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Mission 21, anti-sex trafficking group, dissolves

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Rose Korabek has resigned as executive director of Mission 21, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting sex trafficking, and the board has since disbanded the organization.

Korabek said she submitted her resignation last week and later learned that the board had dissolved Mission 21. She said she had no role in the board's decision. A board member said her resignation had no impact on the five-member board's decision.

"It really didn't matter. I was leaving either way," she said.

Korabek joined Mission 21 as a development director in February, then was hired as executive director last May. Korabek was hired to replace the group's co-founder, Stephanie Holt, who, along with her husband, Matt, started the organization in 2010.

"I really don't want to air dirty laundry about what went on," Korabek said when asked about her reasons for resigning. "For me personally, it just did not align with what I value and how we treat people."

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An anti-sex trafficking Partner Summit set for Aug. 9 will be postponed until January 2020, when it will be hosted by the Olmsted County Human Trafficking Task Force, Korabek said.

Korabek said she has been asked to start a new, Christian, anti-sex trafficking organization by an Autumn Ridge Church pastor.

Board President Dr. Eric Shoars said the board decided to dissolve Mission 21, because the group had achieved what it set out to do.

Shoars said that when the organization was founded nine years ago, there was little public awareness about sex trafficking. It was not high on law enforcement's radar and there was little in the way of legislation to combat it.

The public also generally suffered from a misconception that sex trafficking was an urban problem, when in actuality it afflicts every county in the state, he said.

Shoars said the landscape today is very different. Today, sexually exploited youths can seek help and services and be treated as victims because of legislation such as No Wrong Door and Safe Harbor

The change in attitude, he said, is also reflected in the fact that law enforcement now attacks the problem by targeting the buyers of sex trafficking in sting operations rather than the workers themselves.

"That wasn't happening when Mission 21 was founded," he said.

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Shoars said the board reached out to the Holts about its decision and the couple agreed that the organization had reached the end of its life cycle. The board also informed Mayor Kim Norton, community partners and other nonprofits of the decision.

"They're sad in a way to see Mission 21 dissolve. At the same time, they recognize the impact that this organization has had on the community," Shoars said.

An Aug. 17 Mission 21 fundraiser in Foster Arend Park, Foster Fest '19, is expected to continue, according to Stephanie Holt, who has worked with the event as an owner of Sacred Heart Studios.

Local musicians Oliver Books, Cole Ebertowki and Clay Ebertowski, who have organized the annual event, will determine who benefits from the funds raised.

Related Topics: CRIMEMISSION
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