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Building a House

Building AJR

Having a physical location to provide safety and support is our longterm goal, but we know in the meantime, we have the ability to serve, support, and assist individuals in a multitude of ways, as we work toward bringing this larger vision to fruition.

Image by Christina @


FLEX (Funding Lived Experiences) is designed to support individuals who have experienced abuse and trafficking, through timely financial assistance to facilitate 

healing, and self-sufficiency.



Our director, Savannah Sanders, has years of experience speaking on trauma and trafficking prevention, in addition to implementing trauma-informed, and trafficking prevention curriculums all over the country. She frequently hosts trainings in the Cottonwood, Sedona, and Verde Valley areas for social workers and caregivers, as well as foster parents.

Q&A With Our Executive Director, Savannah Sanders

What is trafficking?

Any person who has been forced or coerced into trading sex or labor for the monetary gain of another individual unless that person is under the age of 18, in which case sex for the exchange of anything of value is considered trafficking and exploitation even in the absence of coercion, force, fraud, or a trafficker.

What are some misconceptions about trafficking?

There is often a misconception that trafficking is related to the movement of an individual or group of individuals, especially across borders. Unlike drug and arms trafficking, movement of individuals from one place to another is considered human smuggling. Human trafficking is the exchange for sex or labor for compensation/profit.


Trafficking is often seen as abduction and forced, however, in most cases there are complex issues such as poverty, sexual abuse, and other trauma that leave individuals at risk of trafficking. Traffickers are aware of these vulnerabilities and seek them out.

Who is at risk of being trafficked?

Trafficking does not happen in a silo. There are a lot of mitigating factors that leave individuals vulnerable to trafficking. Run away and homeless youth are at increased risk, as well as Individuals with a history of trauma and especially sexual abuse.  LGBTQ youth and trans men and women are also a higher risk group.

Is AJR focused on prevention in addition to supporting survivors of trafficking and abuse? 


Prevention work is key in the anti-trafficking movement. We use a public health model for prevention that tackles prevention from three different points. Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary.

How does AJR work to empower survivors? 


AJR does not use an empowerment model for change because every individual has a unique journey for themselves. We provide support, community, and psychoeducation that gives individuals with lived experiences, the tools and support that they define as needs and wants to navigate their own healing journey. Our goal is to foster healing, and self-efficacy that is ultimately sustainable. 

What sets AJR apart? 


Our heart-centered approach puts the needs and wants of survivors ahead of any savior agenda. We want to make it clear, we are not here to save, but to support, educate, and provide catalysts for change.

What lived experience do you bring to AJR? 


As a mom, social worker, foster parent, and person with my own lived experience of exploitation and healing, I am able to share insights as they relate to gaps in services offered to trafficked and at risk individuals, as well as firsthand and observed perspective to the struggles faced by youth and families in the area.

These experiences, and my years spent speaking and teaching on prevention and healing from past trauma have enabled me to identify the necessary foundations and community support needed to break generational cycles of poverty and abuse. 

What are the longterm goals for AJR? 


Our longterm goal is to create a space for community, connection, and healing that supports the financial, emotional, and long-term healing of individuals who have experienced or are at risk of experiencing exploitation and abuse.


What is the CORE House and Ranch  


At AJR, we believe in the power of safe spaces, community outreach, and a self-sustaining funding model. Our vision for the CORE House (Centered Organic Resilient Experiences) and Ranch, is to fulfill each of those fundamental needs through building or purchasing a small ranch/farmstead or property in the Cottonwood/Verde Valley area.

By owning a property such as this, AJR will be to provide a space space of community, support, and resources for youth in the area who have experienced exploitation or abuse, or those who are at-risk.

Visit our CORE House and Ranch page for more info!

Can you link to some additional sources? 


UNODC Trafficking Information

National Human Trafficking Hotline

Sex Trafficking Prevention, A Trauma Informed Approach For Parents and Professionals

ACES And Human Trafficking

DOJ Podcast Featuring Savannah

Anchor 1

First Fellowship

One year can make a difference, breaking generational cycles of poverty and abuse. After leaving shelter services or dangerous situations, individuals are at risk of returning to compromised environments due to struggles with housing and resources. Our First Fellowship is a survivor sponsorship that enables participants to experience so many of the "firsts" that we often take for granted. Graduating high school or college, getting a job, moving into an apartment, owning a car, and so much more! The First Fellowship provides support, emergency funds, wrap-around services, and mentorship, as well as career/education development to foster healing, and self-efficacy. 

Image by Sincerely Media

Fostering Resiliancy

This program is designed to support youth in the foster system through mentorship, one on one guidance, and small group community. 


Fostering Resiliency also aims to assist foster parents and caregivers through training and guidance which includes; equipping primary caregivers with psychoeducation, and mentorship to navigate parenting youth with histories of trauma, who have experienced trafficking, or are at risk.

Providing a safe, supportive home, loving community, and trauma-informed caregiving drastically improves the longterm outcome for youth in the foster system.

Image by Luca M

Equine Therapy

Healing comes in many forms, and can vary vastly from one point in the transformational journey, to another. We believe in the healing power of community, but also acknowledge the multi-faceted benefits that come from the unique experience of equine therapy. Currently, AJR facilitates referrals to equine therapy organizations in Northern Arizona, for our clients.

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