Fundraiser will help victims of human trafficking

By Sarah Slayman
Staff Writer

Messenger photo by Sarah Slayman
Ester Flores, founder of 1DivineLine2Health, poses with AJ Vanderelli, owner of the Vanderelli Room, in front of their donation based Art Gallery to raise funds for anti-trafficking efforts.

Esther Flores began 1DivineLine2Health in 2021 with the hope of providing safe spaces for victims of human trafficking to heal, particularly in the Hilltop. It is a registered non-profit that provides two safe homes and one drop-in center that is the only site open in Columbus at night. This accessibility draws a lot of traffic, and Flores provides holistic care.

Flores is quick to remember that these people are someone’s child and defines this demographic not as prostitutes, but as “destitute people who lack love.”

Flores herself grew up in a traumatizing environment in the Bronx and witnessed drug abuse, prostitution, and domestic violence. Because of this, she now has the desire to let the power of love help heal victims of human trafficking who are exposed to the same things. She sees their craving for a purpose-driven life and brings attention to the need for compassionate people who can help redirect them.

This March, Flores has partnered with AJ Vanderelli, owner of a long-standing gallery and event space, the Vanderelli Room, to host an art gallery fundraiser for the organization.

Together they’ve curated a gallery featuring 94 donated pieces to help raise funds for 1DivineLine2Health.

According to the US Department of Justice, human trafficking is “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.” At any age a person can be exploited in different forms by being forced into prostitution while being drugged in the process.

Ohio nationally ranks fourth for human trafficking and second for opiate overdoses, and the Hilltop exemplifies both of these issues.

“The new ‘pimp’ is the dope man,” said Flores. “When you don’t have a place to heal, you are hopeless and stuck in a dead cycle.”

The non-profit 1DivineLine2Health believes that you need a safe place to call home in order to heal, and tends to these women’s trauma with a holistic approach. They provide tangible needs such as clothing, hygiene products, medical supplies, Narcan, and food, but also meet them emotionally.

Flores sees the power in simply giving them a safe space to belong and heal. They develop friendships and participate in simple healing activities such as art therapy, cooking, exercise, etc. Flores sees how these things all emit a sustainable and healthy dopamine response, which is what these women are seeking after all.

“As dirty and dark as this is, we’ve got some hope,” said Flores.

The team has witnessed countless stories of grateful women who are now sober and out of their destructive environments. One single mom was struggling with addiction and trying to make ends meet. Flores’ team equipped her with the support and resources she needed to obtain sorority and build to what is now a profitable jewelry making business. A common effect of humanizing these people is sobriety and a healthier life built elsewhere.

Vanderelli said that, “You watch the light return to their eyes.”

To donate, purchase art, or to learn more about the organization, visit 1dl2h.org.

 

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