Red Oak Hope: Chicken with a Side of Change

When most folks sit down at a KFC, they expect to eat fried chicken and maybe partake in a biscuit (or five). They certainly don’t expect to begin a global non-profit organization. But sometimes that’s the way the world works, or at least it’s the way it worked for Red Oak Hope’s founder. Sitting across from a woman who simply wanted to go home after being trafficked, the founder heard the woman’s story and learned just how many people had been in her shoes. And so, over mashed potatoes and sweet corn, Red Oak Hope was born.

The Process of Repatriation

Red Oak Hope focuses primarily on serving adult female survivors who have experienced bride trafficking, fraudulent job offers, and/or forced prostitution to pay off debt.

Red Oak Hope works through a straightforward system when repatriating women back to their homes. First, victims are identified, either via referrals or word of mouth. Through questions that establish when and how the individual was trafficked, their history, and their current situation/environment (as well as what they want/need for next steps), Red Oak Hopes starts their process.

After the basics have been established, the real work begins. Starting with intervention and immediate aid, Red Oak Hope makes sure the person's most basic needs for safety are met. With interventions like shelter, stipends for food, a phone, transportation, and medical care, Red Oak Hope’s initial goal is to get the person out of sex work while they are awaiting repatriation.

Once the individual is safe and securely out of trafficking, legal and immigration support can begin. Documents such as birth certificates, passports, and visas are established and provided. Support with immigration via advocacy, informal coaching, and help paying fines the person may have incurred when trafficked comes next as Red Oak Hope works to send them home.

When the survivor is finally safe in their home country, they are able to request connection with long-term aftercare local to them. While it is not always available, Red Oak Hope can help set up everything from airport pick-up to periodic follow-ups with one of Red Oak Hope’s own case managers.  

11 Years of Impact

In the 11 years since its founding, Red Oak Hope has helped over 100 survivors return home and regain their freedom. Whether it’s repatriating Ugandan mothers who had been tricked and trafficked to India or collaborating with law enforcement to directly rescue a minor who had been kidnapped and was being held and abused, Red Oak Hope works to prevent and intervene in trafficking while restoring victims to their freedom.

Learn more about Red Oak Hope’s work to bring freedom, hope, and restoration to survivors of sexual exploitation through immediate aid combined with long-term development to support both individuals and communities worldwide.

*Photo credit Red Oak Hope