‘GP Java’: Special coffee stand brews help for human trafficking victims
SEATAC — At first glance, this coffee stand on International BLVD. in Seatac looks like any other. On the outside, it has signs that show an array of drinks and even food specials. But if you look carefully, you’ll see there’s more to this place than lattes. “All the proceeds go back into the Genesis Project for case management to help girls gain a life outside of prostitution and off the streets,” says Leah Anderson, manager of GP Java.
It’s owned by the Genesis Project, a local organization that works with survivors of human trafficking and gets them off the streets. The hope is that this stand doesn’t just help support the non-profit, but also provides jobs and training for those who may not have a current resume. Anderson adds, “Not only just telling them what life looks like when you come out of, off the streets and when you’re rebuilding, but actually giving them the skills to actually implement that and walk it out.” And she knows firsthand the importance of having this kind of support. “I’ve been with the Genesis Project for two years, and I came through the doors just like every other woman that does and they’ve become such a part of my life” Anderson explains. She’s not just a survivor, but also the first paid employee and now manager of the stand.
But not everyone who comes here knows about the mission. Debbie Ohl stopped by for a cup of coffee and says, “No I did not know until today. That’s fantastic. It makes me want to come here more.” Tiffany Ohl just likes the drinks more than the last stand that was here. She says, “The coffee’s more richer. It’s not ugh, all dry and sour. It’s better than Starbucks.”
This is the only anti-bikini barista in the state and because of that, some customers are a little surprised that when they come through all they’re going to get is a great cup of coffee. Annaliese Ferreria has worked at the stand since December and says, “I’ve had a guy come through and ask why I’m fully clothed, why I have clothes on, and that I took it as an opportunity to enlighten him on us fighting against sex trafficking, and that we are the opposite of the known bikini stands that are on the strip here.”
It’s a big message inside this little stand, but it’s the one they are determined to spread one cup at a time. Ferreria adds, “Every day I pray before I go into work over this place and that whoever comes through is blessed and can have some sort of hope even through interaction with any of the staff that’s here.”