ROBERTSDALE, Alabama — The founder of a local organization that provides support for victims of human trafficking came to the Robertsdale City Council Monday, Aug. 2 asking advice on possibly building a shelter in the area.
“Right now, we’re just looking for advice,” said Allana Chris, founder of “The Little Tree Project.” “We believe that Robertsdale would be the ideal location to build a shelter and we’re hoping we can make that happen in the near future.”
According information provided at the Aug. 2 meeting, the Little Tree Project “exists to globally eradicate human trafficking through prevention, rescue, rehabilitation and restoration for survivors of any form of trafficking and exploitation. Our survivor-driven and solution-based model will provide hope, purpose and healing through a holistic continuum of aftercare, safe residence and job opportunities.”
As a 501c3 nonprofit, The Little Tree Project is making progress in receiving funding and support to make its mission a reality.
“The Little Tree Project envisions a lasting global change in the issue of human trafficking through its model of individualized aftercare, residential housing and living wage job opportunities.”
Aftercare services provided by the organization include education, specialized therapy and counseling, medical care, life skills, trauma informed care, safe transportations, financial assistance, career and job training, safe living wage job opportunities, addiction and substance abuse recovery, tattoo and scar redemption and legal assistance.
As a social worker, Chris said, she has more than 20 years’ experience working with the shelter in Mobile. While there was a shelter that operated for a time in Summerdale, it was limited to only being able to shelter one or two victims at a time, she said. She is hoping to be able to house as many as 12 victims.
Currently, Chris said, she works out of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Robertsdale and employs a social worker, who operates out of Fairhope.
Chris said they work closely with the Child Advocacy Center and domestic violence shelters in the area, and are certified by the National Trafficking Shelter Alliance.
While their identities are confidential, Chris said, the organization also operates with a fully functional board that includes those who have helped build million-dollar companies, a retired FBI U.S. attorney prosecutor, a high security facility architect, a digital security, computer software and electronics developer, company executives and entrepreneurs, those with fundraising experience, educators and training skills and human trafficking advocates.
In other business Aug. 2, the council: