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State Honoree

Photo of State Honoree Stephanie Durr

Stephanie Durr

Louisiana

Stephanie Durr, 18, of Shreveport, La., a senior at Captain Shreve High School, creates and sells headbands to help victims of prostitution and sex trafficking in her area start new lives through "Saving Silhouettes," an organization she and her sister founded two years ago. "In January of 2013, I learned that slavery still exists," said Stephanie. "More people are enslaved in modern times than at any other point in history. Even worse, I discovered that the most common form of modern day slavery is sex trafficking." For months, Stephanie tried to think of a way to combat this persistent problem. Then one day her older sister came up with the idea of making headbands and donating all the profits to Purchased: Not for Sale, a Shreveport-based organization that helps victims of sex trafficking.

The sisters decided to make their headbands out of old T-shirts. They and a group of volunteers cut the shirts into strips, sew five strips together, braid them and sew the ends to complete the headband. They sell their headbands for $10 each and have thus far raised $5,000, which has helped 19 women start new lives over the past year. Stephanie knows that is not an easy task. Through an internship at Purchased, she has met some of the women the organization is trying to help, and listened to their stories. "I have learned that not everyone will choose to start a brand new life," said Stephanie. "But because one life has been changed, everything is worth it."