Tina Frundt has always believed in the power of creative thinking — it helped her survive sex trafficking and become a grassroots anti-slavery leader.
Her creativity has recently caught the media spotlight, allowing Tina an opportunity to show a global audience that freedom and recovery are possible for slavery survivors.
You may remember Tina as the 2010 recipient of the Free the Slaves Frederick Douglass Freedom Award. She was 14 when she was lured from her home in Chicago by an older man and forced into child prostitution.
Since her escape, she has continued to help others break free. She was featured on WUSA-TV in Washington this month, urging parents to talk to their children about sex slavery. Tina warns it could happen to anyone, anywhere.
“If you’re not explaining it, a trafficker’s explaining it to your child and he’s not telling the truth when he’s explaining it,” Tina says.
Today, Tina runs Courtney’s House, a shelter dedicated to rehabilitating survivors of sex trafficking. At night, she and her team walk the streets of Washington in search of victims. She secretly hands them a trinket, containing a hotline number. She says she’s simply doing what nobody did for her.
Tina shared her story at a recent TEDx event. She recounts that, even as a child being bounced around in the foster care system, she came up with ideas to help others, and herself.
“I was always being creative,” she says, “I was always thinking outside the box.”
Tina was also featured late last year on an AOL web series: You’ve Got.
She is an extraordinary example of how valuable it can be when slavery survivors become leaders for the movement.
“When you turn your life around, you try to get rid of the things that you think are negative,” says Tina. “Instead of changing who I was, I changed the way I thought, and did it in a positive way.”