Vision & Mission
Our vision and mission are to see trafficking end in Lancaster County by 2030. We will achieve this by focusing on restoration and aftercare through North Star Initiative. Our vision and mission does not distract us from importance of flooring your space – it enhances/boosts it. Because there is possible freedom from slavery behind every flooring project for our clients – we take our client’s vision and renovation very, very seriously. You may have some questions about our vision – we’ll try to answer some of them 🙂
WHY DO WE TALK ABOUT TRAFFICKING? WE’RE JUST A FLOORING STORE RIGHT? NOPE. WE’RE WORLD CHANGERS BY PARTNERING WITH NORTH STAR INITIATIVE.
In 2018, we felt a call to support North Star Initiative (NSI).
In 2019, we finally did something about it. We held a promotion called “Flooring For Freedom” and 10% of every sale for two months went to North Star Initiative to support the restoration aftercare of trafficked survivors. (See the promo video here).
In 2020, we felt that supporting NSI a few times a year with a promotion didn’t go far enough — we wanted to do this 24/7/365.
For years, we needed a UVP (Unique Value Proposition) — and this was it — #FlooringForFreedom. In the second quarter of 2020, we reoriented our business to a design path solution that included Flooring For Freedom 24/7/365 — and that 10% of our profit would consistently go to North Star Initiative. Our team at Elizabethtown Flooring is so excited to offer you the chance to not only transform your home or office into its maximum design potential with our products, but we are also thrilled to be contributing to the fight to restore those rescued from slavery.
In 2022, we are also partnering with Align Pregnancy Services semiannually to bring about a change for freedom for mothers in our area – to support them with Pregnancy Services, Parenting Classes & Support, & Post-Abortion Support.
WHY IS TRAFFICKING A BIG DEAL, DOES IT EVEN HAPPEN IN LANCASTER COUNTY?
Yes! While there is no way to calculate or know the number of women trafficked in Lancaster County. In PA, the 2019 statistics state there were 271 reported cases (actual trafficking victims could be in the thousands in PA due to unreported cases). PA is ranked #9 in the U.S. for trafficking in 2019.
North Star Initiative knows all about trafficking. For ten years, North Star has been providing restoration aftercare for survivors. First off: For a woman being trafficked, the odds of being rescued are only 1 out of 100. You see, all too often rescue does not mean freedom. Those who are rescued often find themselves at emergency, domestic violence or homeless shelters, none of which address the unique needs of trafficking survivors. Because these shelters are temporary, today, countless women who have been rescued from sex trafficking will have nowhere to turn. Once back on the streets, it is more likely that they will fall back into a life of sexual enslavement or exploitation or be suicidal. North Star Initiative (and Elizabethtown Flooring by proxy) is on a mission to change that.
- 1 out of 100 — For a woman being trafficked, the odds of being rescued are only 1 out of 100.
- 13 years old — the average age of a child exploited through prostitution (some as young as four years old and younger)
- 98% — of trafficked survivors are physically abused
- Seven years life expectancy — Seven years is the average life expectancy of a trafficked victim
- 70% — 70% of trafficked survivors are suicidal
SO, WHAT IS FLOORING FOR FREEDOM?
Flooring for Freedom is our initiative to build awareness in Lancaster County of the frequency of death and enslavement of women. We want Lancaster County to be awake and aware of the slavery and death cycle in our community. Flooring for Freedom is about us giving back through our local business – so that a portion of your next flooring sale goes towards freedom, but if you get nothing else out of this page – all we want for you is to check out North Star Initiative – get involved – be aware – start talking to your friends – share this information – support life. Because we believe there should always be a lighthouse, a harbor – ready to rescue those in slavery. As more women are rescued and restored, more will be sent out to bring awareness to our government and anti-trafficking task forces — in how to combat the demand for trafficking. And our vision is to see a Lancaster County free of slavery, free of trafficking.
LOCAL SURVIVOR STORIES
I spent most of my childhood in and out of foster care. My mother was a drug addict and a prostitute, and my father was her trafficker. When I turned 18, I was given a scholarship for community college and I went, it was good, but then I made friends with the wrong crowd. A guy I knew from my community acted like he was helping me when in fact he was manipulating me. If I hadn’t been arrested, I would still be out there, I just didn’t know how to get out. After I was arrested, I spent a few months in a shelter for abused women. It was OK, but it wasn’t enough. The constant fear was exhausting, my case manager at the shelter found out about North Star; they accepted me, and now I finally feel like I have a place to heal. — Survivor MN
I’ve dealt with heroin addiction for almost five years. After my daughter was born, I relapsed and found myself on the streets. One of the girls I met told me about a way to make money, and I was sick from withdrawal. She introduced me to her friend; he helped me by getting me high, then put me to work. When I tried to leave, he beat me, then he sold me. After months of a daily stream of men and drugs, the police raided the house, and I was rescued. North Star found me at the jail and told me they could help me start again. I’m almost 8 months clean, and I’ve reconnected with my daughter, I have hope for the first time in a long time. — Survivor MB
I was homeless at 20 and didn’t know enough about the world to be afraid. Where I lived there was a large population of homeless, that they called tent cities. I met a friend of a friend who asked me to help him with a project. I had seen him before and he seemed friendly, no one said anything about him to warn me. I didn’t know to be afraid. I was taken to a hotel and kept there. At this hotel, I was threatened, beaten, starved, raped, sodomized, and tortured for over 2 years. No one was looking for me, I had no one to ask for help. I escaped with the help of the police who by chance happened to be close by one night. My trafficker was never caught, I live in constant fear because NO ONE was looking for me, I never want to go back there. I found North Star through a shelter; their home has offered me the safety that I need to move forward. — Survivor CA
At 17 I was new to the town, I had run away from an abusive father, I didn’t really have street smarts. I met an older guy at the local youth group, and we started a friendship. It was a lonely time for me. He took advantage of my weakness and introduced me to drugs, and then he offered me a place to stay. After I moved in, he told me I needed to work to make money for rent, I didn’t have my GED, but he told me that I was a woman and that I had all I needed to make money. He arranged the dates and men came to the house to abuse me. Soon other women came to stay at the house. When the police raided the house, we were all rescued. I thought after I was rescued that I could go back to living a normal life, but the fear and shame were too hard for me, I tried to commit suicide. When I woke up one of the coaches at North Star was by my bedside, my sister had reached out to them. I was scared to move into their home, but I’m so glad that I took that step, they are teaching me that there is hope beyond my survival. — Survivor DR
I thought it was a chance at a new job, he was smart and dressed well. I filled out applications, everything seemed real. He said I would be working at events, handing out drinks and food, there was another girl that worked with him. The first weekend was great, I made a lot of tips. The second weekend he told me he needed me to come out of state, he picked me up at my apartment, I left my son with my parents, I told them I would see them tomorrow. He never took me back, that was 4 years ago. He drugged and beat me, trafficking me and another girl up and down the east coast until I was rescued by law enforcement. I came to North Star right from jail, it was almost too good to be true when they accepted my application. They listened, and for once they believed me. I felt like I had a voice, and for the first time in a long time, I was given the chance to make my own choices. — Survivor BL
More About North Star Initiative
North Star Initiative (NSI) is a 501c3 organization located in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. NSI owns and operates The Harbor, a 24×7 restoration home and program for domestic sex-trafficking survivors. Our goal is for every survivor to leave The Harbor fully restored so she can return to the community and enjoy a life of sustained independence.
North Star Initiative (NSI) owns and operates The Harbor, a restoration home and program for female sex-trafficking survivors. With a maximum capacity of 10 residents, The Harbor is a safe, loving home with the resources and support survivors need to address their physical and emotional trauma, and where they can experience accessible choices toward independent, restored lives.
Their program participants are biologically female survivors between the ages of 18-35 and are welcomed regardless of their spiritual preference; the program is voluntary, and participants may leave at any time. NSI is a member of the National Trafficking Sheltered Alliance (NTSA), with survivors typically referred to us through its Rapid Referral process or by law enforcement. In cases where the survivor may not be a good fit, they work with our partners to transition her to a facility that can better address her immediate personal needs or family circumstances.
The Harbor’s 6-to-18-month program addresses the “whole” woman from a trauma-specific perspective, and all staff members are trauma-informed. The program is strengths-based, tailored to survivors’ individual needs, and matched to their current stage of change. Each woman participates in individual and group therapy, has access to basic medical, dental and legal services, and receives an education and job-skills training. Survivors are also provided life-skills training in money management, meal preparation, housekeeping, and personal wellness, and they can participate in art and equine therapy.
Their goal is for each survivor to leave The Harbor fully restored so she can return to the community and enjoy a life of sustained independence.
THE HARBOR’S HOLISTIC APPROACH TO RESTORATION:
- A safe, loving home with 24X7 CARE
- Individualized CASE MANAGEMENT
- THERAPY and counseling
- Job and life-skills TRAINING
- EDUCATION & CAREER services
- Personal GOAL setting
- Self-care and WELLNESS
- SPIRITUAL development
- Follow-up and ongoing SUPPORT
OKAY, I HAD NO IDEA TRAFFICKING WAS SUCH A BIG DEAL IN LANCASTER COUNTY AND BEYOND. WHAT CAN I DO NOW TO GET STARTED?
Learn more about North Star and support their movement here: https://northstarinitiative.org
Become an abolitionist here: https://exoduscry.com/abolitionist/
ISN’T PROSTITUTION A CHOICE?
Prostitution is not a choice. Prostitution is primarily the result of a lack of choice among the most marginalized, vulnerable, and defenseless people in the world. MOST WOMEN IN PROSTITUTION ARE SUFFERING from poverty and are pulled into the industry by their desperate need for money just to survive. But the sad fact is that almost no one gets out of poverty through prostitution. In fact, as legal scholar Catherine Mackinnon put it, “they are lucky to get out with their lives given the mortality figures.” No one chooses to be poor when given other options. In addition to poverty, a prior history of childhood physical and/or sexual abuse is commonplace amongst prostituted women. It is extremely rare to find a person in prostitution who has not suffered from abuse before their time in the sex industry. No one chooses to be abused.
“Women in prostitution have a mortality rate 40 times higher than the national average.” – Prostitution Research & Education
Peril is a basic fact of prostitution. The real money-makers of prostitution are pimps, traffickers, and other predatory stakeholders.
As such, these individuals have devised a clever cover narrative that conceals the deeper truth of what is actually happening to those being sold for sex, preventing the outside world from seeing the injustice.
Helena Evans (formerly prostituted for almost 30 years) – “It’s all an act. During my nearly 30 years as a prostitute, I got to know hundreds of prostitutes, and I can honestly say that I don’t know one person who enjoyed it.”
It’s time we expose the truth together and create a world of freedom.
HELP TELL THE WORLD PROSTITUTION IS #NOTAChoice #TraffickingIsREAL #FlooringForFREEDOM
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy.
– Proverbs 31:8-9 NIV
Rescue those being led away to death;
hold back those staggering toward slaughter.
If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,”
does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who guards your life know it?
Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?
– Proverbs 24:11-12 NIV