Face Forward International's mission is to provide emotional support and reconstructive surgery for women, children and men who have been victims of domestic violence, human trafficking or any cruel acts of crime.
The Founders of Face Forward International, Deborah Alessi and Dr. David Alessi, began the organization with a focus on aiding domestic violence survivors, as Deborah is a survivor herself. About 7 years ago however, during their various international travels throughout the Middle East and Asia they started hearing, seeing and learning more about the human trafficking crisis and new they wanted to do something more to help. Outreach began to connect with other nonprofits in the anti-trafficking space locally and abroad. In 2016, Face Forward provided care for a survivor of sex trafficking for the first time, who had brutally beaten and scalped by the person pimping her on the streets of Los Angeles. This helped ignite further awareness within our own community that trafficking is not just an issue in other countries, it is in every country and every city around the world.
Face Forward is in essence the "missing piece of the puzzle" in the healing process for survivors. Our primary focus is on full reconstruction, inside and out. We provide not only the physical reconstructive surgery, but the emotional support services which are the key component in the long term health and healing process. We are empowering survivors to heal, thrive and move forward to do great things with their lives!
- Face Forward
Face Forward and O.U.R. have been collaborating for around three years. O.U.R. is already working to help six women who are survivors of sex trafficking and exploitation to receive treatment from Face Forward in the coming months. The survivors’ treatments have been planned, and we look forward to the day that they can take this step in their healing process.
Face Forward and O.U.R. also collaborated with several other nonprofits in early 2021 for outreach, education and rescue efforts around the Super Bowl in Tampa. It was the first time our teams were able to collaborate in that manner, and provided a great opportunity for all of the participating organizations to meet and learn more about the great work each group does on all different levels in the anti-trafficking movement. “It was truly an inspiring trip to see so many organizations come together with the same intention to help end trafficking,” said Mandi Budd, Face Forward Executive Director.
Photo courtesy of Face Forward
THE IMPACT OF FACE FORWARD’S WORK
The impact of the work that Face Forward does can be seen in the smiling faces of survivors who receive surgery and support from the organization.
O.U.R. VP of Aftercare Jessica Mass said, “Face Forward International is an incredible organization, and through our collaboration, we can now help more survivors receive support in their journeys. Aftercare is extensive. It includes having safe homes, mental health therapy, and education, but it is not limited to these areas. Aftercare also includes community integration, support in creating a social ecosystem, employment, transitional living, mentoring, and medical services. Face Forward is an example of the many aspects of aftercare. We are so excited and grateful to be partnering with Face Forward!”
To learn more about Face Forward and the work they do, please visit their website or follow them on Facebook or Instagram.