Groups work to end sex trafficking

By LOC TRAN

Sex trafficking is the most common form of modern-day slavery and one of the fastest growing organized crime businesses worldwide, according to FBI.org.

Tucsonan Cynthia Magallanes, 29, dedicates her time to ending sex trafficking by promoting public awareness of the crime and helping those who have suffered.

“I survived and healed from a traumatic experience that led me to teenage years of promiscuity,” Magallanes said. “I felt used. I felt worthless. I felt dirty. But none of those determined my value.”

After learning more about prostitution and demand for sex trafficking, Magallanes felt an urgent need to get involved locally.  Her drive to help victims of sexual exploitation led to her creating Free Ever After.

“I was asking God to really help me make a difference,” she said. “In that moment, it was as if a light bulb turned on because it was so clear.”

Magallanes explains she saw a wedding dress in her head and recognized the potential.

“A wedding dress is beautiful and very valuable,” Magallanes said, “but once it’s used, its purpose is now to hang in a closet or in a box in storage with no chance to shine.”

Free Ever After sells donated wedding dresses and formal gowns.

All profits go to victim services and prevention programs such as Sold No More, a nonprofit organization working to eliminate child sex trafficking in Tucson.

Sold No More and Free Ever After work together to collect dresses. The nonprofits have received more than 250 donated dresses and recently opened a boutique at 2469 N. Country Club Road.

The boutique’s motto is “a used dress for a new bride, a new life for a renewed girl.”

Former Pima Community College student Simone Taylor wanted to volunteer with an organization that fights child sex trafficking, and discovered Sold No More in February.

“Everyone at Sold No More and Free Ever After is loving, kind, inspiring, encouraging, funny, intelligent and caring,” Taylor said.

“We are all able to share our faith with each other and I am inspired.”

Magallanes said her favorite part of being involved with the groups is seeing the community come together and spark new passions for important causes.

“To see each woman bringing in their most treasured keepsake and give it to us so in turn a girl can have a new life is priceless,” she said. “It’s the kind of thing that gives you hope in humanity.”

Free Ever After is open Tuesday-Friday 1-5 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

The organization is looking for interns including administrative assistants, social media marketing, fashion designers, bridal consultants, fashion bloggers, graphic designers and an event coordinator.

To apply for internships, send résumés to info@freeeverafter.org. Write “internship résumé” in the subject line.

Cynthia Magallanes sorts through donated wedding dresses at Free Ever After. (Aztec Press photo by Loc Tran)

Cynthia Magallanes sorts through donated wedding dresses at Free Ever After. (Aztec Press photo by Loc Tran)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comedy fundraiser slated for May 9

A “Free to Laugh, Laugh to Free” comedy fundraiser will be held May 9 from 7-9 p.m. at Victory Worship Center, 2561 W. Ruthrauff Road. Tickets cost $20 each and all proceeds benefit Sold No More.

For further information, email info@freeeverafter.org.

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