First-time grant recipient helps survivors of human trafficking thrive
Rachel Socorro doesn't call herself a survivor of human trafficking, but a "SurThriver." In the five years since she gained her freedom from a captive marriage, Socorro herself has not only thrived, but has guided other survivors on their journey to healing and freedom.
In 2017, Socorro founded Women Revived Ministries, a nonprofit that offers resources to community members who have been impacted by human trafficking and other forms of domestic violence. Since then, the organization has expanded to serve all of Northeast Ohio, housed 10 individuals through a safe housing program, reached over 500 individuals through in-person and online programs, and directly served 150 people.
A few aspects of the organization set it apart from other similar programs in the region. Socorro explained, "Our program is operated and led by prior survivors. This gives us unique insight on how to best service our community members and support them in their journey toward freedom and safety."
Funding Makes an Impact
Women Revived Ministries received a $2,500 grant for its Operation Promise Land program during Akron Community Foundation's Health & Human Services cycle in December 2021. When asked about what difference the funding made, Socorro said, "The foundation was my first grant for Women Revived Ministries. Working with ACF has really increased our credibility as an organization and highlighted our effectiveness in programs to support survivors."
Through Operation Promise Land, Women Revived Ministries offers transitional housing, safe transportation, economic education and holistic rehabilitative services to residents. Socorro plans to expand the program soon, as she is also partnering with a local real estate investor to buy additional properties, allowing for more program participants.
A Vision for the Future
After expanding so rapidly over the last five years, the board of Women Revived Ministries continues to think of new ways to serve survivors. Forming new partnerships in the community is imperative to reaching and serving more survivors.
Socorro reflected on the importance of outreach in fulfilling the organization's mission, stating, "We have established connections and are looking forward to expanding our partnerships with Akron Public Schools and more local businesses, especially within the beauty industry, in Summit County. We have identified these establishments to be very effective at helping us identify victims and educating the community."
By December 2022, the organization has specific plans to expand its services by offering more families transitional housing, advocating in court cases on behalf of clients, and assisting more individuals in leaving captivity, among other services.
Socorro shared that along with meeting these goals, Women Revived Ministries measures its success by the people it has helped "SurThrive."
"The program's clients are living proof (that) our methods and efforts are effective," she concluded.