Breaking Free

A nonprofit organization

$20,071 raised by 66 donors

80% complete

$25,000 Goal

Since 1996, Breaking Free has helped thousands of women escape sex trafficking and prostitution and build new lives through direct services like emergency shelter, permanent supportive housing, effective healing and support programs, survivor advocacy, basic daily needs, and worldwide policy change. 

"Prostitution is not the world's oldest profession. It is the world's oldest oppression."  -Vednita Carter, Founder of Breaking Free   

Breaking Free is a survivor-centered provider of housing services to adult victims of sex trafficking and their children in Minnesota.  We provide a drop-in center on weekdays from 9am-5pm and permanent supportive housing for 41 family units.  In 2019, Breaking Free opened the only Emergency Shelter specifically for sex trafficking and prostitution victims in Minnesota.

Breaking Free’s own diversity helps to intentionally provide additional support to serve women of color who are disproportionately represented in demographics of the prostituted and trafficked population.

As a survivor-run organization, we realize the critical need for these services. We have spent the last 25 years empowering women while taking ownership of their own bodies and futures. In order to continue this and model that empowerment, Breaking Free, too, needs to be able to provide these services. We can’t do it without your support! 

Nyki, a client advocate, hopes that by sharing her story, she can find meaning in her lived experiences:

Nyki had just moved to a new apartment in South Minneapolis when she was abducted by a sex trafficker while walking to the gas station. She was given a new name and all her belongings were taken from her. She was brought back home by the trafficker, repeatedly violently raped, and held captive at home. One night, her trafficker left and unknowingly left Nyki’s keys accessible. She fled her own home that night. Within days, she was living a new reality as someone without a home. The National Trafficking Hotline advised Nyki to call Breaking Free, as they specifically focused on the trauma that the rest of the world seemed to not understand.

“When I walked in, I immediately felt at home. The receptionist greeted me with a sense of love and understanding that the rest of the world did not have for me in my most vulnerable moment. I completed my intake through Breaking Free and found out about the Sisters of Survival (SOS) class that they held weekly on-site. I started attending the class as soon as possible and was able to graduate the 14-week class in December of 2021. During this class, I learned that traffickers typically have a similar playbook of manipulation tactics that they use. I learned about the prior vulnerabilities that played into my vulnerability the night of the walk. The most important thing that I learned was that I had value and could survive this experience, no matter how intense and painful it felt. 

Breaking Free carried me during a time when I couldn’t carry myself.

I had a place to go when I felt alone and misunderstood. During my time as a client of Breaking Free, I went from homeless, to housed, regained my stability and self-confidence, and eventually was offered a full-time position at Breaking Free as a Client Advocate in May of 2022. 

Working as an advocate has been the hardest work that I have ever done, but regardless of how hard the work is, I still feel so incredibly lucky every morning when I walk through the door of Breaking Free. I forget that I am working during much of the day, because I am with the people that make me feel the most myself, while getting to do work that I personally know can change lives. Breaking Free does what it says. It gives the opportunity to break free from the internal and external bondage that trafficking victims have experienced, and to recreate a life of self-worth and meaning.”

Everyday our survivor-led advocates, like Nyki, walk alongside their sister survivors of this horrific tragedy by providing supplies and resources to address immediate basic needs of food, shelter, and safety. Without the assistance of community-minded individuals just like you, we wouldn't be able to serve up to 500 survivors in our community each year. 

For more information visit or follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook @BreakingFree and @BreakingFreeMN

Organization Data


Organization name

Breaking Free

Tax id (EIN)



Community Humanitarian Aid Emergencies

BIPOC Serving

BIPOC Serving

LGBTQ+ Serving

LGBTQ+ Serving


770 University Ave W
St Paul, MN 55104



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