Better Makers: Selah Freedom Rocks the Boat in Chicago to End Sex Trafficking

Selah Freedom, a national organization committed to ending sex trafficking (and a Philanthropy Award winner), reports that Chicago ranks in the top five cities in the nation for the global epidemic.

According to the Cook County Sheriff’s office, 16,000-24,000 women and girls in Chicago become victims of sexual exploitation each year.

Sept. 15 marked the organization’s signature event, Rock the Boat Against Sex Trafficking. Aboard the Spirit of Chicago, Selah Freedom champions embarked on an unforgettable celebration dedicated to ending sex trafficking in Chicago and beyond.

The celebratory boat cruise included live music, gourmet food and champagne, a live and silent auction, stunning views of the city, and a moving speech from a survivor.

The annual event raised a record-breaking $200,000 to end sex trafficking.

This year’s Chicago boat cruise was hosted by Dina Bair, Brandon Frein, Kristina Bonesteel, Neal Lenhoff, Matthew Kunkel, Valerie Kahan, Jessica Badgely, Barbara Best, Natalie Bauer-Luce, Molly Eckols Archibald, Amy Taylor Ellis, Mindy Fauntleroy, Suzanne Karpick, April L. Oury, Carmen and Gary Ringhiser, Rita L. Smith, and Mika Stambaugh. Generous sponsors included Fourth Presbyterian Church, Trot Against Trafficking, Matthew Kunkel, Neal Lenhoff, Delta, WGN-TV, and more.

If you see something, say something! Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.

selah freedom: Rachel Wilson, Jessica Huerta, Katie Nathanson, Dina Bair, Elizabeth Melendez Fisher Good, Julia Freedom, Sarah Frazer, Kara Thompson, Valerie Palm
L to R: Rachel Wilson, Selah Freedom Residential Advocate; Jessica Huerta, Selah Freedom Outreach Coordinator; Katie Nathanson, Selah Freedom Residential Co-Coordinator; Dina Bair, WGN host and Rock the Boat Against Sex Trafficking Chicago Co-Chair; Elizabeth Melendez Fisher Good, Selah Freedom CEO/Co-Founder; Julia Freedom, Selah Freedom Director of Philanthropy; Sarah Frazer, Selah Freedom Residential Director; Kara Thompson, Selah Freedom Midwest Prevention Coordinator; and Valerie Palm, Selah Freedom Residential Advocate
selah freedom: Paula Meyer Besler, Elizabeth Moore; Elizabeth Melendez Fisher Good, Lynda Murphy, Jeanne Malnati
Paula Meyer Besler, Selah Freedom Vice President of Advocacy & Operations; Elizabeth Moore; Elizabeth Melendez Fisher Good, CEO/Co-Founder of Selah Freedom; Lynda Murphy; and Jeanne Malnati
selah freedom: Rock the Boat Against Sex Trafficking
Guests of Rock the Boat Against Sex Trafficking Chicago 2019
selah freedom: Dina Bair, Low Down Brass Band
Co-Chair Dina Bair and the Low Down Brass Band
selah freedom: Matt Kunkel, Neal Lenhoff, Paula Meyer Besler, Molly Archibald, Jessica Badgley
Matt Kunkel, Co-Chair; Neal Lenhoff, Co-Chair EMFG; Paula Meyer Besler, Selah Freedom Vice President of Advocacy & Operations; Molly Archibald, Co-Chair; and Jessica Badgley, Co-Chair
selah freedom: Elizabeth Melendez Fisher Good, Laurie Swink
Elizabeth Melendez Fisher Good, CEO/Co-Founder of Selah Freedom; and Laurie Swink, Vice President of Culture and Education/Co-Founder of Selah Freedom
selah freedom: sex trafficking
Impact: The Selah Freedom Outreach Program brings survivors together for counseling, mentorship, and resources through the Sex Trade Support Group.

Emily Stone earned a degree in journalism from Elon University in North Carolina. Along with writing, Stone has a passion for digital storytelling and photography. Her work has been published in Chicago Athlete Magazine. Stone is a supporter of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Stone is a fluent Spanish speaker who in her free time loves a good dance class.