Hope Refuge is an anti-trafficking organization dedicated to supporting the developmental needs of youth and young adults at-risk, especially those impacted by sexual exploitation and human trafficking.
Hope Refuge’s mission is to collaborate with others to abolish sex trafficking in America and provide hope for survivors (and those at risk of trafficking). Hope Refuge provides a retreat center for programs and services, addressing the hurt and trauma caused by commercial sexual exploitation.
At least 100,00 to 300,000 American youth are at risk for commercial sexual exploitation annually in the U.S. (Estes and Wiener, 2001)
The overarching goal of Hope Refuge is to create a caring environment and supportive community in which trafficking survivors can heal from the trauma of abuse, abandonment and neglect. Through the programs, and in the context of caring community, they will have an opportunity to discover who they were created to be. Our hope is to see them empowered to think forward toward a future where their dreams and unique potential can be personally realized and shared with others.
WHY SUPPORT US?
THESE ARE OUR CHILDREN
THE AVERAGE AGE OF ENTRY INTO THE SEX TRADE INDUSTRY IN THE USA IS JUST 12 YEARS OLD.
(US Department of Justice, Child Exploration and Obscenity Section)
ARE YOU AWARE OF THE CRISIS?
- The average age of entry into the commercial sex industry in the U.S. is 12 years old. (U.S. department of Justice, Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section)
- One in three teens will be recruited by a pimp within 48 hours of leaving home and becoming homeless.
- At least 100,00 to 300,000 American youth are at risk for commercial sexual exploitation annually in the U.S. (Estes and Wiener, 2001)
- Once a minor who is a victim of the sex traffic trade is identified and rescued there are few appropriate safe placements and homes available for them. (National Report on Domestic Sex Trafficking)
- Human trafficking involves the act of recruiting, transporting, harboring or receiving a person through a use of force, coercion, or other means for the purposes of exploiting them.
- After drugs, the trafficking of humans ranks second as the most common organized crime generating billions of dollars a year. (UN)
- The Federal Victims of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act of 2000 defines sex trafficking as, “a commercial sex act induced by force, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such acts has not attained 18 years of age.”
- The majority of those trafficked are women and children, with minors under the age of 18 being the most vulnerable (Congressional Research Services Report to Congress).
- 80-90 percent of sexually exploited children have a history of child sexual abuse
- The National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Throwaway (NISMART) children estimate that 1.6 million children run away from home each year in the U.S.
THE NEED FOR PROGRAMS AND SAFE FACILITIES
The “National Report on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking” states that there are few facilities in the U.S. with programs that specifically address the complex issues that a sexually trafficked child faces. It is estimated that there are thousands of children in Los Angeles and Orange counties alone who are victims of sex trafficking. The “National Report on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking” further states that more than 100,000 minors are being trafficked for sex in many major cities across the U.S. There are limited resources available to help girls break free from the cycle of this kind of sexual exploitation. Facilities that provide safety for girls traumatized by sexual abuse in the sex traffic industry are critical. Safe houses and residential programs are vital in the recovery and restoration process.
1 in 3*
Hope Refuge Inc is a 501c3 nonprofit organization established in 2013 in response to the growing awareness of the crisis in America involving children and young adults who are being trafficked in the commercial sex industry. There are thousands of American born children and youth who are being sold for sex in many cities across America. There are few resources that address the trauma experienced by those who are victims of commercial sexual exploitation.
*One in three teens will be recruited by a pimp within 48 hours of leaving home and becoming homeless.
Charles & Sally Cook
Charles Cook began his entrepreneurial life working for a company that brokered IBM midrange/mainframe computer equipment. A year later he opened and managed the company’s new office in Southern California. He stayed with the company until 1986 when he formed his own computer company that he operated until 1993. In 1994 Charles founded a package distribution software company called Pfastship Logistics that interfaced with large corporation such as Starbucks, Harley-Davidson and Bausch Lomb. The company continued to grow, both in size and scope, and was later sold. In 2006, together with film director Eric Hannah, Jodi Hannah, and producer Lisa Abbott, Charles co-launched Servant Entertainment, of which he became CEO. Charles co-produced Meet Me In Miami, a romantic comedy starring international megastars and Latin heartthrobs, Carlos Ponce and Eduardo Verastigui. Shortly thereafter, Servant Entertainment formed an alliance with Lift Up America called The Giving Hope Tour, uniting corporate America, professional sports, the entertainment industry, and grassroots agencies that worked with the working poor. With the help of sponsors such as Cinemark Theaters, Mann Theaters, Tyson Chicken, Starkey Hearing Foundation and Lenscrafters, along with Hollywood and sports celebrities, government officials, churches and local supporters. The Giving Hope Tour has been a tremendous success and has continued on to impact countless lives around the world. Charles has been actively involved with Iris since 2011 working with the team to launch Stop For The One program and has since co- founded Hope Refuge which is focused on using the arts to help restore girls rescued from the sex trade in Los Angeles. He is happily married to Sally and has a son named Josiah.
Sally began her entertainment industry career as a radio personality in London, England. Her on-air work as the co-anchor of a weekly magazine show soon opened the door to opportunities in television. She joined the United Kingdom’s Revelation TV channel as a presenter (host) for the R-Mornings breakfast show, and as a producer of their children’s program, R-Kidz. Programming for children comes naturally to Sally; before working in media, she taught in London Primary Schools where she worked mainly in schools in challenging circumstances, gained Advanced Skills Teacher status as one of UK’s exceptional teachers, and spent four years as an educational consultant for the Local Authority raising standards in schools. She began working in Hollywood at a renowned literary agency. Following this, she spent time working with Expression 58 ministries where she launched the Entertainment Department for artisans and co-hosted a popular, radio show with Shawn Bolz called ‘Your Life with Shawn and Sally’ which was featured as the one of the most ‘New and Notable’ podcasts on itunes. She met her husband while working with ‘Servant Entertainment’ who use film premieres to bring compassion to the less fortunate and under privileged children and their families in both cities and in the school system. Sally recently resigned from DreamWorks Animation after four productive years, to raise her 1 yr old son, Josiah. She continues to produce live action short films and is excited to launch Iris Hollywood Artist Boot Camp to empower artists in the Entertainment Industry.
Bob & Michelle Ryan
Bob Ryan served for 14 years as director of a Christian retreat camp where he worked with foster children, foster teens, and inner city youth at-risk. While earning a masters degree in Cross Cultural Studies at Fuller Seminary he studied in their Ministry to Children at Risk program. He spent time with his family in Africa serving with Iris Global and later working on staff at the International House of Prayer-KC. Currently he is one of the founders and directors of Hope Refuge Inc., which is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated serving the developmental needs of at-risk youth, and seeing an end to sexual exploitation of those who are victims of human trafficking. Bob has a passion to see healing and restoration come to the hearts of those whose lives have been effected by abuse, abandonment, and neglect. He and his wife, Michelle, reside in California with their seven children.
Michelle Ryan is co-founder of Hope Refuge, a non-profit created to help victims of sex trafficking. She is wife of 20 years to Bob and together they have 7 beautiful children. Michelle and Bob managed the San Marcos Christian Camp for 13 years where their heart for orphans was birthed working with children at risk during Royal Family Kid’s Camps. They attended the very first Iris school, Holy Given, in Mozambique in 2005 where God further burdened their hearts for orphans. Upon returning, they had the unexpected privilege of adopting a baby boy from a girl living on the streets of San Francisco. These experiences led them into a season of prayer and discernment at the International House of Prayer KC about how they could create a place of refuge for orphans. They now reside at a beautiful mountain retreat where they hope to offer training and healing for survivors of sex trafficking. Michelle also home schools her children. Last spring she drew her church and homeschool community into an exciting experience of combining her heart for justice with her love of theater and directed a fundraiser production of Les Miserables. She is excited about hosting Iris Hollywood and collaborating with creative Jesus lovers to impact our society.
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