Human trafficking is one of the hardest international relief and development causes to talk about. The crime has been documented in 148 countries, and includes forced sexual exploitation, labor, involuntary marriage, organ trade and more. An estimated 40.3 million people are trafficked each year, and roughly a third of those are children under the age of 18.
While some hoped that restricted travel during the COVID-19 pandemic would reduce trafficking, our charity partners fear the opposite – technology has helped move trafficking further underground, and limited government capacity makes it harder for local officials to reach and save victims.
This is why we have to talk about human trafficking, though it’s challenging – and even upsetting to think about – because victims deserve our support. They need us to speak out and take action against what’s happening.
The bright spot in this darkness is our charity partners working to end this modern-day slavery. They do everything from identifying and rescuing victims to providing mental and physical support for freed survivors, and working with communities to address the root causes of exploitation and build long-lasting change.
Most trafficking victims don’t know where they can get help – our charity partners work with local law enforcement to rescue victims and provide them with the resources, shelter and mental health services they need once they’re free. Alongside public and private sector partners, our charities are building legislative solutions to persecute perpetrators and halt trafficking across industries like tourism, agriculture, mining and more. And future generations are learning how to spot human trafficking and protect themselves from similar situations because of the prevention and awareness campaigns of charities working in this space.
Here’s how you can help: Give to the Human Trafficking Fund, which supports leading international charities tackling this issue and bringing freedom to thousands every year. Join us in this fight and support multiple organizations at once for maximum impact.
To commend all that we have accomplished as a global community and recognize the challenges that lie ahead, we’re proud to spotlight the critical work being done by our charity partners and share stories of hope with you all.
International Justice Mission
Roopa and her family were caught in a relentless storm of violence and backbreaking labor. They were slaves. Every day from 2 a.m. until 9 p.m., they molded, hauled and stacked hundreds of clay bricks with dozens of other slaves at a brick kiln — anxiously working to reach the daily thousand-brick quota or risk a vicious beating.
It was into this world of abuse and despair that Roopa’s beautiful son, Vijay, whose name means “victory,” was born. She couldn’t bear the thought of Vijay growing up at the kiln. One night as she cooked, she asked her husband, “What do we do? If we stay in this situation, your son will be in the same situation as you for the rest of his life. Nobody will be able to help him.” They planned a daring nighttime escape and slipped into a nearby forest.
But after scraping by for a few months, their situation grew dire. Little Vijay was sick, and they were barely eating. With no food, no money and a sick baby, the young couple was forced to make a choice nobody should ever have to make: stay in hiding and risk Vijay’s life, or seek help and risk recapture? They chose to find help for their son. Roopa and her husband took young Vijay to the doctor for medical treatment. While in town, the abusive brick kiln owner found them and dragged Roopa and Vijay back to the kiln.
Meanwhile, her husband searched frantically for anyone who could help. At last, he was connected to a local organization — trained by IJM just one week before — who agreed to intervene. They called IJM and the Bangalore anti-trafficking police unit, and together they planned a rescue operation to find Roopa and Vijay. The very next day, they were freed and the abusive brick kiln owner was arrested and put in jail. For the first time in over 13 years, Roopa was safe. Today, Roopa, her husband and little Vijay are together and enjoying their lives in freedom.
Free the Slaves
Freedom means so much to those who have lived without it. This video shows you every aspect of life that freedom touches and the work Free the Slaves is doing to help people reach it.
The Salvation Army World Service Office (SAWSO)
No one is at greater risk for victimization than those who are alone and without resources in an unfamiliar place. And unfortunately, it’s a common story on the streets of Tijuana. Desperate and with seemingly nowhere to turn, recent U.S. deportees are easy targets for human traffickers. Among the most vulnerable are young women aged 15-35, who often have children of their own who can also become victims. All too often, they’re abducted and forced into modern-day slavery as soon as they cross the border. It’s not just recent deportees who are at risk – women from rural villages in the region, drawn to Tijuana by promises of good jobs in America, can also find themselves victimized by human traffickers. And existing social services in the area cover less than 20% of the women and children in need of aid.
SAWSO, along with its anti-human trafficking partners, addresses the needs of this vulnerable demographic by providing a safe, secure space for these women and children as they find their footing and eventually find their way back to their communities of origin. The facility can house six women and 18 children – for up to three months at a time – offering a safe place to stay until they’re in a position to return to their families in other parts of Mexico. “This project is successfully helping a city that is strategically placed on the U.S. border to work with people who are in a state of transition” said Jason Pope, technical advisor for anti-human trafficking at SAWSO. “Whether they have been deported and are rebuilding their lives in Mexico or whether they are waiting for an opportunity to apply for asylum in the U.S., people are treated with dignity and provided care by The Salvation Army who is sharing God’s love.”
Human trafficking is a global issue, but it’s here in the United States too. ECPAT-USA shows us it’s happening in our communities and our schools, asking us to think about how we can get involved.
World Relief helped create FAAST, a strategic alliance of Christian organizations working together to combat slavery and human trafficking. Their mission is to mobilize and equip communities to combat slavery and human trafficking and to restore survivors.
FAAST provides a framework for collaboration between Christian churches, denominations, universities and communities around the world who are rising up to confront human trafficking. They connect God’s people through the power of partnership and equip them through the creation of resources, facilitation of training events and development of anti-trafficking programs. Since its inception, FAAST has written the most widely used curriculum for the restoration of survivors of trafficking, held more than 120 trauma-informed trainings, hosted live-streamed nationwide prayer events and provided resources to thousands of practitioners and churches.
Today, World Relief and FAAST are equipping Christ-followers around the globe to restore freedom to those held captive. Their vision is to see a world of transformed communities, free of slavery and exploitation. None of this would be possible through just individual efforts; it is only by working together that we can fight this grave injustice and achieve impact.
Join the Fight to End Human Trafficking
One charity alone can’t bring an end to human trafficking. That’s why Global Impact created the Human Trafficking Fund, to bring together key nonprofits fighting for freedom around the globe. Whether it’s to help rescue survivors like Roopa or share prevention tips with U.S. teens, every gift takes us one step closer to a world without trafficking.
Give today to the Human Trafficking Fund! Your contributions support these charities in their incredible work to save lives and help survivors heal.
Want to organize a greater impact by involving your colleagues? Companies and teams can use the new Human Trafficking Cause Kit to engage employees around this cause and give back together. Volunteer as a group or take a deep dive into human trafficking solutions with a team film screening. The more people know about this cause, the more we can do as a global community to create lasting change.