By Claire Golec
For many, soap is just another household object. But for thousands of boys and girls across the globe, soap is a lifesaving tool.
S.O.A.P. – Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution – has distributed millions of bars of soap to high-risk motels annually. Each bar is labeled with the National Human Trafficking Hotline number (888-3737-888) and information about human trafficking prevention. These bars of soap are designed to promote safety and awareness.
On April 27, several Savannah volunteers met to design and distribute soap bars to at-risk motels and hotels in and around the Savannah area. SAVE Savannah (Save Adolescent Victims from Exploitation) hosted the event and were accompanied by SWAHT (Savannah Working Against Human Trafficking).
Toni-Lyn Keller, Armstrong Wesley Fellowship director and SAVE Savannah member, said it’s crucial to find new and constructive ways to approach human trafficking within the community.
“This is not just an event, it is a community coming together to tangibly and constructively act in response to injustice being done to our neighbors,” Keller said.
According to Keller, volunteers who distributed the soap provided hotel employees and managers with the necessary victim identification cards, 200 bars of soap and missing children’s reports.
Senior and health science major Crystal Davis helped to package and distribute the soap. Davis said this was a beneficial idea and she looked forward to participating in more experiences in the future.
“I think it’s important because there are probably a lot of women out there who don’t know where to turn when they’re in this situation, so I think it’s a neat idea,” Davis said.
Theresa Flores, a former sex trafficking victim, founded SOAP in January 2011. Today the nonprofit organization is stronger than ever, with SOAP events across the nation.
According to Keller, SAVE Savannah has hosted three events previously, but this was the first time they participated in a SOAP project. Keller said they have continued and expanded upon Flores’ project to reach out to surrounding communities. SAVE Savannah calls this new expansion a Hotel Campaign.
To coordinate a SOAP event, visit SOAP’s website at traffickfree.com/contact.
For more information on SAVE Savannah, make sure to like their Facebook page, Save Savannah, or contact them at SAVESAVANNAH@gmail.com.