Chains Champion February – Linda Olson
What was your position at CI and what did that entail? How many volunteers and trainings did you oversee?
I started volunteering with Chains Interrupted as the Co-Coordinator of the Hotel/Motel Project, then took on more and more responsibility, until I became the Outreach Director. The Outreach Director position included all of Chains Interrupted education projects (which at the time encompassed schools, hotel/motels, and the general public), volunteer coordination and events. As you can imagine, there were many trainings for the various education projects. The first training we did for the Hotel/Motel Project, 55 people attended! In just a few years time, Chains Interrupted held over 2 dozen trainings to “train the trainer” and trained over 200 people to speak within our three education projects. Human Trafficking is a cause that people feel compelled to get involved in fighting. We held quarterly volunteer meetings, and soon had over 300 volunteers working with us against this heinous crime.
What was most surprising to you as you learned about human sex trafficking?
The thing that stuck out the most to me was that the average survival of someone who has experienced this was only seven years. Another thing that was surprising was learning about how the brain is affected by complex trauma.
Why are you so passionate about the work?
It’s hard to put into words. Part of it is I didn’t realize how little help was available for people who are experiencing trafficking. So much more needs to be done, and if not us, then who? I feel like what I do/did is such a small thing, but if we all did even a small thing it would add up to big changes! Another part of being passionate about the work has been meeting the survivors. Once you hear their stories, your heart goes out to helping those who have experienced this….and those that are still captive.
What do you want people to know regarding trafficking?
Everyone can do something! If you think you have nothing to offer, that is not true. Chains Interrupted has many opportunities, including speaking, grant research and writing, administrative tasks, fundraising, coordinating various projects, etc. I would encourage everyone to look within, pray, and see what gifts God has given you that you could use to help fight this crime!
Can you share why what we do is so important and also share a story of success? Chains Interrupted has worked for years to begin a program to assist survivors of Human Trafficking. This dream came to fruition in 2020 with the Beauty from Ashes Program. For survivors in the program who need housing, we now have a home called the Harbor House. It was so exciting to be a part of this success story!
Is there anything you would like to share about yourself that maybe people might now know?
Due to health factors, I had to stop volunteering with Chains Interrupted. I stay updated through my daughter Teresa, and continue to pray for all the people involved!