My Name is not Lacey.
Emmy, Founder and Survivor
Lacey’s Hope Project was started by a sex trafficking survivor, Emmy. Today, Emmy is a leader, community advocate, speaker, and source of knowledge and inspiration for others. She founded Lacey’s Hope Project to help end the social justice issues of sex trafficking and drug abuse. Named in tribute to a friend who lost her life to a trafficker and also Emmy's "given name" by her trafficker, Lacey's Hope Project represents the promise of change, restoration and healing.
Everyone has a story. Along with those stories, everyone has challenges to overcome. Growing up, Emmy had what appeared to bea picture-perfect suburban life, and was involved in a variety of extra-curricular activities – soccer, track, gymnastics, FFA, and more. She was friends with everyone,yet felt alone in a crowded room. Her feeling of loneliness and desire to be loved made hera target for her trafficker. He exploited her vulnerabilities by making her believe that he loved her and wanted the best for her.
Trafficking can happen to anyone, from any walk of life. Nobody is immune to the grips of a manipulative predator. Traffickers, also known as pimps, cannot be identified by a standard set of characteristics. The single commonality is that they exploit men, women, boys, and girls with their charismatic and charming manner. Traffickers don't care who you are or where you came from. Your demographic and socioeconomic status mean nothing. They merely see a commodity that fills their pockets and the demand for sex.
Scared and Manipulated
So why don't victims simply walk away? Pimps use manipulation and brainwashing to instill fear and control. After becoming dependent on drugs and being told that she was only destined to sell her body, Emmy didn't have the capacity to "simply walk away." She was sold to the highest bidder again and again, each time falling farther into a life she never dreamed of as a little girl.
Able to leave the life thanks to an observant onlooker who reported his concern to the police, Emmy had a window to freedom.
LACEY’S HOPE PROJECT IS BORN
Shortly after she got of out of jail for crimes that happened while she was trafficked, her mom took her to a human trafficking awareness event in their hometown. At the time, Emmy wanted nothing to do with the topic of trafficking, drug addiction, or raising awareness. She didn’t want to think about it again. But the FBI agent leading the event asked the crowd to close their eyes and imagine what a victim looked life. Instead of closing her eyes, Emmy watched the faces in the crowd, wondering if they pictured her. In that moment, she prayed; not sure whether she believed in God but hoping for words to speak to the audience she was part of. Her emotions were raw and real. That day was the beginning of what became Lacey's Hope Project.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
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