In an effort to combat human trafficking, Kristin Keen founded Rethreaded, a small business in Jacksonville that employs survivors of human trafficking to expertly handcraft gifts and accessories. Keen began her mission in 2011 by forming relationships with women on the street and making prison visits, realizing along the way that the greatest need was for a safe, supportive work environment where survivors could earn money while learning a skill and experiencing continued healing through community.
Rethreaded was invited to partner with the Florida Ports Council (FPC) at the association’s Annual Meeting in August to promote human trafficking awareness. Florida seaports are committed to combatting human trafficking by promoting education and awareness among stakeholders, tenants and maritime-related transportation companies who are uniquely positioned to recognize warning signs of commercial sexual exploitation or forced labor. As these organizations’ missions align, Rethreaded was the perfect choice for FPC’s Corporate Social Responsibility Partner for the annual meeting.
Keen told Rethreaded’s story to the group’s Security Committee, educated participants on what is human trafficking and discussed ways the maritime industry can help.
“I love working with organizations that are using their businesses for good. Being educated on what human trafficking is and how it is happening in our cities is a great first step,” said Rethreaded Founder and CEO Kristin Keen. “I encourage each port to consider encouraging their employees to donate and shop this holiday season at Rethreaded.”
The International Labor Organization estimates that there are 20.9 million victims of trafficking around the world, and domestically, Florida continues to rank third in the nation in the number of calls to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. According to a study of U.S. Department of Justice human trafficking task force cases, 83 percent of sex trafficking victims identified in the United States were U.S. citizens. On average, the age at which a trafficked victim is first exploited is 12-14.
“Ports find themselves in a unique situation where port activities create a nexus to multiple modes of transportation – trucks, trains, ships – and this provides opportunities to concentrate multiple levels of law enforcement at a logical juncture in the supply chain,” said Doug Wheeler, president and CEO of the Florida Ports Council. “Seaports have an opportunity to educate stakeholders of the maritime and transportation industries on ways to recognize warning signs of human trafficking.”
FPC also serves as a Strategic Partner on the Attorney General’s Statewide Council on Human Trafficking. The mission of the Statewide Council is to enhance the development and coordination of state and local law enforcement and social services responses to fight all forms of human trafficking and to support victims. More information about the Statewide Council can be found on the Attorney General’s webpage.