The SOAP Project extends throughout the United States to orchestrate outreaches during large events. We partner with local organizations to distribute millions of bars of soap wrapped with a red band that is labeled with the National Human Trafficking Hotline number — 1-(888) 373-7888. The SOAP Project also provides education and resources to high-risk motels.
Trained volunteers help us offer the soap at no cost to motels along with resources to identify and report sex trafficking when they suspect it in their establishments. SOAP Project outreaches are scheduled around high-demand events like the Super Bowl, NCAA Final Four, Indy 500, and many more.
How do we know our efforts are effective and having a positive impact?
- Typically, 80-100% of visited hotels accept the labeled soap during a given outreach.
- Each hotel also receives myriad free materials and resources, including localized and up-to-date information on missing children.
- Generally at least one missing child is identified by hotel staff during each outreach.
- Polaris Project says of The SOAP Project, "The outreach efforts have had a significant impact. The Hotline doesn't have a marketing budget, so we rely on efforts like [theirs] to get the Hotline information in front of the people who need it the most."
- Michigan Crimes Against Children agency reports a dramatic increase in calls to their tip line during outreaches.
- Outreaches typically consist of 30-500 volunteers. Once an outreach is completed, volunteers have been educated in the basics of Human Trafficking.
The outreach efforts have had a significant impact. The Hotline doesn't have a marketing budget, so we rely on efforts like [theirs] to get the Hotline information in front of the people who need it the most.
Four months ago I was in a Detroit motel near the airport and the "John" started to go crazy on me. He was high and beat me and I was scared for my life, so I ran into the bathroom with my cell phone and locked the door. I saw a bar of soap with a red label and called the number on it. The police rescued me and I got into a recovery program and here I am today. Thank you. It saved my life.
I've seen the bars of soap in the motels! Some of the pimps [traffickers] are now going into the rooms with the girls so it's hard to call right away, but us girls on the streets have been talking about it and know it's there. Even if we can't call, it's so wonderful to know that there are people out there that care and are doing this!
During an annual outreach, a team went into a small hotel and showed the front desk clerk the missing children poster. The woman started to cry. She said, "That is my niece's picture. I didn't think anyone cared or was looking for her. Thank you!"
A team of women from the Birmingham Junior League returned for the second year to go out to hotels and were discussing their frustration at not hearing of any result or indication this really worked. They asked to go to the same hotels as the previous year and on their first stop, they went in and the manager was very happy to see them. He greeted them and said, "Oh, you're here with more soap! Did you know a girl was rescued last year after you left?" Within a few days, he had recognized a missing child on the poster and called the police. She was recovered that night. The team left with huge smiles, energized to do even more.
A team came back and reported that a hotel staff recognized a 15-year-old from the poster. They said that she had been there that night with her "Boyfriend". The police were notified and went to the hotel, where they got the male's information. Later that day he was arrested and she was recovered, along with another 15-year-old girl.
Individuals from Northridge Church visitied a hotel in the Detroit area during a SOAP outreach, where a girl was recognized from the missing children poster. The clerk stated that she was there along with another young girl, and the male with them had rented 4 rooms. Police were contacted and she was rescued immediately along with another teen victim. The SOAP team testified in court against the trafficker.
Planning for an Outreach
- An outreach can be done with as little as one case of soap and 4 volunteers. The S.O.A.P. Project provides instructions as well as all of the materials you will need.
- Outreaches can be done with our Training and Instructional DVD, with Theresa Flores or a S.O.A.P. representative coming to guide the outreach.
- Outreaches can be designed to meet your budget. Only $150 covers the cost of one case of 1,000 bars of soap with special labels, SOAP bags, folders, general manager envelopes, and instructional media and handouts.
- To donate a case of soap to be labeled by your group and used for future outreaches, click here. Once it is labeled, it can be mailed back or donated to a local SOAP chapter. Cases of soap can be purchased in the SOAP store.
Interested in getting involved or learning more? We encourage businesses, church groups, service organizations, clubs, college and high school students, elected officials, and survivors to get involved! A group can launch a fundraiser, purchase a case of soap, host a labeling party and then donate it back to The SOAP Project for outreaches in the community. Businesses with corporate responsibility programs can incorporate SOAP Project outreaches as a volunteer option for their employees.
The S.O.A.P. project provides survivor retreats and emergency services nationally, as well as wrap-around services in Michigan to help survivors heal and rebuild their lives.
2nd Wind Survivor Support Group
2nd Wind survivor support group meets monthly at the SOAP Project's Monroe, Michigan office. A licensed therapist and case manager lead the group of female survivors in educational classes, field trips, art and game nights, trips to the zoo, baseball games, and more. The support group is perfect for survivors in northwest Ohio and southern Michigan who want to bond with other survivor sisters.
2nd Wind means Freedom. I am free to live my dreams and soar like an eagle into prosperity. The support group has helped me with clothing, personal needs, and to get away from the chaos of my life. Like going camping, attending a baseball game, going on retreats, and enjoying the spiritual part of being a survivor. 2nd Wind gives me hope for living.
It's so refreshing to be around my survivor sisters and to see them thrive. It helps me thrive even more. The retreat, picnics at the beach, Tigers' games, camping, Christmas party, baking cookies with the nuns, and everything we do together: I look forward to it every month. It's also so nice that the community cares so much to give donations for us and meals for the meetings.
The annual Journey of Grace Survivor Retreat offers a three-day healing and growth experience for survivors. The retreat is designed for women 18 years or older who are survivors of trafficking, are two years or more into their recovery journey and who are not currently in a recovery program. The retreat is best suited for women who have moved from a victim mindset to that of a survivor.
Hundreds of female sex trafficking survivors from all across the US and Canada have applied to attend our weekend retreats. Our goal is to accommodate as many women as possible to help them continue on the path of healing and restoration.
The healing and growth that takes place each year as survivors come together for this non-denominational spiritual retreat provides a positive and enduring impact in the lives of the women who attend.
There's so much about the retreat that touched me. Meeting all my survivor sisters, some for the first time. The classes we had and conversations I had with some of my sisters were amazing and gave me confidence to do more when I got home and become a better person. I loved my roommate and we still stay in touch. The people I met are some of the friendliest I have ever met. The food was amazing and I am learning to cook better. Every single person on that retreat touched my life for the better. It was truly a dream come true.
I grew up in an unhealthy home filled with drug addiction and domestic violence and then was trafficked by a pimp for roughly two years. It has taken me 10 years to get to where I am today, and I got here by hard work and lots of sacrifices. My children endured lots of trauma because of my trauma, and I had to suppress a lot of my trauma just to make it through each day. I lived moment by moment and conquered each goal one by one without ever thinking twice about my own mental health or self care. I poured into my success and helping others — and in doing so I healed and found understanding — but the one thing I could never see was my worth.
The retreat is offered at no charge to the survivors, and as such, generates a significant opportunity for donors to contribute directly to the life of a survivor in need of healing. Donors can sponsor a survivor to attend, assist with their airfare, sponsor a room (contact us for more details). For higher or lower sponsorship levels, contact Theresa Flores for details.
If you are a survivor of human trafficking residing in the United States, you can apply here for the retreat.
Emergency and Wrap-Around Services (Michigan)
SOAP Project staff and volunteers assist law enforcement and trafficking victims at the time of rescue. This assistance includes a safe, calming place to stay for up to 24 hours while long term arrangements can be made. The survivor receives constant supervision, an opportunity to speak to a licensed counselor if desired, as well as fresh clothing, toiletries and food.
Extending beyond emergency services, SOAP Project Michigan offers wrap-around services to include assistance in housing placement, case management, and accompaniment to court. The SOAP Project also works to provide clothing, food, shelter and safety and offers crucial access to trauma-informed counseling and survivor support groups.
For more information, contact Alexis Long
The Liberator Awards
The Liberator Awards were created by The SOAP Project to unite activists who are working to abolish human trafficking. The awards highlight the work of amazing individuals and groups who are engaged in the difficult but incredibly important anti trafficking work.
The Liberator Awards have their roots and namesake in the life of William Lloyd Garrison (1805-1879). Garrison was a prominent American abolitionist, journalist, suffragist, and social reformer. He is best known as the editor of the first abolitionist newspaper, The Liberator. He promoted immediate emancipation of slaves in the United States. In the 1870s, Garrison also became a prominent voice for the women's suffrage movement.
Garrison became famous as one of the most articulate, as well as most radical, opponents of slavery. His approach to emancipation stressed "moral suasion", non-violence, and passive resistance. While some other abolitionists of the time favored gradual emancipation, Garrison argued for "immediate and complete emancipation of all slaves."
While the Liberator Awards began with the purpose of honoring activists in the human trafficking movement, the event is also enjoyed as a "prom" for survivors of human trafficking. As many survivors' childhoods were stolen from them, most did not have the opportunity to attend celebrations such as homecoming and prom. Through donations of time, materials and funds for tickets, survivors receive gowns, shoes and jewelry, and are pampered with professional hair and makeup.
The Liberator Award ceremony has evolved into a full-circle event where those fighting against human trafficking sit side by side with survivors.
For more information, or to submit a nomination, visit liberatorawards.com.
The SOAP Project can't do everything, but almost everything is being done by someone. Feel free to reach out to any of the organizations on our list of partners and resources.