WHAT WE DO
We at Fierce Freedom work to end the cycle of human trafficking and exploitation through educational programming that empowers communities and speaks to the worth and dignity of each individual.
HOW IT ALL Began
In 2008, Jenny Almquist was at a presentation on human sex trafficking and couldn’t believe what she was seeing and hearing. How could slavery be happening in this day and age? She decided she had to do something and with her husband, Dave Almquist, started a retail business, Fierce Beauty, to raise money for organizations that free men, women, and children from human trafficking. The mission evolved, and in 2012 Jenny launched a non-profit organization, Fierce Freedom, to educate and raise awareness about human trafficking in northwest Wisconsin. In 2013 the organization opened its office in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
WHAT WE DO
Fierce Freedom educates the public about the fact that human trafficking isn’t just something that happens only in overseas third-world countries or in large cities. This crime against the most vulnerable among us occurs right here in the United States, right here in the Midwest, right here in rural Wisconsin. By educating the public, law enforcement, politicians and others about human trafficking, Fierce Freedom will continue to help reduce this horrific crime.
During the past few years, Fierce Freedom has played an important role not only in western Wisconsin but across the state in doing just that. The organization has spoken about the harsh realities of human trafficking to representatives in schools, churches, police departments, city and county government, state officials and with anyone else willing to listen. Fierce Freedom has forged relationships with those entities and others and has helped enact legislation at the state level that has significantly improved trafficking-related laws, enlisting support of both Democrats and Republicans along the way.
Despite those successes, and the growing support for the efforts of Fierce Freedom, much work remains to make meaningful inroads against sex and labor trafficking. Fighting those crimes will require continued work of people and agencies across Wisconsin and elsewhere, and Fierce Freedom plans to be play an even more vital role in those efforts in the future.
MEET OUR STAFF
Co-Founder and Executive Director
Jenny first learned about the horrors of human trafficking in 2008, which lead to the birth of Fierce Freedom. As Executive Director, Jenny works to build the organization so that awareness and education about the issue can continue to spread. Her main goal is to educate and move people to action, to work toward the abolishment of human trafficking and exploitation. Jenny enjoys writing, reading, and public speaking. In her time away from the office, you will find Jenny gardening, traveling and spending time with her husband and children.
Community Program Specialist
Cat’s passion for social justice was sparked into flame during college after seeing a powerful documentary “Nefarious” about the human sex trade and joining the on-campus organization International Justice Mission. Her work with Fierce Freedom allows her to speak to thousands of people about the realities of domestic human trafficking and help empower them to join the fight. She also loves connecting with incarcerated individuals, an at-risk population, to better equip them to protect themselves against exploitation.
Cat received her BA in Public Relations from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2016. She relocated briefly after college to Boston, gaining experience in her field that she eagerly brought to Fierce Freedom. A lifelong learner, she enjoys the diverse range of tasks that each day brings, allowing her the space to grow as she fights for something she deeply cares about.
National Program Specialist
Over the past two decades Matt has built a career around his passion for causes of justice and equality. He has worked extensively with individuals and families struggling with poverty and homelessness as the founder and director of a non-profit organization, spent several years working directly with incarcerated men as a Chaplain, and has traveled the United States speaking to students and parents about violence and bullying prevention. Matt is humbled and proud to serve along side the incredible team at Fierce Freedom to fight what is arguably the greatest atrocity and injustice of our time.
Matt has an education degree from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and along with his wife Suzie and daughters Macia and Georgia has called Eau Claire, WI his home for the better part of 20 years. When not fighting issues of injustice you can find Matt bicycling along a country road, kayaking down a winding river, or cross country skiing somewhere in the woods.
Donor Engagement Specialist
Joyce retired in 2021 from public sector employment with a local school district, serving most recently as the District Communications Coordinator. Her years of experience includes volunteering with community groups, and serving on boards for nonprofit and professional organizations at the local and state level. She currently serves as Lead Elder on her church board.
She loves to connect people to each other and to find avenues that add value to their lives. Brené Brown says, “ To me, a leader is someone who holds her- or himself accountable for finding potential in people and processes.” Joyce agrees! She’s excited to apply these strategies to her work and our work together to end human trafficking and exploitation in our hometowns.
Program Content Specialist
Chris has been working with Elementary aged students for the past 25 years in a variety of settings. He has worked as a workshop trainor, puppeteer, story teller, child care leader, curriculum writer, missionary, and kids pastor.
Chris received a Bachelor of Physical Education degree from University of New Brunswick. He now lives in the suburbs of Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife, Stephanie, their 4 daughters (Aimee, Olivia, Eden and Isabella) and their Golden Doodle (Ernie). Chris and Steph worked at Missionaries for a few years, serving in Ukraine, Bahamas, Vero Beach FL, and New Orleans, LA. Chris enjoys swimming, sports and spending time with his family. If he could, he would spend the majority of his waking hours playing pool. He is glad to be part of the Fierce Freedom team and join in the battle against trafficking and exploitation.
Diane’s passion for well-being and soul care joins the many facets of justice demonstrated by Fierce Freedom. Diane has been the Spiritual Director at Fierce Freedom for several years and has provided both guidance and support for the FF staff during the ups and downs of fighting human trafficking.
Diane is a farm girl at heart with a “side” of Italian heritage and she delights in the gifts of creation but more so in the Creator as she desires to know and love His way. Her life path has included years as an RN within a variety of venues as well as serving in pastoral care with a local faith community. Diane is blessed to share life with her husband, John and their 2 adult children and 9 grands. Faith, family, the delights of nature, voracious reading, journaling, biking, long walks and a love of trees are a few of the joys of her days.