Most prominent is the huge sex-trafficking part of the business.
Amy said that she first became aware of the problem of human trafficking at a lecture given by a university professor, Dr. David Batstone, who had initially uncovered a ring that operated out of a Berkeley Restaurant. He started a nonprofit, called Not For Sale, that has made it a goal to “...mobilize Smart Activists in order to re-abolish slavery in their own backyards and across the globe.”
The next year Amy said that she was further encouraged to get involved by a documentary called Call + Response. Justin Dillon, the director, traveled throughout the world recording firsthand accounts from a number of prominent individuals about the modern sex trade. The movie presents the performances of a dozen musicians in support of efforts to secure the freedom of children who were being forced into slave labor. The movie concluded with a number of people who had been liberated from the slave trade singing a song as background to an emotional appeal for people to commit time and resources to ending slavery.
In 2007, Amy and a friend offered a Pilates class in an old Oakland gym and donated the income to Dr. Batstone’s foundation. She quickly realized that she could do more than merely contribute money.
Amy realized that it would never be enough to merely free these young people from the bonds of their enslavement, they require help in setting their minds free from the physical and psychological wounds created by the trauma and abuse they had undergone. They are understandably numb, angry, confused, depressed, anxious, fearful, and in need of people who they can trust to show them the way back to wholeness.
Amy said that her whole life had prepared her to provide the liberating creative art resources that these young people so desperately need because she is a Movement Specialist professional. She guides people through body awareness exercises designed to establish connections between different regions of their psyche and the various parts of their body. Making those connections powerfully promotes wellness and brings healing to body, mind, and spirit. Amy knew through personal experience how effective her therapies are, because decades ago she said she became her own first client and learned to devise restorative and regenerative therapies. “The processes and techniques helped me to cope with my own childhood experiences of trauma and abuse,” she said. For example, beginning in her early years, Amy said that she maintained an art journal as a living document and said that it is instructive to note the contrast between the disquieting and unwholesome pictures that she drew of herself in the ’80s compared to the healthy vibrant images that she now draws to represent herself.
Through her Arm Of Care foundation, Amy is extending those healing modalities to former human trafficking victims. November 2 will be her Fourth Annual Pilates for a Purpose event. The proceeds fund a Creative Arts Therapy program, which encourages participants to apply their natural styles and giftings to their own redemption. Amy’s program is helping children who have been rescued, ages 11 to 19, using dance, movement, language, art, and recreation to process and express in a non-verbal fashion the reactions to abuse, difficulties, and traumas that they could never have put into words. She also offers training with agencies, teaching staff members how to care for themselves in the midst of the emotional turmoil that they get caught up in, as well as how to extend her healing techniques to rescued children.
“We are delighted with some of our results,” Amy said. She said that last year, for example, a group of girls were assigned to make purses out of old blue jeans. They spent hours on the project, and learned a hands-on lesson about regeneration: something torn and frayed could be transformed into a thing of beauty. Each purse had a pocket with a zippered compartment with a notebook on which they could write positive messages and affirmations to themselves. As another example, a 14-year-old girl whose family had sex-trafficked her, initially created an image of her body that used only pale colors and a blank where her facial features would have been. The next year her body map included colors and flowers. The image had a happy expression on her face and a colorful bow in her hair.
“Sometimes we might be discouraged at the progress we make in light of the enormous size of the challenge,” Amy said. “But when we see the results, we remember why it is that we do what we do.