Second Rising was begun as a means to help those who have been rescued from or left sex trafficking/exploitation.

Sexual exploitation/trafficking is something that is not talked about much but is a very real thing and is in every country and almost every city. Too many people have the attitude or thought that “not in my city/town/backyard”. But I can tell you from personal experience, that it is where you expect it and it is where you don’t. When I was a very young teen in a middle class neighborhood right next to an elementary school, it was real to me because I fell victim to it. Now it seems like it was a lifetime ago, but for too many women and children it is a very real suffering thing happening to them right now.

Children and impressionable teens are especially vulnerable to being exploited and trafficked. The state of society today and the unsupervised use of internet has made sexual exploitation of children and teens easier and sex trafficking has grown incredibly. Some of the things that can lead a person into or make a person more vulnerable to being trafficked are:

  • force
  • drugs
  • mental manipulation such as falling in ‘love’ with someone who misleads them into sexual bondage/slavery or by threatening to harm those they care about
  • poor self image
  • neglect
  • poverty
  • being homeless
  • being sexually abused as children

Sexual exploitation/trafficking is bad for many reasons. Some of the reasons that it is harmful for the victim are:

  • demoralizing
  • shameful and humiliating
  • usually is or becomes physically hurtful
  • emotionally scaring
  • can lead to unhealthy relationships in the future
  • STDs and complications from them
  • health problems from the physical abuse
  • drug and alcohol dependencies
  • can lead to depression and suicide
  • unplanned pregnancy
  • prostitution in adulthood

This is a problem that should not be ignored. Even if we cannot act on it, we should become aware of what is going on. Each one of these victims is someone’s child, grandchild, cousin, aunty, or mother. If the victim was someone dear to us, what would we do? What would we do to protect them from it or help them if they were rescued?

Many more boys, girls and women are rescued from sex trafficking than there are safe places for them to go. And many of them, for lack of a safe place, services, and a structured healing environment, end up in abusive situations again. Although sexual exploitation would seem like something one would not fall back into once rescued from, the mental and emotional damage and drug addictions that can be inflicted on the victims do make them very vulnerable in ways that can be hard to understand by someone that does not have experience with it or helping those that have been exploited by it.

Currently I am looking for a safe place that has sleeping space for about 8 girls/women. With a place I can accommodate some of these girls/women on the wait lists who are in danger of falling back into the same situations they came from. I can provide a structured environment and, in house or refer out, for treatments such as therapy, drug treatment, medical treatment, and further education for those that need it.

The bakery is a means to provide real job training for them and to support this mission. In Virginia the cottage food laws allow for baking in a home kitchen and selling at Farmer’s markets so long as the kitchen can pass home health inspections. While healing they can keep their hands and minds occupied by helping in the bakery as they are ready for it. From my own personal experience, baking cookies was a way of healing because cookies can make people smile. Genuine smiles. Not nasty hurtful longing smiles. As they are ready they can devote more time to actually working at the bakery as job training rather than just as something to do. Even if baking is not something they would like to pursue, working at the bakery is bonafide job training.

To give credibility to my ability to get this mission going and functioning:

  • I completed the Together We Bake spring 2015 course and received my ServSafe certification through it.
  • I completed the Empowered Women International business course this summer 2015.
  • For day to day experience in what is involved in running a bakery I worked at Great Harvest for over a year.
  • I have been running my own growing bakery successfully since May 2015

But I am one person and am limited in what I can do. If you can help in any way, please contact me at secondrisingbakery@gmail.com. For current info on Second Rising check out the Second Rising Facebook page.  Thank-you very much for your interest and support of Second Rising!


Rebecca Lazar