August 20, 2018 06:49 PM
It's called the Freedom Truck. Most people know it for having great falafel but the operators are also hoping to serve up a side of awareness about human trafficking.
"People are normally shocked. Shocked. And I was too," said Stephanie Page with the Stories Foundation when she learned about the prevalence of human trafficking. "I thought slavery was over with Abraham Lincoln I didn't think it was still happening. But it is happening here in Minnesota."
Page said the Stories Foundation has been taking its mission of spreading awareness and raising money to stop human trafficking on the road for about a year. The truck can often be found selling chicken and falafel dishes outside of Twin Cities breweries.
In 2015, federal officials ranked Minnesota as having the third-highest number of adults and children forced into sex or labor.
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Since its debut last summer, the Freedom Truck has raised an average of $5,000 a month—and the Stores Foundation redistributes that money to other community groups taking direct action to address human trafficking.
"You really can't reach out to the rest of the world because you don't know how they are going to respond to you," Kjersti Bohrer said, who runs a group called Beautiful and Loved.
Bohrer's group recently received a donation from the Stories Foundation. That money is helping to cover the cost of outreach to workers at Twin Cities strip clubs.
"We know there are people who are being trafficked through the sex industry as well," Bohrer said.
Eventually, Page said she hopes to trade the truck for a year-round permanent restaurant with the same mission. She'd also like to give human trafficking survivors jobs so they can have some help rebuilding their lives.
"We're hoping to start this fall working with the Link in the Twin Cities to hire survivors and those vulnerable to being trafficked in our truck and eventually our cafe," Page said. "If we can use business to generate income other than just asking people for money, then the people giving get something in return and that's a win-win."
If you'd like to learn more about the Freedom Truck or see where it will be next, click here.
Updated: August 20, 2018 06:49 PM
Created: August 20, 2018 06:12 PM
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