Thistle & Bee’s mission is to help women who have survived prostitution and trafficking thrive.
1. Housing in a two-year residential community
2. Wrap-around services addressing physical, emotional, educational, and spiritual needs.
3. Employment and job skills training in our social enterprise.
Thistle & Bee provides each woman services based on her needs. Our clinical program is two years, with aftercare available upon completion. The social enterprise offers up to 18 months of employment in a supportive environment, with the potential for employment and mentoring roles beyond that.
We are paving the future for the next generation. The women in the Thistle & Bee program are breaking the cycle of poverty and multi-system failure that has brought us to a place where sex trafficking and prostitution are at an unprecedented high. Successful graduates of the Thistle & Bee program who are interested in working with us after graduation will help the residents that follow them. The model works.
We began in spring 2014 with a small group of volunteers, together in a living room. Inspired by Magdalene/Thistle Farms in Nashville, Tennessee, we set out to make a difference in the lives of women exiting prostitution and sex trafficking in Memphis.
The organization began with a social enterprise based on beekeeping and selling honey. Through a partnership with St. Columba Episcopal Conference Center, where the majority of the bees are housed, the Episcopal Diocese of West Tennessee, and local philanthropists, Thistle & Bee’s apiaries grew in summer 2018 from 13 colonies of bees to more than 50 colonies today.
We have since added super-premium honey baked granola, herbal teas, beeswax candles, honey + milk soap and many gift sets.
After many years of fundraising, we were able to accomplish our major goal and opened The Hive, our resident program, in May 2019.