WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Safe Shelter Collaborative, a collaboration between Caravan Studios, Polaris Project, and the New Jersey Department of Children and Families, was named as a winner of the Partnership for Freedom’s Reimagine: Opportunity innovation challenge today. The Safe Shelter Collaborative will dramatically increase access to safe, supportive shelters for survivors of human trafficking. It is one of two winners chosen from more than 160 submissions from 260 applying organizations. The Partnership for Freedom’s announcement can be accessed here.
The Safe Shelter Collaborative will receive $1.17 million to dramatically increase access to appropriate, supportive shelters for survivors of human trafficking. The project will extend the ability of service providers, law enforcement agencies, and other stakeholders to either find immediate shelter space for survivors or, if none is available, access funding to place them in hotels. Using mobile and crowdsourcing technology, the project will engage individual donors to fund emergency hotel stays for survivors securely and anonymously. The project will also leverage existing local resources, build partnerships in related fields to fill gaps in service, and deliver tailored training to organizations to expand the availability of quality, specialized services to survivors of human trafficking. The project is being piloted initially in New Jersey.
“The lack of available shelter for human trafficking survivors is appalling. We are glad to be working with Polaris Project to develop a comprehensive system to change that,” said Marnie Webb, CEO of Caravan Studios.
“The survivors we serve have experienced ongoing hardship when trying to secure a safe place to stay after they exit their trafficking situations. Polaris Project is honored to be part of a collaboration that will increase appropriate shelter options in New Jersey for survivors of all forms of human trafficking, so that they can successfully rebuild lives of their choosing,” said Kate Keisel, Director of Polaris Project New Jersey. “As traffickers use technology to control women, children, and men across the country, it’s essential we use technology to combat that exploitation and build tools to respond to survivor needs in real time.”
“We are pleased to participate in this innovative pilot project that will help provide safe shelter for human trafficking survivors through the power and reach of mobile technology,” said New Jersey Department of Children and Families Commissioner Allison Blake. “Having safe shelter access is an important step for human trafficking survivors as they move forward in reclaiming their lives and their future.”
The Partnership for Freedom is a public-private partnership led by Humanity United, U.S. government agencies, and private donors to spur innovative solutions to confront the difficulties faced by survivors of modern-day slavery. In addition to the Safe Shelter Collaborative, the Partnership for Freedom named the MGH Freedom Clinic as a second awardee to establish a model of comprehensive primary and preventative health care services for trafficking survivors.
The Reimagine: Opportunity challenge is the first of a series of three innovation challenges from the Partnership for Freedom to encourage organizations and communities across the country to develop new ideas to address human trafficking. This first challenge sought creative ideas to address three critical issues faced by human trafficking survivors: sustainable housing; economic empowerment; and stronger social services. Grants for the Partnership for Freedom winners are funded entirely by private donors, including Humanity United, Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Women Initiative and Steven Spielberg’s Righteous Persons Foundation. Learn more at www.partnershipforfreedom.org.
About Polaris Project
Polaris Project is a leading organization in the global fight against human trafficking and modern-day slavery. Named after the North Star “Polaris” that guided people escaping slavery along the Underground Railroad, Polaris Project is transforming the way that individuals and communities respond to human trafficking, in the U.S. and globally. By successfully pushing for stronger federal and state laws, operating the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline (1-888-373-7888), conducting trainings, and providing vital services to victims of trafficking, Polaris Project creates long-term solutions that move our society closer to a world without slavery. Learn more atwww.polarisproject.org.
About Caravan Studios
Caravan Studios is the newest division of TechSoup Global, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. For over 25 years, TechSoup Global has leveraged technology to build NGO capacity towards solving social problems in local communities and fostering global social change. Caravan Studios works with communities to develop tools that help them organize, access, and use local resources to address pressing problems. Find out more about Caravan Studios at www.caravanstudios.org or follow it on Twitter @caravanstudios. TechSoup Global is online at www.techsoupglobal.org.
About the NJ Department of Children and Families
The New Jersey Department of Children and Families is dedicated to ensuring a better today and an even greater tomorrow for every individual the department serves. In partnership with New Jersey’s communities, DCF ensures the safety, well-being, and success of New Jersey’s children and families. DCF funds and directly provides services and support to over 100,000 women, children and families each month.
About Partnership for Freedom
The Partnership for Freedom is a public-private partnership that was first announced by President Obama during his landmark speech on human trafficking in September 2012. It is led by Humanity United, a foundation dedicated to building peace and advancing human freedom, and the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women initiative and Steven Spielberg’s Righteous Persons Foundation.