How do I find people who want new identities?
August 25, 2014 2:12 PM   Subscribe

I've just been assigned a project that involves interviewing people who want and/or need a second chance at life — people who want to leave their old lives behind and craft new identities someplace else. Where do I find them?

They can't be in violent (aka domestic abuse) situations, on drugs, or running from the law, which narrows down the prospects even further. Examples include stories about people who have been stigmatized after being falsely accused of something, or bullied kids who want to get away from their small towns and start life anew. Any thoughts or insights are much appreciated. Thank you in advance...
posted by Lillitatiana to Society & Culture (17 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
In a big enough city, I suspect posting on Craigslist (Gigs?) could work out fairly well.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 2:20 PM on August 25, 2014 [3 favorites]

A few thoughts:

What about trans people? For some, it seems to me it is easier to be out as a new gender if they can leave behind people who knew them when.

Or victims of sexual abuse in childhood? Can you maybe contact some abuse survivor support groups?

Religious refugees? By that I mean people who grew up with a particular religion, had unhealthy relationships deeply involved in that religion, and left both the family and church behind and found they had to go elsewhere to really make it work?

What about people newly out of prison who want to go straight? It can be hard to get hired at all when you have a record and it can be hard to stay straight if you stay in contact with your old friends who are probably still involved in a life of crime. So I think just starting over is probably the best way to go for some ex-cons.
posted by Michele in California at 2:33 PM on August 25, 2014 [6 favorites]

Community colleges would be perfect for this. Or organizations supporting foster youth/ emancipated youth.
posted by ichomp at 2:59 PM on August 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Maybe The Innocence Project could connect you with some who have come out of jail after being wrongfully accused and prefer to disappear or resettle far from the original incident.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 3:12 PM on August 25, 2014 [3 favorites]

If this is casting for a tv show or documentary--Craigslist under tv/film/video. Or hire people who specialize in reality casting. Most social service agencies won't refer clients for TV or films.
posted by Ideefixe at 3:27 PM on August 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Me :) mail me
posted by Kestrelxo at 3:37 PM on August 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

If foreigners seeking refugee status fit the bill, you could find organizations that help refugees. (I can connect you with one in the US.)
posted by spbmp at 5:20 PM on August 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

I would check the google adwords prices on things like "how to start a new life." or (probably more dramatic than you want) "how to fake your own death" or "how to start over." Things people who want to do this would google. Buy an ad seeing to interview them. You'll have to set up a web site for the project (preferably on some reputably big-org web site -- university or big company).

Oh, but the only way to check those prices is to set up a campaigjn, unfortunately.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 5:26 PM on August 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

Trans folks immediately popped into my mind.

Witness protection is another idea?
posted by oceanjesse at 5:31 PM on August 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've done this. Feel free to mail me if you'd like - I'm happy to discuss.
posted by stubbehtail at 5:43 PM on August 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

What about something about how children of immigrants are immigrating back to their parents' home countries?
posted by gemutlichkeit at 6:18 PM on August 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

You are in the US? I'm not being flip when I say that they are probably right under your nose. What you describe seems to me to be deeply entwined with the American myth.
posted by Good Brain at 8:43 PM on August 25, 2014

I did this - and so have lots of us sex workers. Feel free to memail me.
posted by Mistress at 1:35 AM on August 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

North Dakota.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:37 AM on August 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure, but maybe you could use HARO for this, even if you're not a journalist?
posted by trillian at 3:32 PM on August 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

French Foreign Legion
posted by quercus23 at 2:23 PM on August 31, 2014

O II heard a guy on the radio today named frank Aaron whose job it is yto create new identities for people people. Look him up. The radio station was 1010 in Toronto.

Backspace key not working. Sorry.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 9:30 PM on August 31, 2014

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