MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – Polaris and Consejo Ciudadano, two leading organizations in the fight against human trafficking in the United States and Mexico, announced a new partnership today that will bolster efforts to support survivors of human trafficking and disrupt human trafficking networks across borders.
Of note, Consejo’s local hotline serving Mexico City will be expanded nationwide. Between the National Helpline Against Trafficking in Persons (01800 5533 000) operated by Consejo Ciudadano in Mexico and the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (1-888-373-7888) operated by Polaris in the U.S., hotline coverage for victims of human trafficking will span across two-thirds of the North American continent. Representatives from Mexican government agencies, civil society, and the U.S. Embassy in Mexico joined with Polaris and Consejo Ciudadano at an event this morning in Mexico City to announce the partnership.
“Human trafficking networks operate across borders, so it is critical that we collaborate across them,” said Bradley Myles, CEO of Polaris. “By working internationally, we can shut down traffickers and their networks regardless of where they operate, as well as ensure that survivors can receive the support they need. Together, Polaris and Consejo Ciudadano are building a critical cross-border safety net for victims of human trafficking in North America.”
“This partnership and the national line is proof civil society organizations can do work that transcends borders to address global problems. In the case of human trafficking, our work must involve everywhere from the most rural communities in Mexico to the largest cities in the USA. Therefore, cooperation between citizens and authorities is required to address this serious crime,” said Luis Wertman Zaslav, President of Consejo Ciudadano in Mexico City.
Polaris and Consejo Ciudadano will share key insights and trends about human trafficking to create the most effective responses to requests for help. The two non-governmental and civil society-led hotlines will be able to coordinate across the border by connecting survivors to services when they request help in the other country. The organizations will also be raising awareness about human trafficking and the hotline so victims in even remote areas of Mexico are aware there is support. Consejo’s hotline is the first citizen-created hotline for reports of this crime nationally in Mexico.
To advance Consejo’s hotline expansion nationwide, Polaris provided key support to Consejo and members of its national network to help share what staff has learned by operating the NHTRC hotline. Polaris staff conducted trainings on how to operate a national hotline, identify human trafficking, equip hotline operators with key skills to handle different types of trafficking-related calls and callers, and build partnerships throughout governments and civil society to respond appropriately.
Every day, women, children, and men, including citizens of the U.S. and Mexico, are forced to provide commercial sex, labor, or services against their will. The International Labor Organization estimates there are 20.9 million victims of human trafficking worldwide, and the NHTRC has received reports of multiple human trafficking cases in all 50 states and D.C. in 2015 alone. Since 2007, the NHTRC, which is partially funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has handled over 21,000 cases of human trafficking in the U.S.
Consejo Ciudadano is a civil society organization in Mexico City whose primary goal is to create citizen complaint mechanisms that are easy, simple, confidential, and effective so that citizens can report threats to their security and well-being. Consejo works as a bridge of trust between citizens and authorities, with programs that address specific problems of public safety and law enforcement. It operates a hotline that currently serves Mexico City, and has received 330 reports of human trafficking since 2013. All organizational services are free.
Polaris is a leader in the global fight to eradicate modern slavery. Named after the North Star that guided slaves to freedom in the U.S., Polaris acts as a catalyst to systemically disrupt the human trafficking networks that rob human beings of their lives and their freedom. By working with government leaders, the world’s leading technology corporations, and local partners, Polaris equips communities to identify, report, and prevent human trafficking. Our comprehensive model puts victims at the center of what we do – helping survivors restore their freedom, preventing more victims, and leveraging data and technology to pursue traffickers wherever they operate. Learn more at www.polarisproject.org.