Human trafficking networks operate across borders, but governments and civil society organizations struggle to develop cross-border collaborations to shut down traffickers and strengthen the global safety net for survivors of human trafficking. As people flee violence, persecution, or seek economic opportunities outside of their own countries, they can all too easily be ensnared in exploitative situations. Traffickers capitalize on language and cultural barriers, as well as victims’ lack of knowledge of legal rights or local support systems in a new country. In addition, under-resourced service providers need more avenues to communicate with each other, share strategies, and build partnerships to establish cross-border support systems for survivors of human trafficking.
To eradicate trafficking across borders and strengthen services for victims, Polaris galvanizes regional collaboration among service providers, governments, and law enforcement entities to share data, strategies, and resources. Based on our expertise operating the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline and BeFree Textline, Polaris has discovered the potential of a hotline to function as a coordination mechanism for the anti-trafficking movement in a country by increasing victim identification; building relationships with service providers, law enforcement, and government; and pinpointing gaps in resources and response through the development of critical data collection systems.
Our Work In Action
The close relationship between Canada, Mexico, and the US affords a great opportunity to build a comprehensive regional approach to eliminate human trafficking. Polaris is supporting the development of strong national human trafficking hotlines in Mexico and Canada and collaborating with multiple groups that share an interest in reducing human trafficking in the region.
Polaris also builds connections with diverse organizations and hotlines in other regions of the world that face significant national and regional human trafficking problems. These activities include:
- Conducting hotline training in Southeast Asia, Mexico, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East
- Leading training on hotline data systems in Eastern Europe to improve data collection and facilitate the exchange of data between hotlines
- Hosting the first bilateral consultation between hotlines in Thailand and Vietnam.
The Global Modern Slavery Directory enables all of us to connect more victims of human trafficking and at-risk populations to help around the world. A joint collaboration between Polaris, the Freedom Fund, and the Global Fund to End Slavery, the Global Modern Slavery Directory enables service providers, law enforcement, policy makers, and advocates to identify and connect with anti-trafficking organizations in other countries and determine available services. Mapping verified organizations globally also enables us to highlight areas where services for victims are lacking.
Photo credit: Flickr / chuck624