History of PATH
On April 30, 2013, many of the members in the current group gathered at Jefferson Square Park in Louisville, KY for a prayer service for victims of human trafficking.
In January 2014, a survivor of human trafficking shared an op-ed in the Courier Journal entitled, “Kentucky can do more to help trafficking victims recover.” Some members of the current group met the survivor on March 21, 2014, in Bardstown, Kentucky, where Holly Austin Smith shared her story of being forced into a sex trafficking ring at 14. On April 29, 2014, some of the current members gathered again for a prayer service for victims of human trafficking at Jefferson Square Park in Louisville, KY.
It was after this second prayer service for victims of human trafficking in May 2014, when some of the members in the current group suggested those interested might gather for more of a long-term project around the issue of human trafficking. Thus, on May 28, 2014, the first gathering of those interested took place on the Ursuline Sisters of Louisville campus. In 2014, the group met on May 28, June 18, August 27, September 17, October 22, and November 17. During the fall meetings, the group decided on two priorities. These included education and outreach around the issue of human trafficking and a long-term home/shelter with job training and social skills for survivors.
Other events during the remainder of 2014 included: a survivor writing another editorial entitled, “resources lacking to stop sex trafficking;” the sharing of training videos that KY Rescue and Restore put together and of which the survivor participated in; the education of members in the group by Soha Saiyed (law); meeting with Archbishop Kurtz to create awareness and request collaboration in education on human trafficking; the education of members in the group by Rus Funk (Mens Work Inc.); the education of members in the group by Theresa Hayden (Human Trafficking education possibilities).
In January 2015, members of the group began brainstorming sites for increasing awareness around the issue of human trafficking. It was thought that a Lenten film series might be possible. Theresa Hayden was a speaker at the University of Louisville on February 4 on the issue of human trafficking. Chris Burnside (Rock Cares Foundation) came to the February gathering sharing the ministry of his foundation and Lenten film series was finalized. This series would be within faith congregations in different parts of Louisville with a discussion after the film.
The possibility of a billboard during Derby was also brought up. In March, the group planned to submit several editorials around the time of March Madness and the annual anti-trafficking prayer service was in the planning stages.
In March, the billboard became a reality and was to be located from April 6 to May 6 at the corner of 6th and Muhammad Ali in Louisville, KY. The U.S. Sisters against human trafficking gave permission for their design of a billboard to be used. The billboard space was generously donated and the putting up of the billboard was donated. Theresa Hayden also released to the public her 15-month study on the rise in illegal sex trafficking in cities hosting the NCAA March Madness Tournament. April found the group struggling with how to be called or named. The question was also raised about nonprofit status as a group. It was at this gathering that the group decided on the name, People Against Trafficking Humans (PATH) Coalition of Kentucky. Members of the group also decided to begin the process for seeking an application for nonprofit status. Theresa Hayden updated the group on the 2015 NCAA Basketball Tournament and the ads on backpage.com. Judy Morris, Julie Driscoll, Rosetta Fackler, and Theresa Butler participated in a demonstration on April 20, against human trafficking at the Economy Inn. Julie Driscoll attended The Shadow of the Downs event in preparation for the awareness around the KY Derby on April 25. The annual prayer service for victims of human trafficking was at Jefferson Square Park on April 28. Julie Driscoll also invited individuals receiving The Record to join in action against human trafficking through a commentary piece. This appeared in the April 30 copy of The Record.
In May, WLKY continued education on the issue of human trafficking of which Theresa Hayden was interviewed regarding her research into escort services on backpage.com. Julie Driscoll shared an article entitled, Deliverance by Art Jahnke at the May meeting. In June, members of the group provided updates on the process of nonprofit status, the potential for Circle of Healing Retreat by Ginny Schaeffer, and began strategizing for raising awareness on human trafficking during special events with the eventual plan to raise awareness to year-round. Theresa Hayden has shared updates from 2015 Oaks and Derby escort services on backpage.com.
August found PATH members finalizing their paperwork and materials for submission to become a nonprofit organization. Path members also were present with a survivor when she appeared in court. Two members from our group shared at a Human Trafficking Summit on the 20th of October at Frasier Museum in Louisville. One shared her findings regarding backpage.com and another was on a panel. PATH had a display board and half-table at this event. Theresa participated in the National Sexual Exploitation Conference and shared highlights and materials of this at the October meeting. PATH Coalition of Kentucky gained nonprofit status (501(c)3) on 10.8.2015.
Angela Renfro (Kristy Love Foundation) and Dianna Anderson (Louisville Task Force) spoke at PATH November meeting as part of the ongoing education for members. In addition, members were asked to bring items (toiletries, linens, household items, dishwashing soap, etc.) that could be donated from PATH to Angela Renfro and her home for survivors.
In January 2016, PATH members shared a list of safe houses within the United States among the members. It was at this time that PATH Coalition of Kentucky became the official name of the nonprofit. In February, PATH members were made aware of state legislation (House Bill 229) that would strengthen investigations and prosecution of human trafficking and encouraged to contact legislators. Members of PATH also attended an evening event on Human Trafficking in Louisville by Dianna Anderson. In March, members began brainstorming how to visit some of the safe houses in the United States. In April, PATH joined the Center for Nonprofit Excellence (CNPE) and various members participated in their monthly community coffee for opportunities to network and get PATH into the public. The annual prayer service was held on May 3.
In July, PATH Coalition of Kentucky participated on a panel at the North American Ursuline Convocation at the Galt House (July 7-10). Members put together a job description for a program director for PATH and posted it by mid-July with the intended start date of September 1. A logo began to be designed in July for PATH and agreed upon in October. A member of PATH offered a three-session presentation on human trafficking at Second Presbyterian Church in Louisville in September. A program director for PATH was hired in late September with beginning date of October. A domain name was discussed and adopted as PATHcoalitionofkentucky.org
PATH secured insurance prior to the October 2016 meeting for the board/organization. On October 12, PATH hosted an education event at Bellarmine University following a reception for potential board members. A member of PATH attended the Center for Nonprofit Excellence Conference held in October. In early November, members visited Ann’s House in Chicago. During the fall the potential for collaboration was explored with Kentucky One and a variety of other groups to examine the needs of survivors and attend to these. This collaborative ceased when Kentucky One decided to transition a portion of their in May. A display sign was created by Sign-arama toward the end of 2016 for use at public events. In December, several members attended the United Nations Human Trafficking Conference (December 6-7).
January 2017 began with members of PATH continuing to visit safe houses for survivors in Tennessee, Louisiana and Alabama. Ed Cortes of CNPE came to speak with us about planning options for strategic planning at our February meeting. In March, members attending the Central Kentucky Human Trafficking Summit in Georgetown, KY. PATH presented at the Third Thursday Fellowship of Reconciliation and Interfaith Paths to Peace luncheon on April 20. The annual Derby prayer vigil facilitated and hosted by PATH was held on May 2. It was at the April meeting that the board agreed to serve the 18-24 year-old population in their survivor home. In addition a letter was sent to Attorney General Andy Beshear informing him of the work of PATH and an invitation to join our annual prayer vigil (He did attend and spoke a few words).
In May, both the nomination selection and education committees were established. A draft of a potential process for selecting board members was shared. In June, two more safe homes were visited. One of these was in Massachusetts and the other in New York. On June 22, PATH collaborated with United Nations’ Kentucky Division to host an education event on Refugees and human trafficking. July found PATH approving of involvement in the Kroger Community Rewards program.
In September, Amy Leenerts of Free2Hope spoke to PATH on the materials she uses for education. The nomination committee submitted a process for election of board members and PATH members approved. In November, Vanessa Chauhan from Polaris spoke to us about the National Human Trafficking Hotline. Potential properties continue to be explored by members of PATH during the fall. In January 2018, social work students from Kent School will join PATH programming. A general purpose PATH brochure was approved and the last of the edits are being sent for inclusion and the final product. Several PATH members participated in the United Nations Human Trafficking Conference on December 6. The printed version of PATH brochure was brought to the December meeting. This will be sent to individuals during this holiday season. A digital contract for teens has been drafted and an educational module is being finalized.
Presently, PATH Coalition of Kentucky meets monthly for 1.5 hours. In the future PATH Coalition of Kentucky plans to continue raising awareness through education of PATH members and the surrounding community. PATH Coalition of Kentucky plans to continue outreach to like-minded groups around the issue of human trafficking. Our long-term goal is that of a home/shelter with job training and social skills for survivors of human trafficking. When PATH Coalition of Kentucky obtains this long-term goal, it is the hope of PATH Coalition of Kentucky that the home be rooted in trauma-informed care.