Human trafficking and modern day slavery happens in America today. According to the annual U.S. Trafficking in Persons report, the United States is a “source, transit and destination country for men, women and children … subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor.”
And while we work to help find and free slaves overseas, we want to do the same right at home — in the country where we as an organization were founded.
We believe in equipping civil society to actively “do something” about slavery in their own communities. TraffickWatch was our solution to this vision taking shape on American soil.
We were all intended to participate in the freedom of other human beings. There is something about the very fabric of our soul that longs to be involved. I know you can feel it.David, Advocate and Operative
Program Update: A Shift in Our Strategy
Formerly, TraffickWatch was a program utilizing trained volunteers to gather, analyze, and deliver tips of potential trafficking or exploitation to local police, beginning in the United States. The TraffickWatch Program was in its pilot stage from March 2015 through June 2016 in Colorado Springs, upon which we evaluated the effectiveness of the program – both from the volunteer and police perspectives. After evaluating the program, we have decided to make several changes.
Here’s where we’re headed:
TraffickWatch will become an online training platform, launched in the Americas first. While we no longer run a volunteer boots-on-the-ground program, we are developing a highly interactive online training platform, which will still be called TraffickWatch. This interactive and educational mini-course will be available to anyone who has a computer. It will include data about both global and local trafficking, signs to be aware of, and action steps for anyone to take to get involved. It will be an effective training tool to educate a large volume of people on what trafficking actually looks like right in their own backyards. We feel that this tool will be a critical step in moving people — in any city! — from awareness to action. We are building the platform with a target completion by early 2018. We’ll let you know when it is up and running!
CHARLIE Team will work active investigations in the Americas. Because we have found that law enforcement partners need a greater depth of information on cases than our volunteer team was able to safely provide, we will instead be utilizing several CHARLIE Team investigators. These trained men and women will work to conduct similar investigations as our teams overseas. They will operate in the U.S. and Latin America. This team will also utilize critical cyber forensics and investigations technology, based at our Cyber Operations Center in the U.S.
The Future of TraffickWatch and How You Can Help
Three things to do while you wait:
1. Sign up for more information about the launch of our online TraffickWatch training program. When it releases, take the free course online and encourage your friends to do the same. Spread the word about it after you try it yourself.
2. Invest in CHARLIE TEAM. We have a team of trained operatives, and we need financial support to empower their work. Consider a $35 (or more!) monthly donation to this team. $35 funds one night of investigations. You’ll still be impacting trafficking in the Americas in significant ways, and we’ll keep you updated on progress, too. You can do that HERE.
3. Volunteer locally with The Exodus Road. We are in the midst of reorganizing our Volunteer Program here in our home base of Colorado Springs, and we’d love for you to still work with us. There are endless creative ways to help in the fight for freedom. Fill out a volunteer form here.
The vision of TraffickWatch is to:
- train average citizens to actively look for and recognize instances of trafficking in their communities,
- provide the resource of more “eyes on the ground” for local law enforcement, which is typically understaffed and underfunded, and
- make trafficking more “dangerous” for criminals, make freedom more possible for victims.