I’d like to start the New Year off expressing my deep, sincere gratefulness, and that of all of us on the End Slavery TN team, for the generous outpouring of donations we received last year, enabling us to concentrate on the task at hand. We are greatly encouraged. If you are a donor, you rightfully want to know what your money is being used for. This entry is intended to answer that question. If you are not a donor, this may be of interest nonetheless, as an overview of the work of End Slavery in Tennessee.
Keeping people from being trafficked is even better than rescuing them. We’re designing/adapting materials and, in 2010, will be using them to teach the tactics of traffickers to
- Children and youth
- Inner city and immigrant service providers
- Others who work with young people
HELPS VICTIMS in transition
One girl rescued from sex slavery told us she knew some trafficking victims who later turned to prostitution because they didn’t have a toothbrush. In other words, no one was looking out for their physical needs as they transitioned back into normal life. After years of a trafficker controlling their every move, freedom can seem overwhelming. Better that they feel overwhelmed by how we care for them.
We’re working with the FBI and others to provide direct help to rescued victims. We also offer training, encouragement and financial support to those establishing shelters in Tennessee.
MOBILIZES and EQUIPS an army of volunteers
ESTN is all about grassroots activism and we have an exciting and ever growing network of activists, each of whom is playing their part in ending slavery.
- Allow tools for communication and information to flow.
- Provide general and specialized volunteer training for core volunteers and those involved in research, advocacy, community education and (future) working directly/ indirectly with victims.
- Provide resources for activists to carry out their work on college campuses, in faith communities, with professional groups, in the workplace and among artists.
TRAINS people likely to encounter trafficking
We train groups of professionals who are likely to make contact with victims or see the suspicious signs of trafficking, so they can correctly interpret what they see and know how to provide help. Examples of groups we’ve trained include apartment managers, medical personnel, teachers and community leaders. Your donations provide training materials.
EDUCATES the next generation
End Slavery Tennessee provides books and media on modern slavery to university libraries, so the next generation, tomorrow’s policy makers, is not blind to this travesty. Your money makes this happen.
SPREADS AWARENESS to the community at large
Once they discover the facts, some choose to directly engage in the movement to end slavery, others use their knowledge to affect public policy, buy differently and/or spread what they learn to their sphere of influence.
Your gifts provide supplies, handouts and travel costs for group speaking engagements (about 50 in 2009). This is in addition to meetings and other communication with individuals, student interviews, radio (78 stations) and TV interviews, newsletters, etc.
ENABLES RESTORATION and hope – a new life for rescued slaves
Donations provided "seed money" to start Freedom Parties and Presents with Purpose events, selling items made by rescued slaves, enabling them to earn a living and restore their lives. These products are purchases from around the globe, as well as right here in Tennessee.
UNCOVERS TRAFFICKING in our own backyards
Donations provide posters with hotline number and red flags for victim ID. Police say these posters are useful for victim identification. Volunteers – truck drivers, student and church groups, apartment managers – place these posters throughout the state.
In addition, specialized training by experts in the field enable us to catalogue and research local activity, providing useful information to overworked law enforcement officers, with the goal of leading to prosecution (expanding in 2010).
Local activists teach at the Nashville “John’s School” for men convicted of soliciting prostitutes. These activists teach how choices feed the monstrous machine of trafficking and the organized crime behind it.
Slavery doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Many factors, including poverty, contribute. Victims overseas often end up in wealthier receiving countries, like the U.S. (Conversely, we’ve heard of streets in Mexico lined with trafficked US children, for example.) Goods made by slaves overseas end up on our store shelves, immigrants flee to the US for a variety of reasons and find themselves deceived and trapped into slavery. And those who remain trapped overseas are generally in nations without the will and /or resources to help.
A minimum of 10% of all donations go to support international initiatives. Some donors designate additional funds to specific projects, like a border crossing in Nepal where survivors of trafficking work in conjunction with border police to identify traffickers and their victims in transit to India. (In just one year, donations helped our colleagues on the border rescue 1,747 girls from the sex trade!)