Tina Frundt has always believed in the power of creative thinking — it helped her survive sex trafficking and become a grassroots anti-slavery leader.
Her creativity has recently caught the media spotlight, allowing Tina an opportunity to show a global audience that freedom and recovery are possible for slavery survivors.
You may remember Tina as the 2010 recipient of the Free the Slaves Frederick Douglass Freedom Award. She was 14 when she was lured from her home in Chicago by an older man and forced into child prostitution.
Since her escape, she has continued to help others break free. She was featured on WUSA-TV in Washington this month, urging parents to talk to their children about sex slavery. Tina warns it could happen to anyone, anywhere.
“If you’re not explaining it, a trafficker’s explaining it to your child and he’s not telling the truth when he’s explaining it,” Tina says.
Today, Tina runs Courtney’s House, a shelter dedicated to rehabilitating survivors of sex trafficking. At night, she and her team walk the streets of Washington in search of victims. She secretly hands them a trinket, containing a hotline number. She says she’s simply doing what nobody did for her.
Tina shared her story at a recent TEDx event. She recounts that, even as a child being bounced around in the foster care system, she came up with ideas to help others, and herself.
“I was always being creative,” she says, “I was always thinking outside the box.”
Tina was also featured late last year on an AOL web series: You’ve Got.
She is an extraordinary example of how valuable it can be when slavery survivors become leaders for the movement.
“When you turn your life around, you try to get rid of the things that you think are negative,” says Tina. “Instead of changing who I was, I changed the way I thought, and did it in a positive way.”
FTS supporters are likely to be familiar with the stunning images of humanitarian photographer Lisa Kristine. She has traveled to the frontlines of slavery to capture the brutality of bondage, as well as the success stories of people breaking free with the assistance of FTS.
Now, tens of thousands are learning about Lisa’s journey—both the physical challenges of crawling hundreds of feet down rickety mines shafts, and the deeply disturbing psychological journey of confronting slavery face-to-face. Her description of the journey is on the TED homepage.
Her TED talk is worth watching! It’s only 18 minutes long, but it’s a powerful testimony that will leave you inspired.
Watch it, and then buy the limited-edition Lisa Kristine fine art photography book, Slavery. The book is available now directly from Lisa’s website. Proceeds benefit FTS work to free slaves.
You may already have seen some of Lisa Kristine’s captivating photographs that feature work of Free the Slaves around the world. Now, you can see Lisa talk about her experiences capturing the reality of slavery in mine shafts, brick kilns and makeshift brothels.
Lisa’s recent TedX presentation is available online. She spoke in January in Hawaii.
Lisa’s collection of images is available in an inspiring book, Slavery. It’s available directly from Lisa’s gallery. Proceeds benefit Free the Slaves.