Build Beyond

“Love the person, not the cause” were words from one of our featured speakers, Tracy Busse, and they captured well the theme of Build Beyond 2017. 

Clinicians, child welfare professionals, law enforcement and service providers gathered at Butler University for the May conference. We were thrilled to see over a hundred attendees from Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, Tennessee and Oklahoma. Many of them chose to attend to broaden their skill sets for serving survivors. Build Beyond was also a perfect opportunity to earn Continuing Education credits for mental health licenses.

Our special guests, Judge Marilyn Moores from Marion County Superior Court and Heather Kestian from the Indiana Department of Child Services, set the stage for each day by framing sex trafficking in our local context. It was very helpful to hear about the types of cases that are happening in Indiana and how the state is working to provide for them. Judges Moores offered a wonderful word of encouragement to the service providers and underscored the importance of the specialized work they do.

Featured speakers included:

  •  Adult survivors Elle Snow and Jessa Dillow Crisp, who spoke on behalf of the Rebecca Bender Initiative. Their focus was an overview of DMST and CSEC, myths and misconceptions of trafficking, vulnerabilities, risk factors and pimp tactics. It was helpful to our audience to hear about these subjects from the vantage point of a survivor.
  • Day two featured Dr. Elizabeth Hopper from the Trauma Center at the Justice Resource Institute in Boston. Her focus was a deep dive into the concepts of complex trauma.
  •  Licensed Professional Counselor, Tracy Busse, from Atlanta led day three with a focus on intervention and therapeutic programming.

Attendees were invited to the Indiana premiere of the new documentary film, I Am Jane Doe. Many victims of human trafficking are sold for commercial sex on websites like The film chronicles the epic battle that several American mothers are waging on behalf of their middle-school daughters who were victims of trafficking on The film is now available on iTunes. 

Ascent 121 provides long term trauma recovery services for teen survivors in Indiana. Ascent 121 was proud to partner with The Desmond Tutu Center and Butler University. Special thanks to our event sponsors Blue and Co., Celadon, Wabash National and the Knebel Family.

By: Megan McGuire 


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