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Breaking Free Awarded 
2014 Bush Prize for Community Innovation

We are proud to announce that Breaking Free has won a 2014 Bush Prize for Community Innovation. The prize is awarded to organizations that have demonstrated a strong commitment to creative, innovative problem-solving. 

“We are very honored to win a 2014 Bush Prize,” stated Vednita Carter, founder and executive director of Breaking Free. “Winning a Bush Prize demonstrates that the community is committed to finding innovative, survivor-led solutions to ending sex trafficking and prostitution.”

Taylor Mitsch, Safe Harbor Regional Navigator, and Bianca Emmons, Youth Advocate

One of the only agencies in the nation led and driven by survivors of prostitution and sexual exploitation, Breaking Free helps women and girls escape systems of sex trafficking. The staff’s unique knowledge, skills, and expertise provide a deep well of resources for the more than 500 women and girls the organization serves annually.

“Breaking Free is grounded in the belief that prostitution isn't a choice for women and girls but a lack of choices,” said Carter. Breaking Free provides advocacy, direct services, housing, and education in St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Rochester, Minnesota. “To assist survivors in starting new lives, we rely on strong relationships with law enforcement, the courts, other service providers, and community networks. Breaking Free also advocates for changes in systems and attitudes around sex trafficking so that we can ensure a safe future for all women and girls.”

Breaking Free Founder and Executive Director Vednita Carter and Board of Directors Chair Kathleen Mitchell

Since its founding in 1996, Breaking Free has helped more than 6,000 women and girls escape sex trafficking—breaking a cycle of poverty, addiction, rape, abuse, and degradation that often passes from one generation to the next.
The Bush Prize honors and supports organizations with a proven record of creating innovative solutions to address community challenges and opportunities. Winners are chosen for innovations that have been developed through inclusive, collaborative processes focused on making the most of community assets, and that are more effective, equitable or sustainable than existing approaches.

Joy Friedman, Training and Outreach Coordinator

“Breaking Free has a remarkable story of innovation that is a testament to the power of inclusive, collaborative, and resourceful problem-solving,” said Bush Foundation President Jennifer Ford Reedy. “We are thrilled to promote this innovative organization and provide it with creative capital to tackle its next big idea.”

Kaitlyn, Breaking Free intern, sorting donations from the community for Breaking Free's clients.

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Breaking Free was established in October 1996, by Vednita Carter, Founder and Executive Director, as a non-profit organization serving women and girls involved in systems of abuse, exploitation, and prostitution/sex trafficking.Phone: 651-645-6557
Address: P.O. Box 4366, St. Paul, MN 55104