Breaking Free is a Minnesota-based non-profit and social justice/social change organization founded in 1996 by Vednita Carter. Every year, Breaking Free helps an average of 400-500 women and girls escape systems of prostitution and sexual exploitation through advocacy, direct services, housing, and education. Our main offices are located in St. Paul, Minnesota, with branches in Rochester and Minneapolis. Breaking Free's doors are open to women and girls throughout Minnesota and the United States.
To educate and provide services to women and girls who have been victims of abuse and commercial sexual exploitation (prostitution/sex trafficking) and need assistance escaping the violence in their lives.
While Breaking Free's primary mission is to provide direct services to victims and survivors, we also aim to:
- Ensure that the services provided are victim-centered, trauma-informed, and operate within a culturally appropriate, age, and gender-specific context;
- Provide transitional and/or permanent housing and rental/placement assistance to our target population;
- Decriminalize victims and encourage the use of pre-court diversion in lieu of criminal charges against women in prostitution;
- Educate law enforcement, the criminal justice system, medical professionals, service providers, educators and students, faith communities, and the community at large about the effects of commercial sexual exploitation on women and girls;
- Expose prostitution/sex trafficking as violence against women; and
- To stop the demand that drives sex trafficking.