The Genesis Project is a place that offers hope for a new life. We were lucky enough to stay at their facility in Seattle the weekend of our launch. We met some really incredible people doing really incredible things and want to tell you about it.
Genesis, meaning offer a new beginning, is what Seattle Police Officer Andy Conner wanted to offer girls involved in prostitution or "in the life." As he patrolled the streets in 2005, he became discouraged with all the girls walking the streets selling their bodies. He felt that he had no choice but to arrest them. But he soon realized that arresting didn't help. As he began seeing the same girls again and again, he began asking her "why do I keep arresting you? Why are you still out here?"
"I don't want to be here. Will you help me get out of this life?" she said.
Officer Andy quickly realized that his perception was wrong. He assumed that these women are out on the streets of their own free will and that arresting them was the proper response. He quickly realized there were not resources for women wanting to leave the life and that, more often than not, they were being forced or manipulated into selling themselves by a family member or a pimp.
With that, he opened The Genesis Project's door in 2009, which operates as an emergency drop-in center for victims of sex trafficking. Whether they need clothes, rest, a shower, or to talk or learn about additional resources, the employees at The Genesis Project are there for them in whatever way they need. They often don't know what each day will hold. Some days no women drop into their facility, some days they may have 8 girls come in seeking help. Day in and day out, the employees so graciously wait and respond to what comes their way - whatever and whoever it might be. They wait with open arms.
They want to help these girls heal their hearts. We got to hear a story of a girl named Hope who, because of The Genesis Project, has been able to begin a new life. She was going through a rough patch in her healing journey, doubting that she would ever break through from the trauma she has endured, so we wrote letters to Hope to encourage her to continue moving forward, to remind her that she has a team of cheerleaders behind her supporting her in how far she's come. We were reminded more than ever why we are riding 1,700 miles down the coast.
While we are riding to raise money for The Refuge for DMST, there are so many areas that need attention in the fight against sex trafficking. It is not a one man job. We need focus in areas such as awareness, education, prevention, emergency shelters and restoration. They are all a piece of the puzzle and equally as crucial to the fight. Often times, girls who seek help at The Genesis Project are referred to long term healing centers like The Refuge Ranch.
We want to thank the Genesis Project for not only allowing us 11 girls and our bikes to take over your space for two nights, but for showing us what amazing work is being done to provide victims a place to go that will welcome them with open arms. We need more places like The Genesis Project, so thank you for setting a beautiful example of what we can do to heal these girls.
All our love,