By Nicholette Carlson
WARSAW — Helping survivors of human trafficking and working to end trafficking are two causes close to Dawnna Plummer’s heart.
She spent a year in Thailand working with trafficking survivors and, consequently, learned about its prevalence here in the U.S. When she returned home to Warsaw, she planned to raise money for three months and then returned to Thailand for a year. However, God had other plans for her.
She felt called to build a home for survivors of human trafficking here in Indiana and began the work to do so in October 2015, starting the nonprofit organization Beloved: Not Forgotten. Immediately Plummer gathered a prayer team together and then began to reach out to organizations throughout the U.S. Two organizations providing immense help were Wings of Refuge and Selah Freedom. Women at these organizations helped Plummer put together a business plan and a list of policies and procedures, which she then went through, revised and made her own.
Originally her plan was to open a home for girls age 18 and younger. However, she soon realized it would require a licensed facility with many regulations and foster care training.
After meeting with local district representatives from Indiana Trafficking Victims Assistance Program, Plummer realized there was a strong need for housing for 18- to 24-year-old survivors. While there are two homes for those under 18, those in the 18 to 24 age range have a hard time finding placement.
Currently Beloved: Not Forgotten has raised 5% of its building fund. They recently hired a grant writer who has been busy putting together the proper paperwork to apply for government grants to stop human trafficking.
Once the home is built, Plummer wants it to feel like home. Knowing each person has been through different trauma and heals differently, she does not want to put a time limit on anyone’s stay. She plans to “work with them where they’re at, at their pace,” she explained. She is hoping once girls successfully move through the program, they will return to mentor new girls.
While she is looking at possible sites in surrounding counties as well, she likes Warsaw for its central location. Many women they will help will come from Elkhart and Fort Wayne. The most important part, though, is to remove the women from the location they were trafficked.
Recently, Plummer mentioned, God brought to her attention five or six males in this area who are victims of trafficking. She emphasized that, while it may seem like something more prevalent in big cities, it is also taking place here in town. While many perpetrators have a great deal of money, most look like everyday people. In this area, Plummer noted, it is most common to see people trafficking their children or themselves for drugs.
“My vision is huge,” she said. Eventually she plans to get at least 20 acres and expand so she can have homes for males as well as underage children. Ultimately, “the goal is to be that safe space,” she emphasized. That home where the survivors will be safe and cared for and loved, no matter what.
While many of their events this year were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they do have two upcoming fundraisers. On Saturday, Oct. 24, a craft show and silent auction will be held at the Elkhart County Fairgrounds to support the nonprofit. Indiana Business Opportunity Partners is holding its 10th annual charity bazaar and quarter paddle auction, with proceeds going in part to Beloved: Not Forgotten. The event begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 14. The paddle auction begins at 1 p.m.
Those interested in donating can also do so by choosing Beloved: Not Forgotten on AmazonSmile or choosing Beloved: Not Forgotten or FW150 when shopping at Kroger stores. Checks can be sent to PO Box 962, Warsaw, IN 46581. Donations can also be made on their website, www.belovednotforgotten.net, via the donate button with a card or Paypal.