Beauty For Ashes (BFA) was established as a 501-c3 non-profit in 2014 by Lauren Byler (see her story below). Based on her personal experiences and exposure to the travesties of human trafficking and exploitation, Byler partnered with The Center for the Protection of Girls in Ziat, offering classes to young vulnerable girls. Over the years she noticed an incredible need for housing young women and girls at-risk/having been trafficked/escaping traffickers. No longer minors under the protection of the government center, individuals would be released upon turning 18 years of age flung into the hands of trafficking networks operating with impunity and in conjunction with high levels of corruption within law enforcement/ government personnel. These girls are most often abandoned by their families and therefore have no place to go, little to no education on which to rely on, no identification papers or legal right/status.
Witnessing this dangerous cycle play out and recognizing an unmistakable void of transitional assistance within the system, the decision to open a home for young women and girls focused on safely transitioning into society once aging out of the government system was formed. Initially opened in 2013, the surrounding community was very unfamiliar with human trafficking and the vulnerabilities these women and girls faced but the societal mentality of ostracizing these individuals ultimately manifested a number of challenging circumstances forcing the closure in 2014 after 6 short months.
Byler returned to the United States, acquiring her certified counseling degree and establishing a non- profit organization that would funnel financial support from the States and undertake promoting the importance of efforts in Morocco. Returning to Morocco in 2017 with a new approach for educating the public about human trafficking and establishing strong community partnerships with businesses and organizations to create a foundation for the Transition Home.
The home was reopened in January 2018, with space for 6 girls at a time; it has flourished with the successful transition of 19 girls in the last 2 years. BFA has developed and pioneered strong ties within the community and The Ministry of Youth and Sports, which oversees the protection of at risk youth. This is the first home of its kind in Fez Morocco, working specifically in the care and safe transition of vulnerable young women and girls with an emphasis to prevent exploitation through education, restoring victims of trafficking based on individual needs, and breaking the cycle of vulnerability bringing empowerment to live flourishing lives.