Human trafficking. No one wants to think of it happening in their backyard, but it does — in Pittsburgh, and even in the North Hills. One Pine woman wants to do something about it.
Elizabeth Echevarria founded Living in Liberty, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting human trafficking. To help fund her efforts, she recently opened Repurposed, a resale shop for clothing and home accessories in the Shoppes at Northway. In August, Living in Liberty opened a safe house that can shelter four women wanting to escape the way they were living and start new lives. It was the first of its kind in the Greater Pittsburgh area.
“They can live there for a year and have access to all sorts of services. We really hope to help them change their lives,” she said.
The Repurposed store sells clothing, furniture and home accessories at lower than retail prices. There also is the cafe and a small boutique area with items such as purses made by survivors in India, jewelry made by survivors in China and items designed for children. Proceeds benefits the children of victims of human trafficking.
Funding for Living in Liberty is based on donations and profits from the store. Mrs. Echevarria said they also hope to look into funding through grants. Next on Mrs. Echevarria’s agenda is to open a safe house for young adults by the end of the year.
“This is what God has called me to do. He has given me a passion to do this — this is what I should be doing,” she said.
Learn more at Kathleen Ganster’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article: Shoppes at Northway resale shop raises funds to fight human trafficking.