When the movie Taken came out in 2008, it appeared to shine a light on the problem of human trafficking; albeit, it was not an entirely accurate portrayal. One of the issues with the movie is that it painted a picture of human trafficking as a terrible crime that only happens overseas to unsuspecting tourists. Parents were given another reason not to let their teenage daughters travel outside of the country, and reassured themselves that their children are much safer within the borders of the United States.
The reality, however, is that sex trafficking is a very present danger—both globally and within this country. It affects girls and boys, citizens and immigrants, young adults and barely pubescent children. In 2016, an estimated 4.8 million people—almost exclusively female—were victims of forced sexual exploitation across the globe. 21 percent were under the age of 18. And this is only one part of human trafficking; an estimated 40.3 million people were victims of modern slavery in 2016 (including forced labor and forced marriages).
These five nonprofits—global, national, and local—are just some of the organizations leading the fight against human trafficking, providing resources and support to victims, and helping survivors start anew. Learn more about each one’s initiatives, public trust*, and how you can get involved.
*The Charity Navigator scores you see below are based on two broad areas of a charity’s performance: their Financial Health and their Accountability & Transparency.
Charity Navigator Score: 90.07
Vision for Impact: “Creating an innovative bridge between practice and policy, Cast provides evidence driven, comprehensive services to human trafficking survivors, empowering them to become partners and leaders in the field, which leads to systemic changes in attitudes, laws, and policies that allow modern slavery to persist.”
Source: 2018 Impact Report
Services and Programs:
- Hotline (to report tips on crimes) and emergency response line (for survivors)
- Social services for survivors (counseling, basic necessities, education, safety planning, transportation, life skills training, employment, and more)
- Legal services (immigration advocacy, criminal victim-witness advocacy, civil litigation, family law and cutting edge policy initiatives)
- Shelter in Los Angeles (provides physically and psychologically safe housing for trafficking survivors)
- Youth program (comprehensive case management, monthly group activities, and more)
- Survivor leadership (peer-to-peer mentorship and survivor-led advocacy)
- Partnership and outreach in LA County (1999, CAST established the Los Angeles Slavery and Trafficking Task Force, the first anti-trafficking task force in the U.S.)
- Advocacy and public policy
Charity Navigator Score: Not yet rated
Mission: Abolish slavery everywhere, forever.
Locations: Sydney, Australia; Sofia, Bulgaria; Copenhagen, Denmark; Thessaloniki, Greece; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Oslo, Norway; Barcelona, Spain; Cape Town, South Africa; Bangkok, Pattaya, Thailand; Kiev, Ukraine; London, UK; California, USA; North Carolina, USA
- Reach: Educate people through events, presentations, and student programs
- Rescue: Work alongside law enforcement, government programs, prosecutors, and more to identify and help survivors
- Restore: Provide housing, medical treatment, counseling, education, employment, and repatriation to survivors
Charity Navigator Score: 96.46
About Polaris: Polaris is a leader in the global fight to eradicate modern slavery. Named after the North Star that guided slaves to freedom in the U.S., Polaris systemically disrupts the human trafficking networks that rob human beings of their lives and their freedom. Our comprehensive model puts victims at the center of what we do—helping survivors restore their freedom, preventing more victims, and leveraging data and technology to pursue traffickers wherever they operate.
Source: About Page
- Sex trafficking from Latin America (going after organizations that target young women and girls from Mexico and other Latin American countries)
- Illicit massage businesses (ending trafficking in businesses disguised as legitimate)
- Survivor support (housing, counseling, medical care, legal assistance, and more for survivors)
- Global safety net (regional collaboration among service providers, governments, and law enforcement entities to share data, strategies, and resources)
- Advocacy for youth victims (partnering with government and local agencies for increased protections and legal remedies for youth)
Charity Navigator Score: 90.9
Mission Statement: Shared Hope International strives to prevent the conditions that foster sex trafficking, restore victims of sex slavery, and bring justice to vulnerable women and children. We envision a world passionately opposed to sex trafficking and a community committed to restoring survivors to lives of purpose, value and choice—one life at a time.
Source: Our Mission and Values
- Training (educating first responders and community members to help them identify the signs of human trafficking)
- Awareness (initiating campaigns and collaborating with other organizations to drive awareness and combine resources)
- Survivor support (providing and assisting with safe homes, medical care, education, vocational training, therapy, and outreach and intervention services for survivors)
- Legislative advocacy (advocating for stronger state and federal laws to protect victims and increase offender accountability)
Charity Navigator Score: 86.96
Vision: Love146 is an international human rights organization working to end child trafficking and exploitation through survivor care and prevention.
- Survivor care (safety planning, crisis intervention, short-term and long-term resources)
- Prevention education (“Not a #Number is an interactive, five-module prevention curriculum designed to teach youth how to protect themselves from human trafficking and exploitation through information, critical thinking, and skill development”)
- Professional training (for grassroots organizations and law enforcement officials)
- Research and advocacy (to help victims/survivors worldwide)