We at The Exodus Road are a people of action. As a nonprofit, we also believe that our donors have a right to know that their investments are making an impact. While we agree that systemic change will take decades, not years, and we believe that the individual’s journey to true restoration involves much more than the moment of rescue, we also value the accurate reporting of what this community is doing to fight for freedom– especially in the intervention space, our primary niche. This is why we share our stats in our reporting and seek to clearly communicate the definitions we as an organization use.
RESCUE. While the term “rescue” is ambiguous in the counter-trafficking field particularly, when we use the word “rescue,” we are specifically speaking of a deliverance from a situation of current slavery or trafficking. This can include cases involving restricted movement, trafficking across borders, underage sex trafficking, forced begging or domestic servitude, debt bondage, or labor trafficking. All cases are worked under the authority of the local police, and our teams operate in a support-based role during the actual intervention activity.
SUPPORTED. You will see the terms like “supported rescues” and “help find and free slaves” throughout our communications. We use this language because we recognize that an NGO does not have the power to bust down a brothel door legally. Rather, our role is to support the efforts of local law enforcement and government organizations in the intervention arena.
How We Count the Rescues:
When we talk about our organization’s progress regarding “total supported rescues,” we are referring to raids and cases which The Exodus Road significantly supported through notable financial investment, investigative support or manpower, the donation of covert gear or direct leadership.
We break this “big-picture” total number down further into two categories (which we update here on this page): Direct Rescues and Collaborative Rescues.
Direct Rescues are the cases in which the NGO activity was exclusively led by The Exodus Road’s direct staff. In these situations, our organization supplied the staff, financial resources, covert gear, operational support and direct leadership of the case, in coordination with the police.
In our Collaborative Rescues, we count all situations where The Exodus Road played a key part, but did not provide the totality or sometimes even the majority of what was needed for success. We might have offered a crucial piece of cyberforensics gear that proved essential to an arrest or we may have funded field work for another partner’s case in collaboration. We believe this number reflects both our commitment to work with others in the counter-trafficking space, as well as the noble work of our partnering NGOs.
We do not count in our statistics cases or activities in which The Exodus Road had only a peripheral or minimal investment or impact.
In addition to documenting rescues, we use the same clarification system to report the arrests police make in connection with trafficking cases which we supported, too.
We utilize a central database system to record our case work and track our success. Because of security, we are unable to make those records public, but we do document media releases, photos, statistics and details of operations when we are able. You can visit our press page here.
Once again, though, victim rescues and perpetrator arrests are ultimately the responsibility of trusted police partners, and the NGO community plays a supporting role to local authorities.
Who Are the Operatives?
When we talk about “active operatives,” we are referring to the individuals who are currently on our roster, working to gather information about trafficking. These are not primarily full-time employees, but consist of: deployed Western Undercover volunteers (DELTA Team), contract national operatives, full-time investigative staff, and partnering operatives from other organizations while working on joint cases.
Our Undercover Operatives are more highly trained, engage in higher level evidence-gathering and primarily operate throughout SE Asia and India. Many have military or law enforcement backgrounds. 25% are nationals — a number we are hoping to increase. Undercover Operatives serve from several weeks a year in the field to full-time employment, and undergo an intense vetting and training process with our teams. You can read more about how you can help empower their work by joining Search & Rescue.
How We Train Nationals
We believe strongly in supporting nationals to fight trafficking in their own communities and countries. Because of this, we financially support, organize, and lead training events and programs to encourage the success of nationals in the abolition movement. We count in our “nationals trained” statistic all individual attendances at targeted training events or programs (led, funded, or facilitated by The Exodus Road team) in a person’s home country. Typically, these attendees are front line practitioners in the NGO community, law enforcement or government partners, or community advocates.
Because of the nature of our work, our stats are always changing, of course. And, while responsible reporting of the numbers is a practical way we demonstrate to our donors the activity they are investing in, the real reason we “do what we do” is always found in the real individuals whose lives are impacted by the work of our tribe here.