Hidden Treasures Foundation: Freedom by Fashion

Hidden Treasures Foundation helps victims of sex trafficking.



The Freedom by Fashion charity event at Cielo in Rancho Santa Fe

Beaten, starved, raped, manipulated emotionally, and forced to work until meeting a financial quota; Sex trafficked victims are broken and demeaned, no longer seen as humans but as a means of profit. Those who have fallen victim to “The Life” are not living in another country; they live right here in our San Diego neighborhoods. Sex trafficking in the United States has been a pandemic issue, but unfortunately many of us are not aware of its true severity. Trafficking seems to imply people are being moved across continents, however most exploitation takes place close to home. Sex trafficking is an issue all over the nation in urban cities, agricultural regions, and rural areas. These are all prime hubs of human trafficking; localities are not an independent factor. Sex trafficking cashes in billions of dollars a year brought in by those engaged in the destructive predatory crime. 

FINE has joined the with the Hidden Treasures Foundation - who works closely with the Rock Church - to bring us a gem of a night in which most of these hidden treasures we only hope they will one day see. The Freedom by Fashion Charity event will be a spectacular “All-White-Party” held on October 18th and hosted by Kimi Evans of San Diego 6 News. Vendors will flex their prowess in culinary creativity and specialized cocktails, live/silent auctions, and of course a brilliant fashion show put together by FINE’s finest. The evening will ensue with special guest speakers San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Tiffany Mester - a survivor of human trafficking. 

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Hidden Treasures Foundation has become a safe haven for San Diego’s sex trafficking victims. Lynn Burgard, Executive Director of Hidden Treasures Foundation, explains her inspiration for the name of the organization: “The name [is] due to Matthew 13:44, a verse in the Bible that speaks about a treasure a man found in a field,” says Burgard. “He re-hid it and in his joy sold everything he had to go and buy that field. I see three applications of Hidden Treasures for human trafficked victims: Christ sacrificed His life for them because He views them as precious. He found them hidden and brought them to the light.  They are treasures, yet live a life that is hidden from the rest of the world.” 

Victims - usually young girls and women - are trapped in “The Life” with different strategies used by facilitators of sex trafficking schemes. Pimps are notorious for having the ability to recruit young, vulnerable women by creating strong emotional connections often coupled with drug or alcohol dependencies to effectively manipulate them. Soon after winning the trust of the victim, coercion and violence is used to keep them at bay. In some cases, male relatives will act as the pimps to the females in their family. The most vulnerable victims of sex trafficking are young girls who have run away from home due to the abuse and sexual assault they experienced in their former home life.  

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Burgard believes that the most crucial element in the organization is to help victims realize their self-worth. “Possibly the most important application for the survivors’ recovery is that they are a treasure hidden from themselves,” she says. “Hidden Treasures Foundation works hard to give each victim healthy life-restoring relationships, and in this relationship they begin to see the worth that they are.  When they begin to see themselves as the treasures that they are, they fight for their recovery and the life that should be theirs. They are not vulnerable to being trafficked again.”

Helping a person who has been in “The Life” is a profound undertaking. It can not be done without the help of community members. Maximizing resources is essential to assist the unique situation of each survivor, and it can only be done with the help of the community. Freedom by Fashion, All-White Charity Event will be a prolific opportunity to come together in the community and help victims in through awareness and fashion. Only together can we fight this epidemic that plagues our fair city.

To learn more about coming to the event or helping the charity chick here every penny helps: Hidden Treasures Foundation website here.