By Christian Chacon
In 2004, Mary Vigil, founder and CEO of Justice61, bought an hour of time from a child in the sex-trafficking trade on Colfax Avenue in Denver. Her purpose was to offer the young child a meal of her choice.
She took her to a nearby McDonald’s, and within the course of an hour and three Filet O-Fish burgers for the young girl, an education was given and a mission began to help children. It eventually blossomed into Justice61, an organization that helps in the fight against sex trafficking of children ages 13-23 within the United States.
“Justice61 is a Non-Profit organization that works with law enforcement to rescue victims of sex-trafficking,” Vigil said. “It partners with local health-care providers, criminal defense attorneys, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, businesses and individuals to provide the best care possible for those entering our programming.”
Justice61 provides housing and mobilizes medical, legal, mental health and educational resources for rescued children to provide them with the help and healing necessary for restoration into safe, healthy, productive lives.
The organization asks the public to consider being a part of the solution by providing funding to Justice61 and assisting in spreading awareness about such an epidemic against children. A few methods include displaying posters from Justice61 in work environments such as break rooms and dressing rooms, posting on social media and asking for donations through Facebook.
By volunteering time and donating money, Vigil said people can make a difference.
“I like to see the children have their empowerment restored,” she said. “I love watching them making choices and mistakes. I love watching them learn, heal and, eventually, not need us anymore.”
While serving Justice61, Vigil will also be stepping up as a new board of education director for 27J Schools. “As a board member, I look forward to providing assistance, resources and support to the children within the district as well as to those who are employed. 27J is a fantastic school district and I, along with my family are thrilled to be members of the school community,” Vigil told the Blade back in October.
Vigil, a longtime resident of Brighton, is a mother of two children who attend district schools.
“Along with my husband and our two children, we strongly support the public education system,” she said. “I look forward to providing the necessary support to the superintendent to ensure the children within the district the best possible education our district can give them.”
To help or learn more about Justice61, visit justice61.org. You can also follow Justice61 on social media. Call the National Human Trafficking hotline at 1-888-373-7888.