MERRITT ISLAND, Fla. – Brandy Crisafulli is on a mission to get the word out about human trafficking.
No crowd is too small. No question too predictable.
“I want you to hear that this is really happening,” Crisafulli said at a recent speaking engagement in Rockledge. “This is a reality. This is not something we’re educating you on because we want you to hear bad news.”
Crisafulli, standing behind a podium, speaks from the heart and from experience.
“My little sister was a victim of human trafficking and now she’s deceased,” Crisafulli said “So for me, it’s very hard when I hear people say, ‘I don’t want to hear what you have to say’ because that’s my sister.”
Crisafulli is the Founder and President of Life Recaptured, a nonprofit in Brevard County dedicated to transitioning young adult victims of human trafficking back into society. She speaks to groups at least twice a week.
“I was not aware of what human trafficking was until my sister became a victim,” Crisafulli said. “Now I’m going to make sure I understand, to help rescue others.”
Five years ago Crisafulli dedicated herself and went on to earn her certificate and training with Project Rescue, an international church-based ministry, so she could work with human trafficking survivors
Life Recaptured is now days away from opening Brevard County’s first safe home. Crisafulli hopes to be able to house up to six women.
To help pay for the operating costs, Crisafulli has opened the Life Recaptured Resale Boutique.
The boutique takes up space in her family’s one-time citrus packing building at 5515 N Courtenay Pkwy in Merritt Island.
“When I first came here it was such a mess. I thought I don’t know if I can do this,” Crisafulli said, looking around at the shop which had been unoccupied for years.
Now, after an extensive remodel, the building is filled with everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to select furniture and household items.
“Everything we sell goes right back in. We don’t touch a penny of that money,” Crisafulli said, adding that all the items are donated and carefully chosen to give the store an upscale appeal.
Crisafulli was nominated for the News 6 Getting Results Award by Life Recaptured ReSale Boutique volunteer, Jolene Corbin.
“She’s getting results,” Corbin said. “Brandy is very magnetic. When she speaks she really gets through to people. She makes it known that we can make a difference by volunteering.”
I feel this is my calling,” Crisafulli said. “I believe it helps me to understand that every time I rescue someone else that I’m helping my sister.”