Our Mission, Values & Vision
people are not property.
No person should be bought or sold for sex. Not here in Central Ohio. Not anywhere.
At Freedom a la Cart, we bring hope to survivors of sex trafficking and exploitation so they can build new lives of freedom and become self-sufficient. We believe that giving a woman practical job skills and developing strong work ethic is vital for creating a pathway to freedom. So, we’ve created a safe place of restoration where survivors can heal, learn and grow as they prepare for sustainable employment and reintegrate into our community.
our core values
Respect and Dignity — We treat everyone with respect and dignity.
Community — We foster a community of trust, compassion, and collaboration.
Growth — We grow by taking risks – boldly.
Beauty — We honor the beauty within ourselves, our world, and our work.
Hope — We build hope for the future.
Freedom a la Cart makes meals more meaningful by deliciously combining fresh, flavorful cuisine with life-changing employment and impactful services to survivors of human trafficking.
We envision a global survivor sisterhood of freedom, connection and mutual support
Freedom is actively raising capital to move into our own building in downtown Columbus that will house a commercial kitchen for our catering business; a new flagship Freedom a la Cart café + bakery; and a first-of-its-kind survivor resource center — the “Freedom Center.” By expanding the catering service into a brick-and-mortar café in downtown Columbus, we’ll be able to reach more survivors, broaden our programing and workforce training, grow the number of survivors employed, and further extend our mission in the community.
We believe our model that joins social purpose with business rationality is scalable, replicable and effective. We envision replicating our model in cities nationwide. It is our strong hope and vision that other cities will employ intentional economic empowerment as a means to break cycles of exploitation.
StephaniePeer Supporter and Human Trafficking Educator
I was a prostitute for 15 years. Freedom gave me an opportunity to redeem myself and gave me back my self worth and a purpose. Freedom means having purpose, having a place where I feel I belong, and loving me so I can love myself. I’ve learned how to have a good work ethic and be a team player.
Over ten years ago, Doma International began a collaborative partnership with Franklin County Municipal Court’s CATCH Court specialized docket. Whereas CATCH was providing an intensive probationary program to help victims of sex trafficking, Doma established a comprehensive community-based support program to foster healing and restoration to CATCH participants. Furthermore, to help overcome barriers to employment, in 2011 Doma purchased a food cart and launched Freedom a la Cart as a social enterprise providing survivors with equitable opportunities for employment. Freedom became the vehicle – literally – through which survivors began the ever important first steps toward self-sufficiency.
Today, we are so much more! What was once a single food cart is now a bustling box lunch and drop-off catering company, grown from the hearts and hard work of the women who sustain us. In 2019, the organization name was legally changed from Doma International to Freedom a la Cart.
As these amazing women continue on their journey of restoration, growth and stability – the ultimate path toward a triumphant return to society – the result couldn’t be more appetizing.
Freedom a la Cart delivers delicious, fresh, from-scratch food created with love and gratitude by a team of free women. Whenever possible, we source locally for our ingredients, giving back to the community that gives so much to us.
Human trafficking, the fastest growing criminal industry in the world, has strong and deep roots in Central Ohio. The Ohio Human Trafficking in Persons Study Commission estimated “that of those American born youth in Ohio, 2,879 are at-risk for sex trafficking, and another 1,078 youth have been trafficked into the sex trade over the course of a year.” As many as 1200 solicitation arrests are made each year in Franklin County. An estimated 92% are identified as victims of human trafficking — trafficked since the average age of 13. As a result, they lack job skills and face complex barriers to employment in the traditional workplace: criminal records, arrested development, traumatic brain injuries that affect logic and memory, post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction and mental health issues.
Through our three primary levels of service: 1) CATCH Court Support; 2) a robust Workforce Development Program; and 3) our Butterfly Continuum of Care program, Freedom a la Cart provides supportive services to over 400 unduplicated survivors of human trafficking each year.
catch court support
CATCH Court is a specialized docket of Franklin County Municipal Court in Columbus, Ohio. CATCH blends punitive sentences with a 2-year treatment-oriented non-adversarial program for rearrested prostitutes who are victims of human trafficking and suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome, depression, and drug addiction.
In strong partnership with CATCH Court, Freedom a la Cart immediately begins providing services to these survivors and building meaningful relationships and a foundation of trust. Freedom staff, mentors and volunteers practice an unwavering commitment to survivors through deliberate and resilient outreach, impactful services, social activities and intentional connection.
Freedom a la Cart understands that in order to move human trafficking survivors out of vulnerability and poverty and into stability and economic self-sufficiency requires more than a job. So, Freedom developed a 24-month comprehensive life skills training AND workforce development program that includes: resource (case) management; job coaching; social connection; trauma counseling; and financial literacy. By addressing this link between impact services, community, and employment, survivors are able to build a life of independence. Our goal is to prepare survivors for personal and economic stability, train them for jobs in the community and link them directly with employers.
Survey results show that the women in our workforce development program are gaining personal confidence; increasing their ability to manage money; planning for their future by setting goals; improving time management skills; learning to communicate effectively and stay calm in situations where they feel stressed, angry or afraid; maintaining a positive attitude at work and in their personal lives; and becoming more self-sufficient.
Freedom a la Cart has provided job training to over 100 survivors – 80 of those being in the last five years of which 83% have not received any new criminal charge since participating in our program.
butterfly continuum of care
Given the impact of the repeated and intrusive trauma experienced by sex trafficking victims, it is not surprising that after short-term treatment some survivors continue to experience difficulties maintaining sobriety, obtaining and holding down a job, paying bills, and reintegrating back into society.
A growing body of research is showing numerous community benefits of peer-based support including: significant healthcare savings; improved social functioning; improved family relationships; improved quality of life; increased employment; reduced substance use; reduced depression and demoralization; and improved chance for long-term recovery. Freedom’s Butterfly Program fills a gap for human trafficking survivors in recovery by offering a community of long-term support with resources and tools to advance their lives as productive members of society.
Services provided include:
- independent living assistance (connection to resources, furnishings for home)
- employment coaching
- peer-to-peer survivor support group meetings
- social gatherings focused on community building
- life skills workshops
- education mentors
- educational or vocational training funding assistance
- driver’s license reinstatement assistance
- tattoo removal
- case management (resource management) services for navigating resources to advance their lives
- crisis assistance (relapse, eviction, job loss, loss of government support, death of loved one). When a human trafficking survivor experiences a personal crisis, FALC offers assistance to help her pick up the pieces and get back on the road to recovery.
“Freedom a la Cart put me back on my feet. They helped me get a driver’s license and completely furnish my first home. Working at Freedom built my confidence…. Thanks to Freedom I was able to make the right steps in getting my dream job and my son back” — Mandie
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Our Management Staff
Social Enterprise Director
HR & Operations Manager
Community Engagement Coordinator
Laurie Sargent (Chef Laurie)
Interim Butterfly Program Manager
Case Manager & Employment Specialist
Larry Armentrout, Vice President
Daniel Bloch, Board Treasurer
Kate Finley, Board President
Raymond F. Moats III, L.P.A.
Christopher D. Schumacher, Secretary
TSG Advice Partners
Melissa Calloway Stacy
CATCH Court graduate, survivor