The name Soroptimist was coined from the Latin term ‘soror’ meaning sister, and ‘optima’ meaning best. As such, Soroptimist is perhaps best interpreted as meaning “the best for women.”
Last night, Dr. Mehlman-Orozco was fortunate enough to present a former student, and survivor of child abuse in the foster care system, with a Soroptimist scholarship. Dr. Mehlman-Orozco nominated her student, writing in part: “In the face of adversity, (this student) has excelled and is on the road to becoming an accomplished, self reliant, empowered young woman.”
Next year, as newly elected President, Dr. Mehlman-Orozco will be donating 50% of her proceeds from her book, Hidden in Plain Sight: America’s Slaves of the New Millennium to Soroptimist International of Woodbridge for a scholarship for human trafficking survivors. Another portion of proceeds will go to graduates of TEAM SummerQuest-a diversion program for high-risk youth in Manassas City.
Although there have been increases in anti-trafficking funding in recent years, a considerable proportion of that money is misused for duplicative or ineffective services, as well as unnecessary conferences or overhead expenses. As such, when possible, Dr. Mehlman-Orozco attempts to raise funds and resources that go directly to human trafficking survivors or juveniles at risk of sex trafficking.
Most recently, Dr. Mehlman-Orozco raised over $200 in gift cards for several at-risk youth in Manassas City. Although it was a small gesture, it went directly to these youth and Dr. Mehlman-Orozco spent the day discussing the risks and realities of human trafficking with them.
The event concluded with pizza and snacks, karaoke, and painting.
When making philanthropic donations to anti-trafficking organizations, it is important for you to promote accountability and ensure the resources are being used in ways that truly help prevent new crimes, protect and restore survivors, or facilitate the prosecution of offenders. Human trafficking is a crime because people value money over human life. This shouldn’t be the case for organizations responsible for combating this scourge.