Lisa Mitts Music to host third Prescott-area benefit concert to raise awareness and funds to fight human trafficking
By Hilary Dartt
When Lisa and David Mitts first realized the prevalence of sex trafficking—not just in this country, but in their own hometown—they knew they had to do something about it.
“It’s truly a battlefield,” Lisa, an award-winning singer and songwriter, said during a recent interview. “We have to stand up and say this is wrong.”
She added, “Music has always been the avenue by which we spread the message because it was through a music video that we learned of what was actually happening here in the U.S.”
Today’s human trafficking isn’t necessarily what movies depict. Traffickers groom children online and through social media. Plus, young people are exposed daily to TV shows, videos, and social media that desensitize them to prostitution and trafficking.
Increasing awareness and resources, then, “is what we need to do to protect families and children,” Lisa said.
On October 21, the Mittses will put on their eleventh benefit concert for the cause at the Elks Theater, benefitting the Short Creek Dream Center, Yavapai Family Advocacy Center, and Destiny Restoration Center.
First, Lisa, renowned producer Brandon Bee, and Lisa’s full band will perform an hour of encouraging music. Lisa will perform her upcoming new “Vapors in the Wind” album, including the new single “Arizona.
After the music, audience members will hear from several powerful speakers:
Briell Decker, Trafficking Survivor and Founder of the Short Creek Dream Center
The documentary, “Prisoner of the Prophet,” tells Briell’s story: she was the sixty-fifth wife of FLDS cult leader Warren Jeffs and escaped after 10 attempts. She won a court case against Warren Jeffs, and the judge awarded her the house where she once lived as a prisoner. She’s turned that house into the Short Creek Dream Center, which provides resources and a residential program to help and provide life skills to young women escaping domestic violence, sex trafficking, recovering from substance abuse, overcoming homeless, and healing from trauma.
Luke and Konstance Meredith, Past Directors of the Phoenix Dream Center’s Trafficking Program
The Merediths helped Briell establish the Short Creek Dream Center’s program and resources. They will share their story and experiences around helping build a network of organizations that help victims of human trafficking, exists to fill the needs of those on a healing journey, including transitional housing, recovery, community outreach, and combatting the effects of poverty.
Missy Sikora, director of the Yavapai Family Advocacy Center
YFAC’s mission is to provide a safe and supportive environment for victims of abuse, reducing trauma and facilitating a team approach to advocacy, investigation, and prosecution. Missy will speak about YFAC programs and how it has helped members of our community to heal.
Arizona State Representative Quang Nguyen
Mr. Nguyen will share about legislation he and his fellow representatives are working on to help create stricter punishments for grooming, trafficking, fentanyl sales, and more.
Eleven years ago, Lisa and David launched their 501C3 nonprofit, Destiny House Restoration Center, (dba Destiny Restoration Center), a resource foundation connecting survivors of sex-trafficking in the U.S. to qualified residential healing programs through the National Trafficking Sheltered Alliance, as well as education and resources for families to protect their children and communities.
The foundation was inspired directly out of Lisa’s music video, “Where Has Love Gone?” to help raise awareness and money for the cause. Their first benefit concert featured the cast and crew of the video and was held in June 2012 in Bellevue, WA where several city leaders attended. Human trafficking is a heavy topic; Lisa and David design their benefit concerts to be encouraging and inspiring.
This year marks the third annual event and benefit concert in Prescott.
Last year, Lisa said, “People were really blown away and very impacted to want to help. Out of that we have more support this year and are hoping to have a sold out event.”
That’s exactly what the Mittses hope for: support to spread awareness, not just of the prevalence of human trafficking even here in central Arizona, but also of the resources and support available to local families in the greater Prescott area.
“When we don’t use our voice, stand up, do whatever we can to say, ‘No,’” Lisa said, “then what is the point of law? As a community, this is vital.”
Learn more about the concert at lisamittsmusic.com; buy tickets at prescottelkstheatre.org/theatre-events. Learn more about Destiny House Restoration Center at destinyhouserc.org.
Local Singer-Songwriter a Finalist for Two International Awards
Lisa Mitts, an independent artist from Prescott Valley, is a finalist for the 2023 International Singer Songwriter Awards in two categories: Female Songwriter of the Year and Album of the Year (for “Where Did It Go?” which she released in 2022). The award show takes place on August 5 in Atlanta, in the same venue where the Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) awards are held.
She was also nominated for and accepted into the Marquis Who’s Who in American for the work she’s done as a songwriter/artist in terms of human trafficking awareness and Destiny House Restoration Center, connecting survivors with qualified programs. Marquis Who’s Who is regarded as the authoritative standard for biographies in the U.S.