I am so excited to have the opportunity to introduce you to Chris Smith of Restore One. I have been in the fight against sex trafficking for almost five years and every time I speak I’m asked these same questions:

  • What about boys?
  • Does this happen to boys?
  • What is out there for boys?

I’ve had sketchy answers at best. Well, today, you’ll hear some of those answers and more. Meet my new friend, Chris Smith.

How did you, as a guy, get involved in the fight?

My wife and I were youth leaders for four years. We always felt called to minister together. Our youth group participated in a walk to end human trafficking that came to our area. We did the walk and I thought that was that. Anna, my fiance at the time, started researching the issue of trafficking. She spent some time working with Emily Fitzpatrick at On Eagles Wings in their Hope House. She felt like we were to have a similar safe house.

I felt called to youth ministry. She felt called to running a restorative care home. Thankfully, she prayed and let God do the work. She simply asked that I research human trafficking. I found that all of the articles were about women. There weren’t enough men engaging in the fight. I felt a tug on my heart.

God called us to quit our jobs three months before we were married and start raising support to step into the anti-trafficking fight. We spent eight months with Triad Ladder of Hope in High Point, North Carolina. I became really sick while we were there. During my recovery time I heard the Lord tell us to branch off. So we launched Restore One in our living room with the two of us and a white board. We raised support and applied for our 501c3. Our mission was to raise awareness, prevention and restorative care for girls.

How did you go from planning to have a restorative program for girls to being the first restorative care home for boys of sex trafficking?

We attended a conference where Dr. Sharon Cooper was one of the speakers. She stated there was nowhere for boys who were trafficked to go for help. So in the summer of 2013, our organization took on a new culture. We desire to see freedom for all, but our focus shifted to boys. Our mission became to raise awareness of the issue and to provide restorative care for boys and men who come out of the life.

Tell me about Anchor House. Anchor House

It is the first restorative care facility that we know of in the nation for boys. If someone has a home in California, we’d be on a plane the next day to learn from them. We just haven’t found anything out there in our research. There is great work being done out there int he fight for girls and women. Our desire is to see help offered to boys and men.

We have purchased ten acres of land in a secluded area. In January 2015 we will break ground on phase one of our program. We are fully funded to do so and are currently debt free. Once we have phase one up and running, we’ll concentrate on expanding.

Phase one will be able to serve four boys in one cottage with a set of house parents. We feel it is important for them to feel like they’re in a family atmosphere instead of a clinic. They’ll have individual bedrooms with Jack-and-Jill bathrooms.

There will also be a community building where the teaching and counseling sessions will take place as well as recreational activities. The community building will house a library, a living room, therapy rooms, a commercial kitchen, a cafeteria/universal room, and a courtyard with a fire pit.

We will have a licensed social worker and the boys will be home schooled.

To see a floor plan for the Anchor House, you can go here.

Will the care plan for your boys look similar to that of the care facilities for girls?

We’ve done a lot of research and learned restoration for boys looks different. Trauma is trauma, but boys deal with their trauma differently than girls. There will be more one on one work than group work. Boys want to play, to sweat and to be aggressive. That will be implemented in the program.

What type of person would come to Anchor House?

We will serve boys between the ages of 12-18. These are boys who are no longer in the life and may have gone back to their family or foster care. If there’s any type of drug or alcohol addiction, they will have gone through detox and had some initial counseling. They won’t be coming straight from the street to Anchor House, because we couldn’t risk them triggering someone who is already in the program.

What are the greatest needs for Anchor House right now?

Like any restorative care program, financial support. We have the property and phase one covered, but we still have to staff the facility and pay for the care of the boys. The estimated operating budget for four boys and a full staff is $300,000 a year. People who want to partner with us can give financially here or we have an apparel line that helps fund our work and they can learn more about it here. (Great Christmas present ideas.)

To keep up with the happenings of Restore One and Anchor House, you can follow them on Facebook here. Or follow them on Twitter here.

To learn more about sex trafficking and how it impacts boys and men in the United States, you can read the ECPAT study released in 2013 here.

Educate yourself. Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves [Proverbs 31:8].

Raise your voice for hope!