Linda Smith, from Congresswoman to warrior against global sex trafficking

Image credit: Shared Hope International

From winning a write-in campaign for Congress and now fighting to rescue and restore victims of human trafficking, Linda Smith has made her mark on the political world from the beginning.

Her political journey has taken her to victory over two sitting incumbents in the Washington State Legislature, two successful Washington state initiative campaigns, and a history-making write-in campaign for the U.S. Congress that stunned political pundits across the country.

Linda Smith's strong belief that politicians should not be "for sale" by lobbyists caused her to launch the "Clean Congress Campaign" in her first year. More importantly, she believed so strongly that she quit taking any money herself from these special interests. Nevertheless, Linda won re-election in 1996 without taking any special interest money.

Since leaving Congress in 1998, Linda has taken her determination and strength to a new level. In recent years the plight of young women and children trafficked into prostitution has become her priority.

Linda decided to focus her attention on helping these young women and children in the winter of 1998. While still a member of the U.S. Congress, she visited India and Nepal and saw for herself the appalling situation they were in.

In November of 1998 Shared Hope International was formed and partnered with Teen Challenge International to open the first safe house for women and children desiring to leave forced prostitution and start a new life.

In January of 1999 Shared Hope rescued its first group of young women, most of whom had been trafficked from Nepal as little girls into that first safe house.

Now Shared Hope International partners with groups, like Teen Challenge, to prevent trafficking of individuals worldwide, rescue victims of trafficking, and to supply shelter, healthcare, education and vocational training opportunities to individuals who have been sold into this brutal slavery.

Shared Hope International, born in the heart of Linda Smith, is giving life to women and children all over the world. Linda explains her passion and dedication to these women and children in these words, "I must go forth today and do all I can with what I have for each and every woman and child. Together, one girl at a time, we can make a difference!"

To learn more about this inspirational and world-changing ministry, go to www.sharedhope.org.

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