An Open Letter from Stacie Reimer, Executive Director
December 16, 2016
Dear Friend of Amara,
Legal services change lives.
I’ll never forget one of the most heart-wrenching moments of the year. I was meeting with a juvenile client in detention and conducting an interview for court. She was charged with delinquencies which stemmed directly from her victimization through sex trafficking: running away and truancy. With tears in her eyes, she looked at me and said, “Why am I the one in detention? It’s not fair.” I looked back at her, also with tears in my eyes, and said the only thing I could think of: “You’re right, it’s not fair.”
When I first heard about the issue of sex trafficking over 10 years ago, I was shocked. I felt helpless, hopeless and small.
Thankfully my shock gave way to a more productive impulse: investigation. I got busy learning about the issue and about proposed solutions. I learned about wonderful organizations providing counseling and therapy to survivors and about others working hard to raise public awareness and change policy. However, very few people or organizations were providing specialized legal services to this population, which led me to form this hypothesis: legal services change lives.
It has been over three years since the establishment of the Amara Legal Center and I am happy to say that my hypothesis was right: legal services truly do change lives.
As a friend of Amara, I want to personally thank you for your support. The power of your support is tremendous. It’s hard to fully describe the difference you have made this year, but I’m certainly going to try to do that now by telling you about my top three highlights:
● Expansion: Amara experienced significant growth- by adding two staff attorneys to our team, we’ve been able to expand our services to Northern Virginia, while also increasing our capacity to serve our D.C. and Maryland clients.
● Systems Change: Amara provided countless hours of advocacy before the many systems that touch our clients’ lives and as a result witnessed significant shifts in their thinking. From judges and prosecutors who now understand the plight of our clients to social services providers who now understand how to identify sexual exploitation among their clients.
● Visibility: Through increased partnerships with other nonprofits, government agencies and local businesses, we have been able to bring a higher level of visibility to the issues faced by our clients. This has increased the number of our referrals: we had 142 client referrals in 2016 alone.
However, the work is far from done. We’re looking to increase that number of referrals by another 50% in 2017.
At the Amara Legal Center, we dream of a world where the human and civil rights of all individuals are protected. We are honored to fight for individuals whose rights have been violated through involvement in commercial sex, no matter how they came to be involved. This holiday season, we’re asking you to continue with us in this fight. Together, I know we can accomplish great things in 2017.
Please consider making a donation- no matter the size- to the Amara Legal Center. Click here to read all about our fun holiday campaign, the 2nd Annual No Show Ball.
And remember- with your donation, you change lives.
Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones!