Author: Andrea C. Powell Founder, Karana Rising | Date: 29 April 2020
WASHINGTON, DC – Karana Rising, a Washington DC-based collective of survivors of exploitation and human trafficking from across the country, launched a new virtual platform today that helps survivors connect providing aid and support to each other and others in the face of the pandemic.
As survivors of sexual abuse, exploitation and extreme trauma, survivors in Karana Rising’s network are uniquely equipped to understand the dangers of these times and also in how to thrive in a state of uncertainty, grief, and fear.
The effort has inspired survivors to reach out and contact the organization to share and get support from as far away as Nigeria and Serbia to as close to home as Washington, D.C., Dayton, Ohio, Dallas, Texas, Los Angeles, California and Raleigh, North Carolina.
When the decision was made to close public schools in Washington, DC, Andrea Powell, co-founder of Karana Rising, decided to take the organization’s services virtual.
“I have worked with survivors of all forms of human trafficking and sexual exploitation since I was 22 and many of the Karana Rising team were once my clients, and they are now my colleagues,” said Powell.
“When the schools closed, the reality hit that we need something virtual for the long-haul. We are more than a service agency. We are a survivor network using our pasts to create a better future for all survivors, and amid this pandemic, we are doing more for survivors now than we have ever done before.”
Once Bought and Sold on Craigslist, Asia Kyle Helps Lead National Survivor Network
Asia Kyle, who challenged Craig Newmark directly and who’s advocacy on behalf of sex trafficking survivors was instrumental in Craigslist’s decision to terminate its “Adult Services” section, is helping to lead the effort.
“As a survivor of sex trafficking in America, I know how low the bottom of the social ladder goes,” said Asia Kyle, survivor and Advocacy Lab Leader for Karana Rising.
“While America talks about bailouts and stimulus packages and reviving airlines, many of us struggle to provide the basics, like buy bananas for my little girl,” she said. “Many survivors are without jobs now and worry for the future.” “It seems like the only people you see on the news are supposed ‘experts’ who talk about us as statistics. I am that statistic. Yet, I’m going to thrive. I am going to make sure I survive, and the survivors I serve do, too.”
About Karana Rising:
Karana Rising revolutionizes how survivors lead and how survivors connect. We are open-source and expansive. We believe by creating virtual space, we provide survivors real ways to thrive and connect. Here is how:
We host twice-weekly virtual survivor support groups to give space to survivors to share, offer support, and connect. We create daily videos and blogs to share survivor insights and to build our community of allies who can provide everything from “Kids Reading Hour” to “Daily Meditation” and “Yoga” to food and legal assistance. Musical guests share their songs, especially for survivors.
Fecha Talaso, Karana Rising’s director of creative design and marketing, shares her handcrafted jewelry with customers.
Karana Rising provides basic support for food, bills and other needs; Daily videos and blogs by survivors and allies to support a survivor community, weekly virtual meetups with survivors across the country, daily supportive counseling and engagement with survivors worldwide, a new way to “SHOP Survivor” to support survivor businesses and advocacy for survivors wrongfully imprisoned due to their trafficking and now at risk of death due to coronavirus.
Many survivors struggle with how to secure food, housing, and employment. Many are single moms who rely on free childcare or school so that they could work. Now, they are out of work with young kids at home.
Direct Financial Support to Survivors
Each week, we offer survivors a $200 stipend to support their work with us and to ensure they have enough funds to pay for basic needs. We use this time to build an entire virtual mentoring and supportive counseling world so that survivors EVERYWHERE can benefit. Check out our content on Instagram at @wearekaranarising or Faceb
In the next month, look forward to our survivor-designed and coded new website with our SHOP Survivor content where you can find locally made art, home products, and services created by survivors here in the U.S. and around the world. As the world becomes virtual, this is all the more critical in making survivors thrive!
Advocacy for Survivors
Sex Trafficking Survivor and Karana Rising Advocacy lab associate, Tiffany Simpson writes from jail about her arrest as a 17 year old sex trafficking survivor now serving 20 years after being forced by her trafficker to lure another teenage girl into his control. She now uses her current experiences to advocate for the Trafficking Survivors Relief Act and other efforts to vacate the records of trafficking survivors.