By Sara Strickroot
Anna Smith ’11 is the executive director and co-founder for the non-profit organization Restore One. She and her husband Chris, president and co-founder, created the anti-slavery organization in June 2012.
Smith began her undergraduate career as a nutrition major at ECU, but due to the difficulty chemistry gave her, she changed it to social work. She also joined the Social Work Student Association. “I’d always desired to be the one who reconciles a problem or aids in meeting the needs of others. Point blank, I aspired to serve people in my daily job,” says Smith.
Her second major was religious studies and she was also a member of the Religious Studies Club. “After taking introduction into New Testament, I was hooked and took the jump, adding Religious Studies onto my track,” Smith said.
She continued, “the summer before my senior year, I interned at a Christian safe house for domestic minor sex trafficking victims. It was there I felt God calling me to fight human trafficking. That same summer, Chris was working as a youth minister. Provoked by my interest in human trafficking, he took it upon himself to research the problem. Through research, he discovered that few men were serving in modern day abolition. It was through that revelation he followed the call of God to be a man who stands up for freedom.”
On March 27, 2013, Restore One was granted 501(c)3 non-profit status, giving them the green light to progress toward opening The Anchor House. The Anchor House is the first shelter in America for sex trafficked boys ages 12-18.
Smith says, “Restore One is a ministry that seeks to open safe homes that are Christ-centered free of cost to male victims of domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST) and commercial sexual exploitation (CSE).”
Restore One owns land in eastern North Carolina where they plan to break ground in mid-January 2015 on the first cottage that will house four boys as well as a large main building. The complete Anchor House project consists of three cottages and one large main building built to serve a total of 12 boys.
“Today I am so very thankful for the struggle with college chemistry, for it altered the possibilities of not just my education but also my life. I am so thankful for my education at East Carolina University. I’m proud to say that I am a Pirate,” Smith says.