Lourdes Junior and HEAL Club Founder, Ilana Schaad introduces presenter (and her Mom) Courtney Albert. Lourdes Junior and HEAL Club Founder, Ilana Schaad introduces presenter (and her Mom) Courtney Albert.Mrs. Albert is the Founder & President of Give Way to Freedom and a licensed mental health counselor with a private practice in Poughkeepsie New York. She specializes in trauma therapy and is an EMDRIA-certified EMDR therapist. She has also served as a mental health counselor for survivors of human trafficking and torture at the Helen Bamber Foundation, London, UK, and for domestic minor victims of sex trafficking at the Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie., and was a mental health counselor at Columbia County Mental Health. (Click here to read Mrs. Albert’s full bio)

During her presentation, Mrs. Albert was quick to point out that, “Human trafficking of any kind is a human rights and public health issue. It is a crime involving the exploitation of a person for the purposes of compelled labor or a commercial sex act through the use of force, fraud, and/ or coercion.” Mrs. Albert discussed the various scenarios of the A-M-P Model which stands for Action, Means, and Purpose. In other words, how does someone get into and kept in a situation, and for what purpose? She went on to expand on the various Means of Force, Fraud, or Coercion as well as indicators that we can all look for and be aware of. Mrs. Albert also pointed out likely venues where trafficking can take place and made a point to mention that human trafficking is not just sexual in nature but can occur in the workplace in the form of labor trafficking.

The presentation ended with a powerful testimonial from a survivor who most would deem an unlikely victim.

Here is her story:

In preparation for this presentation, the HEAL Club collected donations of personal hygiene items and small clothing necessities that will be distributed to local victims. This presentation was well attended by over 50 students and faculty members who assisted in the making of care kits that will be donated through Mrs. Albert’s foundation to Family Services and River Haven Youth Shelter (Hudson River Housing inc.) The HEAL Club expresses its sincere thanks to all those in our Lourdes community who donated these items or made a monetary donation for this worthwhile cause. Thank you to Mrs. Albert for her time and for sharing of her experiences and expertise. Truly an invaluable presentation! Watch for more to come from the HEAL Club.

The OLL HEAL Club (Health, Education & Advocacy at Lourdes) was founded by Lourdes student Ilana Schaad ’24 in 2022 and its mission is to educate and bring awareness to domestic violence, human trafficking, and dangerous situations or relationships.