex Trafficking & the Gospel event this past weekend are still considering the powerful teachings presented. I am, too. In fact, I’ve spent the weekend pondering the sharp, yet truthful words shared by Reverend Eugene Cho, “We love justice until there’s a...

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Sex Trafficking & The Gospel: Is There Cause to Despair?

Written by Bridget Battistoni
on March 26, 2014

It would seem there is cause to despair. Hundreds of girls and young women are being bought and sold for sex every night in Seattle. They are forced to endure repeated acts of violent sexual exploitation for the profit of their traffickers and the pleasure of their buyers. The hearts...

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Foster Care: A Pipeline for Traffickers

Written by Bridget Battistoni
on March 07, 2014

Economics teaches that the principle of supply and demand determines the availability of a particular product. If a supply is readily available, prices drop and demand soars. Human trafficking is no exception. According to the FBI, more than 100,000 minors are sold for sex in the U.S. each year. It’s...

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How Traffickers Exploit People for Sex

Written by Bridget Battistoni
on February 03, 2014

Exploitation has many faces. Human exploitation, at its most simple definition, is an abuse of power for personal gain and/or profitable advantage at the expense of another. Sex traffickers – those who recruit, transport, or harbor people by [physical or psychological] threat, force, fraud, or coercion, in hopes to profit...

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5 Things to Start in 2014

Written by Bridget Battistoni
on December 29, 2013

New Year’s celebrations started as a pagan tradition, worshiping Janus (a two-faced god who looks backward into the old year and forward into the new) thought to be the protector of beginnings and endings. During the Roman reign, it was not uncommon to see statues set atop bridge columns where...

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6 Ways Parents Can Protect Their Children from Sex Trafficking

Written by Bridget Battistoni
on April 19, 2013

Last week I opened my internet browser in hopes to catch up with the chatter I’d been hearing about North Korea. Instead of reading about the potential threat of a terrorist attack from a foreign nation, my eyes met an article about domestic terrorism. Predators – traffickers – who have...

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