We received the following in email from a friend of Gittip:
I wanted to let you know about a very special account now on Gittip: https://www.gittip.com/Hazel_Mae12/. Hazel is our god-daughter. After having been trafficked as a minor by a violent man, beaten, held against her will, she found the courage in her heart and the allies (from the U.S. Attorney’s office) to escape and stand up to him in court and see him put in jail for 30 years. California Rep. Juan Vargas has since introduced the Child Protection Act of 2013, named “Hazel’s Law" after her, which would ensure that traffickers do not receive lighter sentences merely by claiming they did not know the victim was a minor.
Now 21 years old, and still recuperating from her years of trauma, she is taking her story to those who will listen, speaking to lawyers, social workers, law enforcement, schoolteachers, and governmental bodies about ways they can recognize girls in sex slavery and assist these victims in escaping “the life”, rather than blaming them as the problem. She receives little pay for this, so I have encouraged her to open a Gittip account where those who hear her story (and might not otherwise have a vehicle for assisting her and her work) can easily help her on a continuing basis to fight the good fight.
Funding open source work is important and rewarding for givers and receivers. But Hazel’s work is on a level of importance above that, in my opinion. If part of your vision for Gittip is to support communities outside the software industry, I ask that you consider promoting Hazel’s account as an example of what we can do together when we look to ourselves for support, rather than corporations and governments.
We couldn’t be more honored to have Hazel Mae on Gittip. Please consider supporting her work.