A Passion to Free Youth from Trafficking: Alumna Spotlight on Hannah Adeoye

hannah alumni
Hannah with husband Isaiah and four-month old Elijah (goldendoodle Piper not pictured)

Hannah Adeoye is Mission Engagement Coordinator at Traffick911, an organization that exists to free youth from sex trafficking by building trust-based relationships. Hannah’s day-to-day job is to oversee the organization’s print and digital graphic design needs and assist with social media, photography, and email marketing. She is a 2021 Graphic Design graduate of DBU and worked for a season in the International Department and University Communications.

“I enjoyed my time at DBU, and I use my degree every day, so I praise God. At DBU, I had the amazing opportunity to be a founding member of Chi Theta Alpha, and I served as Worship Chair for a time. I also loved getting to work for the International Department and University Communications. God especially used my time in these positions to show me how much He loves people. He used the moments He gave me to listen to, learn from, and share people’s stories to refine my soul—to increase my capacity for empathy, and to impart His love for people deeper into my heart.

“Furthermore, having not grown up in church and jumping head-first into a Christian college like DBU, God used an awesome community of Jesus-loving people to impact my life forever. I was challenged by friends and professors alike to hold my theology up to Scripture, and to decipher what was, as one book put it, ‘written in pencil and written in pen.’ In fact, one of my favorite courses and one that has marked my life forever was Dr. Lemons’ Apologetics class. It was simple but powerful.”

We recently asked Hannah more about her personal connection to Traffick911, her growing passion for this challenging work, and the victories of justice and hope that she has witnessed God win for suffering victims.

DBU: Tell us more about the vision and specific work of Traffick911.

Hannah: Traffick911 was founded in 2009 by community activists who discovered that child sex trafficking was happening in North Texas. Over its history, the organization’s abolition efforts include training over 82,000 youth and adults face-to-face with prevention and awareness messages, training over 18,000 first responders, and directly serving over 1,000 survivors. It continues to provide 24/7 crisis response and a Voice & Choice Program Team with Multi-Disciplinary Team partners that walk alongside child sex trafficking victims.

Mission: To free youth from sex trafficking through trust-based relationships

Vision: Communities free from relational brokenness

Values: Hope, humility, and humanity

We have a team of Voice & Choice Advocates who respond in crisis—when kids are recovered by law enforcement—and then provide field-based advocacy for child sex trafficking victims across DFW. Advocates meet the child where they’re at. They go on visits, set goals, ensure the child is having his or her needs met, connect them with resources, etc. Our advocates function like a case manager and mentor, and our clients often refer to their advocate as their big sister.

DBU: How did you come to learn about Traffick911, and how did your passion for the anti-trafficking movement develop?

Hannah: This might sound funny, but I have always been passionate about women’s self-worth and identity. I have also always been fired up when confronted with injustice. I first learned about the issue of human trafficking at a women’s conference I attended in high school when Christine Caine spoke about the tragedies of trafficking and how her nonprofit, A21, fights for the freedom of trafficking survivors across the globe. I couldn’t believe what I heard. That moment sparked a fire in my little justice-hungry heart, but I still had (and still do have) much to learn.

I first heard about Traffick911 in 2019, when a friend of a friend graduated from DBU and became a Voice & Choice Advocate. Initially, I didn’t give much thought to it, as I didn’t know what an advocate did. However, in 2020 I went through online training with Exodus Cry (another phenomenal organization) about what outreach for this population looks like, and that broke me. The more I learned about trafficking and the anti-trafficking movement, the less I could look away and the more my heart yearned to help in some way, shape, or form.

In 2021, I connected personally with Traffick911 at a Zeta event. I was looking for ways to get involved in the field of anti-trafficking, and they had an info booth. After learning about their mentorship program, I signed up to attend their online training sessions right away. After nearly completing the entire training program, however, I ended up unable to serve because my now-husband and I decided to get married, and I moved to Huntsville, Texas. Even so, my passion for anti-trafficking only continued to grow.

I was working as a marketing manager and designer for a small software company in the Woodlands when I saw the job opening for my current position at Traffick911. I couldn’t believe it. I read the job description and told my husband, ‘This job was literally made for me.’ But I was so sad that I couldn’t apply since we lived so far away from Dallas at the time. So, to console myself, and to not give up hope, I said a little prayer and asked the Lord to preserve that job for me if He wanted me to be there. Little did I know that just a couple of months later, my husband would be offered a job in Dallas, opening the door for me to apply to Traffick911. I was thrilled! After a phone interview, moving to Dallas, and then a few in-person interviews, I was offered the position! I was flying.

DBU: How have you seen God moving at Traffick911 in victory over such darkness?

Hannah: I didn’t fully understand the scope of what I was getting myself into when I accepted this position. You can’t unhear what you hear in this field, and it gets really heavy, really fast. However, what a more appropriate place be for the Lord to show up in than in the midst of the most terrible darkness? Working at Traffick911 has given me a deeper understanding of and appreciation for the justice of the Lord. I used to be so scared when I would think about God’s justice, but now I see the beauty in, joyful celebration of, and reverence for it. I have seen God’s hand in the tiniest wins—like when a child is empowered to simply choose what she wants to eat for lunch—and I have seen God move mountains, like when we get to celebrate a child testifying against their trafficker. God continues to amaze me with His ability to weave Himself through every aspect of this work. There’s nothing like it.

DBU: What are the ongoing challenges and opportunities facing anti-trafficking work today?

Hannah: Regarding the field of anti-trafficking, there is so much work to be done. This field is so new and is unfortunately riddled with misconceptions by the public. In our experience, trafficking is more often than not, very different than what is depicted in the movies. It’s more sneaky and subtle in the United States—very often not involving kidnapping of any form. In this field it is often said that trafficking is the exploitation of vulnerability—it is a psychological prison, not a physical one. So, the best first course of action, then,  is arming our brain with accurate knowledge. Then we will know where our feet and hands ought to go. So, my team and I always say that the best first step to getting involved—and something we at Traffick911 always aim to practice—is pursuing continual education about the issue, the field, the population involved, etc. I say, educate in order to advocate. It is so easy to want to jump in the fight and start setting up solutions that we think will be best, but it is so crucial that we stop and listen to survivors and hear what they truly need and that we learn from their perspective about what is helpful and what isn’t.

Want to learn more about Traffick911’s important work and find ways you can help? Visit Traffick911’s website!

Written by Dr. Michael Whiting

Dr. Michael Whiting is the Director of Written Content in University Communications at Dallas Baptist University.