Victoria Chanel is a real life superhero. The founder of Children’s Safe Haven and Band of Hope is committed to helping provide awareness and resources to those affected by child sex trafficking. Currently, she is partnering with International Network of Hearts to build a new home that will house up to fifty children that have been rescued from sex trafficking.
In 2018, Chanel’s life would change forever. Up until that point, she had built a career in brand marketing for various companies before a chance encounter would lead her to Operation Underground Railroad – an organization that exists to rescue children from sex trafficking and sexual exploitation. After viewing a documentary about their work, she realized that she had found her life mission. “I was introduced to Operation Underground Railroad and watched their documentary Operation Toussaint. It really struck a nerve… My first mission trip was to Haiti and the kids in the documentary looked like the kids that I had held and helped.” The documentary changed her perspective. Until now, she had not been aware that sex trafficking existed. With more study, she began to educate herself and to ask herself the question. What if this was my baby? After a season of working closely with Operation Underground Railroad, she realized that while the rescue was certainly important, the hardest work was providing continued support to the survivors. “Helping them to heal, and feel normal again is so hard and emotional, but necessary.” That’s when she realized her new calling. One in every four children have been affected by trafficking. She dedicated her life to helping these children.
Fast forward today and she is the founder of Children’s Safe Haven – a non-profit organization that is dedicated to supporting organizations that are helping trafficking victims. Although she is committed to helping, she admitted that it isn’t always easy. “There are so many pieces, it can be very emotionally draining.” When she is feeling down, she reminds herself of the cause. Giving children a second chance at life. Her company helps organizations to provide around the clock care and therapy, nurseries for the babies that arrive, and other essentials that they may not have received while being exploited. “I think one of the smallest, but important things is, giving these kids a birthday. Many of them have never celebrated a birthday in their life.” Other services include, medical/dental care, education and housing.
Not everyone is called to a life dedicated to fighting this cause, but Chanel does believe that everyone can play a part. “There are three ways that you can help. First, educate yourself. Sex trafficking is a real thing and it is happening right here in America.” Once you understand what is going on, learn the signs and share it with others. The third step is to take action. Whether you are a business owner, a student, politician, or entrepreneur, ask yourself how you can help these children.
While she has goals to help as many kids as she can and to help launch children’s homes to give them a safe haven, she is currently focused on a major dilemma. “There are twenty kids that survived trafficking that are about to lose their home and we have an opportunity to change that.” In partnership with International Network of Hearts, Chanel is looking to raise funds and awareness to build a new home for these survivors by hosting the “ Together We Build” Gala. This home would have capacity to host fifty children – enough to help the twenty children that are losing their home with room to help thirty more.
Victoria is committed to providing love and a second chance to sex trafficking victims from around the world. If you are interested in attending the Gala or learning other ways to support this mission, you can visit the “Together We Build” Gala website. You can also keep up with Victoria by following her on Instagram