Florida Divisional Anti-Trafficking Coordinator, Dotti Groover-Skipper
The Salvation Army is deeply committed to the modern-day fight against human trafficking (for sexual and labor purposes) and forms of commercial sexual exploitation innately linked to sexual trafficking. This commitment emerges from both The Salvation Army’s mission – to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and meet human needs in His name without discrimination – and is rooted in the organization’s early history.
The Salvation Army was founded in London, England, in 1865 by the husband and wife team of Catherine and William Booth. The Booths went against Victorian conventions and took their ministry to the dirty and dangerous streets of London’s east side where they reached out to the destitute and desperate. Their efforts eventually evolved into a battle to protect women and children from the horrors of sex trafficking. Upon learning of the desperate needs of women and children at risk of or already caught up in organized commercial sexual exploitation, The Salvation Army responded by opening homes for women and girls and developing intensive “Rescue Work.” Within thirty years Salvation Army rescue homes grew from one to 117.
The Salvation Army’s efforts to help women and girls in prostitution did not stop there. In one of the most fascinating chapters of its history, The Salvation Army participated in the planning and execution of an undercover investigation into the trafficking of young girls for prostitution – a detailed account of which was published in July 1885 by the Pall Mall Gazette in a series of articles called, “The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon.” The series created enough fervor to foment public opinion in support of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, a measure which when passed in August 1885 raised the age of consent from 13 to 16 (although reformers sought 18). The Salvation Army’s advocacy efforts were a major catalyst in the bill’s passage. Now, more than a century later, The Salvation Army in the United States and abroad is part of a reviving movement for the abolition of sex trafficking and other forms of commercial sexual exploitation.
Congratulations to our Florida Divisional Anti-Trafficking Coordinator, Dotti Groover-Skipper for being named Community Hero!!
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Dotti Groover-Skipper as the 32nd Lightning Community Hero of the 2015-16 season during the first period of tonight’s game versus the Arizona Coyotes. Groover-Skipper, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to Underground Network.
Tonight’s community hero has served the Tampa Bay area tirelessly for over 30 years. Groover-Skipper has formed several coalitions in order to quietly serve those who have been affected by addiction, sexual exploitation and human trafficking. One of the coalitions, The FREE Network, has been at the forefront by assisting law enforcement with victims while educating communities on labor, sex and organ trafficking.
Her time and energy towards this cause has heightened awareness of human trafficking throughout various communities to ensure education amongst local youth. She wishes to leave a legacy of safe communites and vows that Tampa Bay is a no tolerance zone for the exploitation of all forms of human trafficking.
Groover-Skipper becomes the 211th Lightning Community Hero since Jeff and Penny Vinik introduced the program in 2011-12 with a $10 million, five-season commitment to the Tampa Bay community. Through this evening’s game, in total, the Lightning Foundation has granted $10.7 million to more than 300 different non-profits in the Greater Tampa Bay area.