Making a Difference One Cup at a Time
Carmen Biggs and Chris Turnbull
Carmen Biggs believes there’s a misconception that human trafficking doesn’t exist in small communities.
“Really, trafficking can take a lot of forms,” she said. “It may look different in a rural community versus a big city, but it’s happening here too. Exploitation and abuse happen everywhere. The magnitude of the problem can be paralyzing, but we need to begin where we are with what we have.”
That belief and a passion for social justice led Carmen and her business partner Chris Turnbull to start HumaniTea. This cozy space inside The Port of Ludington is a combination tea and artisan gift shop that exists to provide a community gathering space and confront the tragedy of human trafficking. All profits from the benefit corporation are invested into anti-trafficking efforts.
“All of our teas are responsibly-sourced and our handcrafted gifts are either made by survivors or are from collaboratives that are part of trafficking prevention,” said Carmen. “This is designed to be a safe and open place for our community to have conversations regarding trafficking.”
The tea shop thrived in its first year, but Carmen and Chris wanted to do even more. A discussion with a friend led them to the Community Foundation and in 2019 they established the Human Trafficking Prevention and Victim Support Fund.
“This fund provides another way to bring people alongside us and make a difference for victims of human trafficking right here in Mason County,” said Chris. “We hope this gives credibility to the cause and will encourage others to get involved.”
In order to further engage the community, the business partners also launched the Ziva Network late in 2022. This nonprofit organization will work directly with survivors and collaborate with other agencies engaged in trafficking prevention and response.
Carmen and Chris hope that all of their efforts—HumaniTea, an endowed fund, and this new agency—will help move the needle.
“We may not be able to tackle the entire trafficking industry,” said Carmen, “but together we can begin to make a difference: one cup, one story, one life at a time.”
To give to the Human Trafficking Prevention and Victim Support Fund or get more information about establishing a fund to support causes close to your own heart, contact Andrea Large at firstname.lastname@example.org or 231.845.0326. Information about HumaniTea or the Ziva Network can be found at hopeforhumanitea.com.