Today marks the culmination of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. President Obama proclaimed January, 2010 to be dedicated to promoting anti-trafficking work. On February first, the United States honors the signing of the resolution that formally abolished the legality of slavery in the United States on February 1st, 1865. (Originally published on The Human Trafficking Project.)
Human trafficking resources for survivors and activists alike
Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS)
Per GEMS: Today is National Freedom Day. On this day, let’s make our voices heard and take a stand against human trafficking, modern day slavery and exploitation of women, men and children.
One thing you can do today: Sign the GEMS launched petition to support a young trafficking victim in Texas who was arrested while her 32 year old trafficker walked free.
Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking Announcement
Today, Polaris Project headquarters and its local office in Colorado announced plans for the Colorado branch to transition into an independent organization, the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking (LCHT). The decision was mutually designed to best serve the global, national and regional anti-human trafficking movement.
With both the Polaris Project national and Colorado offices focusing on different approaches within the anti-trafficking movement, the collective decision was made to segue to two independent, complementary organizations working toward the same ultimate end, ending human trafficking.
Recognizing the global nature of human trafficking, Polaris Project, founded in 2002, opened several branch offices to address the specific needs of a particular locale. The Colorado branch opened in October 2006, having evolved from a local volunteer chapter that began in February 2005. Responding to the fact that anti-trafficking efforts in the Mountain west region were still nascent, Polaris Project Colorado focused efforts on filling the information gap through action-oriented research, training “first-responders” who come in contact with victims/survivors of trafficking, and building the capacity of organizations that serve victims/survivors and work to combat human trafficking. Polaris Project Colorado quickly established itself as a leader in these areas.
“This evolution will provide both organizations with greater operational and strategic flexibility, and will increase our collective impact.” said Bradley Myles, Polaris Project’s Acting Executive Director, when announcing the transition. “As an independently governed body, the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking will be best able to achieve its enormous potential as a leading research and training organization.”
Both organizations specialize in working collaboratively with peer nonprofits as vehicles for change. Polaris Project and the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking will continue to work together in the future as partners. The Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking’s research efforts and regional assessments of human trafficking trends will, among other things, help Polaris Project serve national human trafficking hotline callers from that region of the country, and will provide data and insights for the technical assistance and best-practices Polaris Project implements.
“For example, LCHT could conduct a research project to help a city determine the ways in which its service providers can better assist victims and survivors of human trafficking. In turn, this local information will enable us to identify exemplary practices and protocols that can be adopted by communities working throughout the country to combat human trafficking at the local level,” said Amanda Finger, Executive Director of the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking.
Girls Educational & Mentoring Services (GEMS) is the nation’s largest organization empowering girls and young women, ages 12-21, who have experienced sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking to exit the commercial sex industry and develop to their full potential. GEMS is committed to ending commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking of children by changing individual lives, transforming public perception, and revolutionizing the systems and policies that impact sexually exploited youth. GEMS’ vision is to end the commercial exploitation and trafficking of children. We believe that all young women have great beauty and worth, and the potential for future success. The voices and experiences of youth survivors are integral to the development and implementation of all GEMS’ programming.
About Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking
LCHT is committed to combating human trafficking at a local and global level through participatory action research; promoting awareness and education; fostering leadership development; and forming key collaborations with local organizations, institutions, and community members. The Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking is based in Denver, CO with additional information provided online at: www.combathumantrafficking.org.
About Polaris Project
Polaris Project, formed in 2002 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., is the leading organization combating all forms of human trafficking in the United States and serving both U.S. citizens and foreign national victims, including men, women, and children. Polaris Project’s holistic strategy is based on taking what is learned from its work with survivors and using it to guide the creation of long-term solutions. Polaris Projects strives for systemic change by advocating for stronger federal and state laws, operating the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline (1-888-373-7888), and providing services to help its clients and all victims of human trafficking. For more information, visit www.PolarisProject.org.