Social media was one of the ways Megan coped with her isolation while she was being trafficked. While her account was strictly monitored by her traffickers, she was permitted to interact with other women who were also in "The Game." Not only did this help normalize Megan's experiences, but it also benefitted her trafficker in that it further reinforced social norms common in pimp-controlled trafficking. When Megan escaped her trafficker in 2012, she left her social media page open to stay in contact with the women she had met across the country during her time of exploitation.
As Megan began to share her journey to freedom through her social media page, her followers grew from 50 in 2012 to 300 in 2015. It was at that point that Megan realized she had an incredible position in this social media network to continue sharing her story and building trust with the women she interacted with there. Free Our Girls formally "adopted" this social media profile in 2015 following an informal observational survey of these social media profiles to better understand the women Megan was connected with. Since 2015, this network is now approaching 1,600 actively trafficked women across the US and Canada. Megan continues to share her experiences with this network, but the network has also become Free Our Girls' main point of initial contact for outreach and intervention.
In 2016, Free Our Girls began sending out Outreach Care Packages on a first-come, first-serve basis each month. Over the course of the year, the organization delivered nearly 120 packages to 45 different women using this social media network. Based on the feedback from the women who received these packages in 2016, we found that the women we have had the opportunity to build relationships with through this program are more likely to reach out for help when they are able to than women who did not receive packages. Beginning in 2018, the Outreach Care Package Program has taken the model of the "subscription box" programs so popular in mainstream culture right now - the woman signs up one time, and she receives a care package each month for the rest of the year.
For 2018, our goal is to deliver over 700 packages to 70 unique women across North America. Each care package is assembled with self-care items and a brochure for Free Our Girls' services. The Outreach Care Package Program is our largest program funding-wise, with two main pieces: the gifts that go in each package, and the postage to cover the cost of delivery. To purchase items in large increments to go in our care packages, please refer to our Supply List for ideas and suggestions requested by the women who received packages in 2017. Each page is mailed in a small flat-rate shipping box or envelope, which costs approximately $8. You can sponsor the shipping for a single package, cover a woman's packages for the year, or sponsor one month of packages, you can make a secure donation here.