Survivors show hope and restoration through art

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Survivors show hope and restoration through Art | Larry Stanford

Atlanta Redemption Ink (ARI) hosted a unique afternoon of hope and restoration through the arts on Saturday.

The event, held at (e)station on Commercial Street in Conyers, featured a variety of artistic media done by survivors of sex trafficking, former self-harmers, recovered addicts, and survivors of domestic and gang violence who are thriving in their recovery and are stripping the labels once placed on them.

ARI is a local 501c3 non-profit whose mission is to restore dignity to survivors of exploitation, trauma and abuse by turning marks of hurt into hope and recovery.

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REDEMPTION| Melony Brown

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Redemption | Melony Brown

n July of 2017, Atlanta Redemption Ink was launched so the redemption Jessica* found when she covered her trafficker’s logo with a new tattoo could be shared with countless others.

* Her real name is used with permission.

Over 160 survivors of sex trafficking, abuse, gang involvement, and self-harm have received tattoos to cover branding tattoos, gang tattoos, and self-harm marks.

Permanently covering the pain from their pasts. 

Redemption.

Jessica coordinates redemption tattoos, because she personally knows the indescribable healing found when you permanently cover the pain from your past.

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Flowery Branch tattoo shop helping survivors cover painful past

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Flowery Branch tattoo shop & Atlanta Redemption Ink helping survivors cover painful past

The only thing left aside from emotional scars is something they have to look at every day, a reminder, something they have to explain to their kids, or to their family, or to their church or business,” said Migliore, owner and artist at Mind’s Eye Tattoo on McEver Road in Flowery Branch.

Migliore and his shop have tattooed dozens through a partnership with Atlanta Redemption Ink, a grassroots nonprofit helping those with self-harm scars, track marks from drug abuse and gang tattoos as well as survivors of the sex trade and domestic violence to get free cover-up tattoos or tattoo removals.

Coupled with counseling services, executive director and founder Jessica Lamb called it an “all-around system of care” for those with physical reminders of their painful pasts.

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Columbus tattoo parlor teams with non-profit to help survivors of sex trafficking

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Columbus tattoo parlor teams with non-profit to help survivors of sex trafficking| Mya Johnson

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Although it may seem invisible on so many faces, hundreds of people in our own backyard are suffering as victims of human sex trafficking.

January is Human Sex Trafficking Awareness Month and, oftentimes, victims are left with brandings, markings, or tattoo symbols on their bodies from their abusers to represent ownership.

In Columbus, they have teamed up with Above All Tattoos on Victory Dr. to help survivors in our community put the past behind them.

Jessica Lamb is the founder of Atlanta Redemption Ink who was a teenage runaway and survivor.

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ARI helps survivors | Rockdale/Newton Citizen

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By Larry Stanford larry.stanford@rockdalecitizen.com Dec 7, 2017

"Many people dont realize the psychological affect of being left with marks on your body can do. My personal marks were covered back in 2016 and it was not a good experience for me, and I wanted to change that and provide this service to survivors and have it be a positive and uplifting experience all the way around from the moment they fill out the application through the healing process of the removal or cover.

“I knew when God laid this on my heart back in the spring that it was the direction I wanted to take in helping assist them," Lamb said. "I stay connected with each survivor long after their marks have been covered. My heart is to see survivors continue to thrive and make strides in their recovery. We are very thankful for every artist and removal specialist that has partnered with ARI in making an impact in survivor’s lives in their journey.”

ARI has partnered with 20 trusted tattoo artists in six Southeastern states, such as Jesse Rollins of Covington, owner of Iron Clad Ink Tattoo. Rollins is a full-time firefighter with the Covington Fire Department. He has been a tattoo artist for about nine and a half years, and opened his own business about four years ago after seeing what one side of the tattoo industry is like.

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Removing Physical Scars | The Patch

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by Tim Darnell, Patch Staff | Jan 8, 2019 1:13 pm ET | Updated Jan 8, 2019 8:41 pm ET

ATLANTA, GA -- Nikky* remembers the exact day and time — and the drugs and alcohol involved — when she got her gang tattoo, a black pitchfork on her ankle that was embedded into her skin with a needle and thread. Then she became a victim of human trafficking.

"I had kept the tattoo hidden for years and then when I was trafficked I had to keep it hidden because they were gang members and if they noticed, I knew I would be in big trouble," Nikky says today. "And when I escaped my trafficker and going through my recovery program, I had to keep it covered up, because this was a well-known gang and had gained a lot of rivals...

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ARI Helps Remove Symbols of Pain | AJC

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“Many people get tattoos for more joyous occasions. They might put the names or images of their children or a lover. Perhaps they have a beloved hobby or favorite saying, a religious symbol or flag.

In some cases, though tattoos can represent a dark period in someone’s life.

Lamb said one ex-gang member had a tattoo across his lips that read “never snitch.”

One woman’s pimp branded her with money bags on her upper thighs and dollar signs running up to her pelvic area. With others, their trafficker’s names are tattooed on their bodies with the words, “for life” or “property of.” Drugs and self-cutting or burning can also leave their scars.”

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