In March 2008, Jennifer Crow, founder of the Beautiful Dream Society, had a very vivid dream. In her unusual dream, Jennifer was on a ship with Christine Caine (only an acquaintance at the time), looking over the ship’s railing, cruising past a dark rocky coastline. As they glanced across the horizon, in the sky above the land, Jennifer saw the word “L-E-S-O-T-H-O,” spelled out in capital letters, a word she was unfamiliar with, and had no recollection of ever hearing. On the rocks of the coastline were hundreds of seals. One particular seal in the middle, a mother seal, was much bigger than the others. This mother seal had a large pouch, like a kangaroo, filled with baby seals; some were bleeding, pale, and sickly. While Jennifer and Christine were watching, the mother seal’s pouch was ripped open, and hundreds of her children, from embryos to different sizes of babies, spilled into the sea and were lost. As Jennifer looked into the eyes of the mother seal, the seal’s face turned into the face of a brown-skinned woman. Although she didn’t speak, the tears spilling from her penetrating eyes conveyed her voiceless but urgent plea: “Help me.”
Jennifer was shocked to discover that Lesotho is the name of a tiny country completely surrounded by South Africa. It’s a country ravaged by poverty, with the third highest rate of HIV/AIDS in the world. Jennifer’s dream became the motivating catalyst for several trips to Lesotho, and in May 2010, the Beautiful Dream Society was founded. BDS’s initial purpose of helping the woman in the dream (Lesotho) with her hurting children was only the beginning.
- In March 2008, Jennifer Crow had a dream of the word L-E-S-O-T-H-O, and of a mother with hurting children crying out for help.
- In February 2009, Jennifer and friends took the first exploratory trip to Lesotho.
- In March 2010, Jennifer Crow, Sonya Martinez, and team journeyed to Lesotho to complete a feasibility study about human trafficking.
- In May 2010, The Beautiful Dream Society was incorporated as a 501(c)3 in Oklahoma.
- On December 31, 2010, a team of seven members of Victory Church voluntarily moved to Lesotho, under the leadership of Sonya and Charles Martinez, for the purpose of helping victims of human trafficking in Lesotho.
- In April 2011, The Beautiful Dream Society Safe House for Victims of Human Trafficking was opened and became the first, and only, safe house in the country of Lesotho.
- In February 2012, the Dream Home for vulnerable women was opened to serve the needs of survivors of trafficking, and other vulnerable women.
- In May 2012, Victory Church Maseru was opened at the Pioneer Mall in Maseru, Lesotho.
- From October 2013 to 2016, the Dream Home for adult female victims of human sex trafficking was operated in Oklahoma City. The state certified residential home served 57 victims of human trafficking and their children.
- In December 2013, in Lesotho, twelve orphaned and vulnerable children were taken in to be raised by Beautiful Dream Society mothers in holistic family environments.
- In February 2013, the Beautiful Dream Village pre-school began with six children.
- In 2016, the Hope House for female victims of human trafficking was re-opened in partnership with the government of Lesotho after a year of being closed.
Highlights and Accomplishments
- BDS opened the first shelter for victims of human trafficking in the country of Lesotho.
- BDS is a member of the Lesotho Multi-Sectoral Committee on Human Trafficking.
- BDS is a member of the Oklahoma Human Trafficking Task Force.
- BDS opened the second State certified emergency shelter for victims of human sex trafficking in Oklahoma.
- In 2012, Sonya Martinez, BDS Africa Director, was nominated by the US Embassy in Lesotho for the US State Department’s “Trafficking In Persons Hero of the Year Award.”