The safety, success, and protection of both our field teams and trafficking victims is always our top priority when communicating about our work. While a heartbeat of our organization is to bring donors to the “front lines of rescue work,” we tread extremely cautiously in our communications– especially regarding social media. The following are guidelines which we as an organization have committed to in all of our reporting:

Honesty

We never exaggerate. Ever. When a mission fails, we won’t tell donors that it succeeded. If we rescue two girls in a raid, we won’t report that we saved 11. We refuse to communicate sensationally to raise funding. We only report on missions on our website and “claim” a rescue when The Exodus Road had a direct hand in the success of it– whether through staffing, funding, equipment provision, or direct support. Our goal is to give accurate, honest reporting and to paint clear pictures for donors and supporters of both our efforts and the realities of intervention work– oftentimes which do not include “Hollywood” endings.

We are also very transparent about our statistics and terminology. Please check out this page for details on the term “rescue” and descriptions of how we measure our progress.

Victim-Centered

We abide by the basic guidelines of UNICEF for reporting on minors. We never reveal real names or faces of any underage victim or child online or in print, unless express permission is given by a parent or guardian. We maintain the dignity and rights of the child or victim at all times, to the best of our ability. While we do report stories from the field, we do not overdramatize details of a case or mission, and we seek to maintain a victim-centered approach, both in the case itself and in the reporting of it. While we do conduct interviews with adult victims, we expressly ask permission and often pay women for rights to the interview itself. Again, we will not publish faces, minors or adults, of any trafficking victim or potential victim. Our goal is to communicate the stories of victims, in an effort to paint realistic pictures of sexual slavery, but this goal is trumped by the protection and respect for the individuals involved.

Safety

The safety of our teams and success of current missions is paramount. Because of this, it is important for readers and supporters to know that our communications, while all true in detail, may be altered in the following manners:

  • Names changed
  • Places/Locations altered, especially while case is active
  • “Current” intel may be one or two days old in actuality
  • Photos/Videos blurred, edited, to conceal identity or location

 

It is vital that followers understand that the safety of our field teams is of utmost importance. We will not reveal the identities of our investigators or the member organizations of The Exodus Road coalition, unless he/they specifically release us to do so. Photos of investigators will also not be published, or greatly altered, to conceal true identities. Again, safety of field teams is paramount.

It’s important for supporters to understand that many of our field teams work in underdeveloped countries with little web access, and so the concerns for live reporting in some areas is less than Westerners would assume. It’s also vital to note that there are 27 million modern day slaves in 161 countries, and The Exodus Road is, realistically, a small force fighting for freedom on a global scale.

 

Matt and I have personally lived the reality of undercover work, and we are fully aware of the dangers involved. Because of this, we approach our communications cautiously, especially when reporting live field updates. Obviously, we walk a difficult balance because we feel strongly that people in the West need to understand the realities of the sex industry today, but again, the safety of teams, the rights of the victims, and the success of live cases will always be the greater goal to which all official communications bow.

– Laura Parker, Vice-President, Communications

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