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
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
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:
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
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.