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Impact of the Global Modern Slavery Directory in 2020

In 2020, hits to the site leaped a record 67 percent over the year before as a record high number of survivors, potential victims, service providers and others sought resources around the world. 

As the global pandemic has so dramatically illustrated, no nation is an island unto itself. As the longtime operator of the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline, Polaris has known this for some time. The Trafficking Hotline routinely works on situations of human trafficking that require connecting victims and survivors to supports and services outside the United States. That’s a significant part of the reason why in 2014, Polaris launched the Global Modern Slavery Directory (GMSD). Since then, this unique resource has become more valuable than ever. In 2020, hits to the site leapt a record 67 percent over the year before as a record high number of survivors, potential victims, service providers and others sought resources around the world. 

The GMSD has changed and grown a great deal since it was originally conceived. In its first iteration, it was essentially a digital-age phone book, providing contact information for organizations working on human trafficking around the world. But it soon became apparent that there was so much more needed than simply a digital-age version of a phone book. Human trafficking is incredibly complex, and the more information available at the click of a mouse, the better help can be provided to those in need. 

Today, the GMSD offers information for about 2,682 organizations in 197 countries, including detailed services offered, the populations organizations are able to work with, languages spoken, any and all contact information, as well as any hotlines (phone, SMS, online chat) that they operate. This information is continuously updated to ensure accuracy, and as we learn more about what service providers and others need to know in order to make the best possible referrals. 

While the GMSD is focused internationally, the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline is its most frequent user. During 2020, the Trafficking Hotline received information about 971 cases involving an international location, made 588 referrals to international service providers, and sent 145 reports about potential trafficking situations to international contacts (service providers and law enforcement) – all thanks to the work of the Global Modern Slavery Directory.

With careful tracking and annual updates, the GMSD is a vital resource beyond individual situations of human trafficking and exploitation. It serves as an accurate map of the landscape and allows researchers and governments to identify gaps in services and other needs in most of the world. 

Through data extracted from the Trafficking Hotline situations, we at Polaris are also able to learn more about the top venues and industries for trafficking globally and the top needs identified by international potential victims of trafficking. 

2021 promises to be another great year for the Global Modern Slavery Directory. Thanks to a two-year grant from the Carlson Family Foundation, the GMSD will be getting a much needed facelift. That means rebuilding the website and the directory from the ground up, making it more user-friendly, and adding a mobile and tablet version, allowing for more accessibility.  We will also be conducting more research into the data we have collected to begin some analysis of service gaps internationally and share those findings with partners and GMSD members. We will also be reaching out to more member organizations to create and update country protocols the Trafficking Hotline uses to ensure we are able to send potential trafficking reports to the correct and survivor-centered agencies. 

If your organization would like to join the Global Modern Slavery Directory, or if you know of organizations that should join, please fill out the application. For more information and inclusion criteria, please review the GMSD – Service Provider Guidelines and Expectations document. If you are already a member of the GMSD and would like to update your information, please click here.

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Need help? Polaris operates the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline.