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An Exciting Letter from Vednita Carter, Founder/President

July 27, 2015

To: Our Partners and Other Concerned Community Members:

I would like to take this opportunity to provide you with a current update on Breaking Free and some exciting changes we will be implementing. I realize that there are many rumors floating around, due in part to an anonymous letter full of unfounded allegations that were circulated to our funders, donors, and most cherished partners within the last year. Unfortunately, Breaking Free had no knowledge of this letter until weeks after its release. I would like to take this opportunity also to assure you that Breaking Free has taken these allegations seriously, and in response has hired a third party consulting agency to investigate the claims and publicly report the results.

I want all of you to know that Breaking Free is not closing our doors. As of June 2015, we housed 60 women and their children, hosted weekly support groups for over 150 women, and provided general services to a total of 511 women and girls (71% of whom were new clients at Breaking Free). Our waiting list for housing gets longer every week and the number of women seeking support at Breaking Free continues to grow—evidence that services for women who have been victims and survivors of prostitution and sex-trafficking are desperately needed, perhaps now more than ever before.

Recently Breaking Free’s Board of Directors and Leadership Team have undergone a series of strategic planning discussions designed to grow Breaking Free and expand its reach and mission. Today, I would like to announce a series of strategic changes that will take place at Breaking Free immediately:

·         I will be assuming a new role as Founder/President of Breaking Free. In this role, I will have the opportunity to focus more of my time and energy on the responsibility of acting as the face of Breaking Free both nationally and internationally.

·         Emily Baldwin, who began partnering with Breaking Free six years ago and is a beloved member of our community, is our current acting Executive Director. Emily will focus on internal, day to day operations within the agency.

·         Breaking Free will be posting a position description for a permanent Executive Director by early August.

·         After careful deliberation, Breaking Free’s leadership has decided that our primary focus moving forward will be to provide case management services to adult women only. Agency statistics show that over the last five years, the number of girls we have served at Breaking Free has been well under 10% of our total population. We are confident in this decision, knowing that currently there are many other excellent agencies in Minnesota who focus their resources exclusively on girls who have been victims of sex-trafficking. This also allows us to stay true to our initial focus of helping women escape prostitution. From this point forward, Breaking Free will refer any girls under the age of 18 in need of support services to the youth focused agencies. We will, however, continue to provide training and education to youth programs, schools, and jails, including information on the commercial sexual exploitation of girls as a natural component of our goal to educate the community about the realities of sex-trafficking.

Finally, Breaking Free has long worked to adapt its mission to the growing list of services we provide, as well as to the developing awareness of prostitution and sex trafficking in our community and the world. With these things in mind, we have operated with some variation of the following mission for almost 20 years:

“To educate and provide services to women and girls who have been victims of sexual exploitation/sex-trafficking and need assistance escaping the violence in their lives.”

Today we are proud to announce the rollout of a new mission statement—a bold, concise mission statement that sums up what we have done, what we are doing, and what we will continue to do until it is accomplished. Effective immediately, Breaking Free’s new mission is:

“To end all forms of prostitution and sex-trafficking”

I am proud to say that, with this new mission to guide us, we at Breaking Free are excited about what lies ahead. We look forward to many new doors that have already begun to open, and to an abundance of new experiences we are thrilled to dive into.

I am so thankful to those of you who stood by us and offered words of comfort and support during these difficult times. Thank you for your unwavering care for the work that we do for women and girls who are otherwise consistently swept under the rug, left uncared for and blamed for everything that has happened to them.  NO one deserves to be bought and sold!

I will continue to keep you informed of new developments as we continue to move forward.


Vednita Carter

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November 14, 2015

Breaking Free was established in October 1996, by Vednita Carter, Founder and Executive Director, as a non-profit organization serving women and girls involved in systems of abuse, exploitation, and prostitution/sex trafficking.Phone: 651-645-6557
Address: P.O. Box 4366, St. Paul, MN 55104