Finding Freedom In Every Story
Welcome to the Freedom Community. We want you to feel like you belong here. We are made for freedom. By sharing stories of freedom, we will find ourselves more free too. So come and join us on this journey to freedom.
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.
ENDING EXPLOITATION, ONE GIRL AT A TIME
In the year following Lauren Byler's college graduation, she was given the opportunity to travel abroad as a language and cultural intern in North Africa. She initially thought it would simply be a time of learning about Moroccan culture and the language before moving on to achieve her dream of becoming a famous historian.
Yet the passion and drive of Lauren’s life took a drastic turn when she met Sara, a middle class divorcée with a teenage daughter. When Sara invited her over for tea, Lauren watched as a young girl shuffled into the room to serve tea. Assuming the young girl was the woman’s daughter, Lauren immediately stood up to greet her until Sara brushed it off, flippantly saying, “That’s not my daughter; it’s my maid.”
I’m a girl who born as a result of a prostitution. I opened my eyes finding myself moving from family to family, house to house, hand to hand. By the time I turned 20 years-old I had lived with 20 different families. They were not relatives, each one of those families have their own routine of life, system, habits, traditions, and culture and you have to fit in, sleeping time, eating time, talking time, watching time, if they are conservative you have to be conservative too, and if they are open minded you have to be like them too. It means you have to reformat yourself before putting your first step into each house. At the beginning this was very difficult, but with time it didn’t really matter to me as much as finding good treatment. Unfortunately, most of them they share the same rules. Nothing for free. you should be a babysitter, a housekeeper, a cook. Some families hit me or kicked me out because I didn’t do all what they want from me. Others I ran away from to save myself from being raped, abused, etc...
"All my life I’ve been like a prospector, but instead of looking for treasure, I’m looking for a family."
Our Partner's Stories
The Bus Stop
"In a community where trafficking feels so real yet so far away it was amazing to bring this type of awareness so front nd center. Our patrons loved giving back to this incredible organization and even more so loved the chance to learn about practical ways they can partner with beauty for ashes."
"I volunteer with BFA to spread the word about exploitation in hopes of helping one girl at a time and someday putting an end to exploitation."
"We are passionate abolitionists and love multiplying impact by partnering with organizations around the world who fight human trafficking."