Each year, UCF students in the College of Business Administration form teams of five or six to provide support to local charities, leveraging their business acumen and education. This year, an entire class section of more than 120 students took on one Central Florida charity that is helping women escape from sex trafficking and slavery.
“This experience has changed not just my organization, but has literally changed my life and the lives of countless women who have been abused and forgotten.” That’s how Jesse Maley, director of Out of the Life, an Orlando area non-profit organization that provides prostitutes and other sex workers who have been victims of human sex trafficking, characterized her experience with three sections of students from the Cornerstone Course.
With a goal of helping Out of the Life secure a new safe house and four additional beds for their clients, these students set up a structure to work across sections and unify their efforts to manage two benefit events—an art show exhibiting original pieces from Out of the Life clients and a “Zombie Insanity” 5K mud run. The events provided an opportunity to promote the organization and secure partnerships with Ann Taylor Loft, Advocare, Roden & Fields Skin Care, and Skinny Girl Cocktails.
These events netted Out of the Life over $16,000 in donations to help the students exceed their goal of four new beds. In fact, Out of the Life added eight new beds. In addition, Out of the Life was able to add two professional staff members, secure identity documents for five women, and provide dental and medical assistance to two more.
Out of the Life will also serve as a partner in a diversion program for sex trafficking victims. If completed, the program will reduce the victim’s charges to “Adjudicated, Not Guilty.” The FBI established a “human trafficking task force” in its Orlando office, and the Orlando City Council amended an ordinance to make solicitation of prostitution a felony rather than a misdemeanor.