Because Every Child Deserves a Life of Safety & Love


The crime of human trafficking is at an epidemic level and the statistics are concerning. It is the fastest growing organized crime, estimated to generate $150 billion globally including an annual $32 billion in the United States. There are an estimated 4.8 million victims of sex trafficking in the U.S., 99% of whom are women and young girls. Just over one quarter are children. “The average age of a victim at the onset is between 12 and 14 years old,” says Ashley Chandler, Director of Finance for Prism Project, “and it happens in every zip code.” The outcome for victims of sex trafficking is extremely dire. “The average life expectancy of a victim is seven years,” Chandler adds. “Their deaths could be the result of physical abuse, drug overdose or suicide. Almost 45% of victims die by suicide.” The problem is immense and it is happening right now all over the country.

Our aim is to bring together awareness and prevention through educating our community and aiding victims to thrive outside of their oppressive circumstances.”
Sylvia Blythe,
Founder/Executive Director

To help in the fight against human sex trafficking, Genesee County has been incredibly proactive with multiple organizations working to help victims, deter criminals and hold those responsible
for such atrocities accountable. Programs and organizations such as G.H.O.S.T., the Genesee County Human Trafficking Task Force, Beauty for Ashes, and Voices for Children are working each and every day against the epidemic and recently, they have gained a new ally in the Prism Project. “The goal of Prism Project is to educate the community about the problem of human sex trafficking and provide wrap-around restorative services to child survivors,” explains Chandler.

The dream of Prism Project began four years ago when Founder/Executive Director Sylvia Blythe decided to do more to fight human trafficking. A sexual assault nurse examiner, Blythe saw first hand the devastating effect that human trafficking had on victims and their families. It was her hope to someday provide a place of safety and support for young victims to live and cope with their complex trauma. She set up her 501(c)(3) nonprofit, its board of directors, and began working with the State of Michigan to license her Safehouse Program – the first of its kind in Michigan. “Nobody was sure what the rules were,” says Chandler. “Prism Project fits into different categories but we were able to get it done. In December, we received our CCI (Child Caring Institutions) license and we officially opened our safehouse in February of this year.”

When naming the faith-based organization a prism image was chosen to represent hope. “The idea is taken from a prism in the dark,” explains Chandler. “When a light shines on its shattered pieces of glass, it produces an array of immense beauty and cannot be contained. We want our child victims to know that they are beautiful, no matter what.”

What sets Prism Project apart in its mission of education and healing is the very nature of its restorative care for victims. The Prism Project Safehouse Program “provides a safe place where child survivors of sexual exploitation and/or sex trafficking can come to heal on their time, with a loving team of professionally trained care providers.” All of the services are provided at the home including medical, educational, therapeutic and spiritual services, in addition to life skills. The home serves up to six girls ages 12-17 who may remain there for six months to two years, depending upon personal need. “We want the girls to grow up in an environment as close to a normal home as possible and to live their daily lives at their own pace,” says Chandler. “All of our care providers are licensed and trauma-informed. Care is available for the victims 24/7 and schooling is provided online.” The house sits on 100 acres and was purchased for the program by a donor. Prism Project is working to pay off the mortgage. “It’s an amazing home,” states Chandler. “The land is beautiful and we are working to expand and enhance the grounds to make it even better. The children here deserve a beautiful environment.” Prism Project also works with other organizations such as Voices for Children to educate the community and provide services for victims in their care.

As mentioned, community education is a big piece of Prism Project, as they visit schools and organizations to provide factual information about human trafficking. “It’s a subject not many people like to talk about; it makes for an awkward conversation,” explains Chandler, “but the best thing people can do to help Prism Project is to be better informed.” It begins with acknowledging that the problem exists, being aware of and identifying the signs, and knowing who to contact if you feel a trafficking situation is ongoing or has taken place. “You can call a local police department, Office of the Genesee County Sheriff, or Michigan Child Protective Services. They will open an investigation and then determine whether or not trafficking has occurred,” Chandler states.

In the future, Prism Project hopes to expand their safehouse capacity with additional housing and to begin duplicating the program for boys. “We would like to provide transitional housing for those who leave the program and also expand mentorship programming,” Chandler adds.

If you would like to help Prism Project directly, visit and click on the “get involved” tab or the “donate” button. Gift cards to Target or Amazon are great ways to support the kids in the program with clothing and other essentials.

Child Human Trafficking Red Flags

  • Child not regularly attending school (missing Mondays/Fridays)
  • Accompanied by a controlling adult who doesn’t appear to be a parent/guardian
  • Having an older boyfriend
  • Has a large amount of unexplained cash or receives expensive gifts
  • New hair, nails, or fancy clothes
  • Multiple cell phones, hotel room keys
  • Demeanor change, head down, quiet

To further their mission, Prism Project will host the Free to Dream Festival at Freedom Center Church in Fenton on June 23. “It’s a carnival-type atmosphere highlighted by dance and music performances by children,” says Chandler. In September, Prism Project will host a golf outing in Fenton at Tyrone Hills and will start their “Shatter the Darkness” education campaign in December.

Prism Project Founder/Executive Director Sylvia Blythe addresses attendees of the recent “Shine the Light” Gala. Anavista Photography

Sylvia Blythe, Ashley Chandler and the others at Prism Project are working toward ending the scourge of human trafficking and helping those affected to find peace again. They are busy making a difference and you can join them. “We are all capable of doing so much and just being present and involved in the solution is powerful,” says Chandler. “Each of us at Prism Project are very grateful to be able to help in this way. We believe that every child deserves to be safe, loved and protected.”

For more information, visit

If you have information regarding a potential human trafficking situation, call all three:

  • G.H.O.S.T.: 810.257.3422
  • Your Local Police Department
  • Michigan Child Protective Services: 855.444.3911

Other Resources

  • Genesee County Trafficking Hotline: 810.257.3422
  • National Human Trafficking Hotline: 888.373.7888

Comments are closed.