Last month, President Barack Obama declared January 2016 to be National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, ending with the annual celebration of National Freedom Day on February 1. While this national spotlight does a great job increasing visibility to the problem, we reached out to a cleaning service based in Columbus, OH, that raises awareness about this issue every month of the year.
She Has A Name Cleaning Service was founded in 2015 with a focus on “Cleaning with a cause, cleaning with care.” This organization provides employment to women in the community who are recovering from human trafficking and domestic violence. With Ohio ranking #4 in the country for human trafficking, She Has A Name wants to increase awareness to this terrible issue in our backyard (California ranks #1, sadly). Human trafficking is essentially modern-day slavery where traffickers force victims to engage in commercial sex acts or labor services against their will.
In an NPR interview last year, She Has A Name founder John Rush said, “There’s a growing trend in the marketplace to receive a product or service that’s also connected to a cause. And so, we want to take advantage of that growing interest in the marketplace where people are willing to spend money, and not just spend it to receive something. But also spend it to receive something that at the same time allows them to know that they’re also contributing, and giving, and investing and changing people’s lives.” This resonates deeply with the Cleanify mission, where we’re all about getting people to support local businesses that give back to the community. When we invest in each other, we all become stronger.
We recently caught up with Kelsie Johnson, Managing Director, who gave us a look behind the scenes. The cleaning service currently has eleven cleaners working full-time, who all meet in the early morning to receive their work orders for the day. Some will get multiple homes and others will spend the day at a single site doing deep cleans. Most of these women are survivors of human trafficking or domestic violence, and are able to get back on their feet with this employment.
Johnson was a natural fit for the role which she discovered through connections at Veritas Community Church. She went to school for a business degree and had always shown a knack for entrepreneurship. As a kid, she says she had “a weird niche for liking to play ‘business.’ I made replicas of Bath & Body Works products, mimicking details right down to the barcode.” After graduating, she wanted work that helped other women and that used her degree in the best possible way.
And she’s definitely doing that at She Has a Name. Since their launch, they’ve noticed an increase in awareness to the problem of human trafficking. “Whether you use us just one time or only hear about us, these issues touch lives in your backyard. This is affecting so many people, and you get to be a part of the solution by offering employment [to the victims].”
Beyond offering employment to survivors, She Has A Name invests in their employees by giving them additional job training through Veritas Community Church. “We’re for-profit but we like to say that we’re low-profit. We want to be sustainable, not relying on grants or gifts, and we are. We’re also able to use the money that we generate to give back to individuals.”