This Social Entrepreneur is Changing the Story of Human Trafficking, with Stephanie Page, Stories Foundation

Stories Foundation is committed to resourcing the rescue and restoration of human trafficking victims through education, advocacy, and microgrants

The Freedom Truck from Stories Foundation

The Freedom Truck from Stories Foundation

Between 600,000 and 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year. 80% are female, and half are children. Can this story be changed? Stephanie Page thinks so.

Stephanie grew up in a safe and happy home. “I grew up in a close-knit family,” she says. “I am the oldest of 4 children, two boys, and two girls. I was a high achiever and a people pleaser. I loved my friends and being social. I loved the church. I loved my family. I was an avid reader.”

Stories Foundation is hosting the Superhero 5K on Saturday, August 4

Stories Foundation is hosting the Superhero 5K on Saturday, August 4

Starting when she was a teenager, Stephanie traveled extensively. This exposed her to a world much different than her sheltered upbringing. After high school, she lived in Ukraine. As an adult, she lived in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina struck. “All of those experiences opened my eyes and changed my worldview,” she says.

In 2012, Stephanie and her mother read the book, Passport through Darkness: A True Story of Danger and Second Chances by Kimberly Smith. In the book, Kimberly shares her extraordinary stories of fighting human trafficking as an ordinary mom. Stephanie was both inspired and outraged.

“The idea that humans could and do exploit the vulnerabilities in others for their financial gain and pleasure makes me angry,” she explains. “It is bad enough that we live in a world where people are hurting for a reason often beyond anyone’s control (cancer, natural disaster, etc.) But then to think that there are people who will exploit those in vulnerable situations. It is simply not OK.”

Stephanie Page, Stories Foundation

Stephanie Page, Stories Foundation

Inspired by what she learned about human trafficking, Stephanie took a fearless inventory of the skills and gifts she had in hand. She decided to begin by educating the public and advocating for those caught in human trafficking. “I’ve always been a speaker and a communicator,” she explains. “So, I thought, I can give this. I can create events. And I can stand on a stage. I can communicate what this issue is, and what our role is.”

By 2013, Stephanie came up with an idea to make a difference. She wanted to open “Stories Café.” Their theme would be “Live your story, share your story, change a story.” Stephanie admits though, “! I am fluent in vision but struggle in administration.” As they began to plan, they began to realize how big of a challenge it is to open a restaurant. By 2015, she formed Stories Foundation as a nonprofit organization.

The Freedom Truck is Born

Starting in 2016, Stories Foundation held several events, centered around food. They were able to raise funds and provide microgrants to two organizations working with those vulnerable to human trafficking.

While watching a television show about food trucks, Stephanie thought, “Wouldn’t that be so cool if we had a food truck, and it spread awareness about human trafficking everywhere it went, and, it served great food? We could share our vision on a smaller scale, and everyone would get it!”

To buy and equip a food truck, they ran a crowdfunding campaign on StartSomeGood. They were able to raise $32,000 in 30 days. They call the food truck the Freedom Truck. The Freedom Truck raises awareness while raising funds to combat human trafficking.

Driving Forward

Moving forward, Stephanie has plans to make an even bigger impact. They are currently raising $100,000 in order to obtain a building. When they do, they will be able to provide training and employment for survivors of and those at risk to human trafficking.

To meet their fundraising goal, they are raising funds on Facebook. They are also hosting a Superhero 5K on August 4, 2018.

Social Entrepreneur Quotes by Stephanie Page

“All the money that comes through the truck goes into a microgrant fund.” @stephaniempage @StoriesFDN Click To Tweet “It’s a way for the community to be connected to the cause through something they would purchase already.” @stephaniempage @StoriesFDN Click To Tweet “My parents were huge examples, and still are of how to love people well.” @stephaniempage @StoriesFDN Click To Tweet “Life is messy for everybody, no matter how you started.” @stephaniempage @StoriesFDN Click To Tweet “We often don’t choose suffering. It’s a byproduct of someone else’s action or, the world.” @stephaniempage @StoriesFDN Click To Tweet “As human beings, we can step into that suffering. We can have compassion. We can cause the change to happen.” @stephaniempage @StoriesFDN Click To Tweet “I thought slavery was over. I had no idea slavery was a thing.” @stephaniempage @StoriesFDN Click To Tweet “All of you who write books, keep going because it changes lives.” @stephaniempage @StoriesFDN Click To Tweet “All I could think was, ‘This isn’t OK.’ And, ‘Why aren’t we doing something about this?’” @stephaniempage @StoriesFDN Click To Tweet “I first had to educate myself.” @stephaniempage @StoriesFDN Click To Tweet “Every person has a part to play in fighting human trafficking.” @stephaniempage @StoriesFDN Click To Tweet “The more I learned, the more shocked I was.” @stephaniempage @StoriesFDN Click To Tweet “I’ve always been a speaker and a communicator. So, I thought, I can give this.” @stephaniempage @StoriesFDN Click To Tweet “I had always thought, to be honest, that prostitutes chose their profession.” @stephaniempage @StoriesFDN Click To Tweet “That was my first ah-ha moment. This is way bigger than I could have comprehended.” @stephaniempage @StoriesFDN Click To Tweet “It’s literally in my backyard.” @stephaniempage @StoriesFDN Click To Tweet “I didn’t know anyone who had been affected by trafficking.” @stephaniempage @StoriesFDN Click To Tweet “No one is immune to being trafficked.” @stephaniempage @StoriesFDN Click To Tweet “Human trafficking is a $150 billion industry.” @stephaniempage @StoriesFDN Click To Tweet “90% of prostitutes are women and girls who have been trafficked.” @stephaniempage @StoriesFDN Click To Tweet “It’s not ‘If you build it, they will come.’ It’s ‘If you build it and market the crap out of it, maybe they’ll come.’” @stephaniempage @StoriesFDN Click To Tweet “Once we raised the money and had to do the thing, I got really overwhelmed.” @stephaniempage @StoriesFDN Click To Tweet “We think that everything should be perfect before we move forward.” @stephaniempage @StoriesFDN Click To Tweet “It’s always been hard, but I think the hard things are the best things, and it’s worth it.” @stephaniempage @StoriesFDN Click To Tweet “Take the first step. Just do it.” @stephaniempage @StoriesFDN Click To Tweet “The more income we have, the more jobs we can create.” @stephaniempage @StoriesFDN Click To Tweet

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About the Author
Tony Loyd is a TEDx speaker, podcast host and the author of Crazy Good Advice: 10 Lessons Learned from 150 Leading Social Entrepreneurs. He is a former Fortune 500 executive with extensive experience in strategic planning, talent management, and leadership development. Tony is the host of the podcast Social Entrepreneur where you can hear the stories of changemakers who are making an impact on the world.

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