FBI Portland
Portland Media Office
(503) 460-8099
April 20, 2018

Oregon Non-Profit Safety Compass Presented with FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award

On Friday, April 20, 2018, Christopher Wray presented Safety Compass with the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award for its service to victims of violence in Oregon. Receiving the award on behalf of Safety Compass was Esther Nelson, founder of the non-profit. This organization focuses much of its work on the women and children who are survivors of commercial sexual exploitation, and it runs programs in Washington, Clackamas and Marion counties.

Safety Compass is able to provide direct services to survivors in addition to online support for families of missing and chronically exploited youth and adults, specialized training for professionals and community members, and advocacy as survivors work through the criminal and social service systems in our area.

“Our approach is the extend respect and free confidential advocacy services to commercial sexual exploitation survivors as they seek safety. We believe that instead of operating from a “rescue mentality” we exist to show up for survivors from a strengths-based posture; to listen, encourage, foster resilience, and believe in who they are as over-comers of difficult experiences. I am grateful to accept this award on behalf of the hard working staff and incredibly brave survivors I have the privilege of working alongside every day at Safety Compass, “ said Esther Nelson, FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award recipient.

FBI Director Christopher Wray presents Portland Division recipient Safety Compass (represented by Esther Nelson) with the Director’s Community Leadership Award (DCLA) at a ceremony at FBI Headquarters on April 20, 2018.

Director Christopher Wray with Safety Compass co-founder Esther Nelson. Select image for related material, including story and photos.

Under Ms. Nelson’s direction, the staff and volunteers at Safety Compass demonstrate their commitment to survivors of violence every day with a promise to respect each victim’s unique background and set of experiences. Another core belief of those who serve at Safety Compass is that people in need deserve a diverse community of social service providers, law enforcement and community leaders who are willing to work together to bring about real change.

“The FBI’s partnership with Safety Compass is incredibly important to our shared responsibility of ensuring justice for those we both serve,” said Renn Cannon, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon. “Sex trafficking is not something law enforcement can effectively address alone. Our collaboration with Ms. Nelson and Safety Compass allows us take a holistic approach to breaking that cycle of violence; we can work through the legal system while at the same time their counselors are helping survivors build a path forward.”

About the Award

Every year, each of the FBI’s 56 field divisions chooses one person or organization to receive the Director’s Community Leadership Award. Each recipient must have shown a commitment to crime prevention or community service.

You can find out more about Safety Compass on its webpage at http://www.safetycompass.org