Meet Amelia Quinn: President & Founder of BeLoved Atlanta
for July 12, 2021
Amelia Quinn is the President and Founder of BeLoved Atlanta, an organization that provides long-term housing and a restoration program for adult women affected by sexual exploitation. The women of BeLoved have lived through trafficking, prostitution, and addiction. While on a trip to Costa Rica during her senior year of college, Amelia worked with men and women in prostitution and discovered her passion for helping people escape from human trafficking. She moved to Atlanta after college and volunteered with many human trafficking organizations in the city, quickly discovering that the largest area of need was long-term residential housing for women escaping exploitation. After much thought and prayer, Amelia realized she was in a place in her life where she could focus on finding a way to meet the long-term residential housing needs of human trafficking victims in Atlanta. She chose to leave her job at a church to pursue her passion of helping women who have been sexually exploited even before knowing exactly what this would look like for her life. Through this pursuit of helping trafficking victims, BeLoved was born.
BeLoved houses 10 residents at a time in their two-year housing and restoration program where women are able to take the necessary time to recover from the trauma they have endured through trafficking, prostitution and addiction.
When women come to BeLoved, they enter a three-phase program that includes restoration, access to education and assistance with employment. They can get help with addiction, medical needs, and counseling regarding their mental health to aid the healing process from what they have experienced. They’re given access to education. Women in the program are required to earn their GED and have the ability to take classes or join programs that will help them start a career they are passionate about. Employment assistance is provided by allowing women to start out with a part-time job and work their way up to a full-time job by the time they graduate from the program. The program is individualized to each resident to help them be as successful as possible as they navigate their path to graduation.
BeLoved’s unique approach is based on the notion that these women need a supportive and loving community surrounding them while enduring the long, hard process of overcoming their trauma.
“In the social services world, it is so easy to put the focus on the work the staff is doing, but the work the residents are doing to face these things makes them some of the bravest women I’ve ever met,” says Quinn.
For some women, this is the first time they are experiencing true unconditional love that doesn’t depend on their performance or how society tells them their life should look. Once they understand that the BeLoved team is on their side and willing to support them through anything, the real transformation begins.
Both residents and staff alike have seen the impact that this community can have on its participants. For Amelia, there have been many lessons about the lack of control we have in our lives. She has learned that she can’t be the answer for these women, and instead all she can do is show up and create a space for them to be seen and loved for who they truly are.
“We always want to be the hero but we realize that’s not the real story,” says Quinn. “The story is that as humans we all struggle. Some of us have been dealt harder cards than others. We must consider what it looks like to see people for the full person they are and allow room for that.”
Through the work that BeLoved does, it is clear that women in Atlanta are finding themselves again after long periods of exploitation and trauma in their lives. To be given the opportunity to experience unconditional love and a second chance at chasing their dreams is truly an invaluable gift. Unfortunately, it is going to take much more to solve the problem of human trafficking in our world.
“There are issues in our country such as systemic racism and wage gaps that continue to promote privilege and beat down those who are not privileged,” says Quinn. “Until these issues are addressed, we will continue to see things like human trafficking.”
This is not just about a young girl who gets kidnapped or a woman forced into prostitution, there are so many other factors that play a part in how people fall into the cycle of trafficking. These larger societal issues are a big part of the problem.
It is important for us to recognize the issues in our world and start fighting to make them right so that we can put a stop to the injustice. Some of these issues can be addressed in our own lives more than we may realize.
We can start by seeing people for who they are and not for what society says they should be. In a society that places so much emphasis on how people look, we can send a powerful message about the value and dignity of every individual by recognizing them for their true selves. One area that affects human trafficking victims the most is pornography. Very often the men and women in the videos are victims and are being exploited against their will. By objectifying them in this manner, we are encouraging their already misguided view about their own self worth.
Finally, by valuing our own self-worth and loving ourselves for who we are, we will be able to love others for who they are as well.
The fight against human trafficking is far from over, but thanks to the work of organizations like BeLoved, we are starting to see positive changes in the lives of those affected by trafficking. If you would like to learn more about how you can support BeLoved or join the fight against sexual exploitation and trafficking, you can visit BeLoved’s website here. You can also sign up for Live to Give to donate your own resources. Learn more about Live to Give and how to sign up here.