In a world where over 40 million people are enslaved and one in four victims is a child, Americans can no longer stand by with their heads in the sand. If you’ve seen the Sound of Freedom movie, you’re probably wondering what you can do about the scourge of modern-day slavery and sex trafficking.
18-year-old Abigail Elliott of Brandon, South Dakota, has already proven that an ordinary teen can make a difference!
Abby planned and organized a Masquerade Charity Ball fundraiser, where all the proceeds (after the cost of the event) would benefit Call to Freedom, a local nonprofit that helps victims of sexual exploitation and offers support services for survivors of human trafficking.
“I think the reason why I chose Call to Freedom actually stems from the time when I lived in Haiti,” Elliott said. “I lived there when I was 7 through 12, and I was exposed to a lot of harsh realities of the world. For example, we had a girl living with us [who had been] a child slave.”
Abby declared, “I want to do what I can now, because I couldn’t then.”
Abigail also wanted to ignite her community to get behind the cause.
“Call to Freedom stuck out to me because I didn’t realize human trafficking happened right here in Sioux Falls, South Dakota,” Abby admitted. “And if I didn’t know that, who else didn’t know this.”
Monica Rilling, director of community engagement with Call to Freedom, stated, “Abigail reached out to me in February , and said she had a school project that she was thinking she wanted to do, and she had to turn it into a reality and challenge herself.”
Abby elaborated, “Throughout this process, I’ve learned how to set up and lead meetings, ask for sponsorships, communicate effectively and professionally, sell a pitch, and ultimately how to unite my community towards a common goal.”
There is a reason the event was a masquerade ball.
“I chose masquerade because human trafficking is such a hidden crime,” Elliott said. “Victims are often right in front of you, yet rarely are seen, and that’s why I chose masquerade for this event for Call to Freedom.”
On June 2, 2022, Elliott presented the Call to Freedom team with a check for nearly $40,000.
Thank you, Abigail, for answering “The Call” and inspiring us with your passion to make a difference! Abby doesn’t want to take all the credit, though.
“I would just like to thank the community for their incredible generosity because this could not have been possible on my own,” she acknowledged.
If Abby’s fundraiser doesn’t sound like a typical school project, it’s because she is studying Entrepreneurship and Global Studies through Unbound, a homeschool-friendly alternative to college.
Abigail is currently working as a private tutor and nanny for a local family. She says, “I have been with them for two years, and they have truly become my second family in many ways! Throughout my time with them, I’ve learned how to care for children ranging from 12 months to 16 years, how to meal plan, and overall how to run a household. It’s been an absolute joy serving this family!”
Abby previously worked as an English tutor, as a Harvester at Cherry Rock Farms, and a Retail Cashier at Plums Cooking Company. “I’ve been in the workforce since I was 14 years old, and it began in my papa’s restaurant,” said Abby. I was in charge of clearing tables, serving food and operating the till on occasion, refilling water glasses, and doing whatever I could to make the waitresses’ jobs easier and more enjoyable. This is where I discovered my love for serving.”