10 Questions to ask a Human Trafficking Organization...

Before You send them your money!

Human Trafficking is a “hot topic” in the social justice arena, and you’d have to have been living under a rock to not have heard some pretty incredible things about how you can join and “Fight Human Trafficking”. If you are considering supporting an anti trafficking organization and wonder how to make sure you are giving your support that falls in line with your vision of a better world.


Perhaps you are an ordinary person who is horrified at the idea of monetized sexual services? Maybe you were suddenly alerted to the subject of human trafficking at your church, on TV, or in a movie, and want to donate your time, talent, or treasure, to help someone who has fallen victim to this dreaded social disease.


In any of the above cases, you probably “just want to help” and you have the best of intentions. But before you write that check, hand out those flyers, or march in that rally, get to know the real people behind the organization you want to support and ask a few questions about what they really do with your money or your time.


1. Is this organization really fighting human trafficking?


Human trafficking is the exploitation of people through force, coercion, threat, and deception and includes human rights abuses such as debt bondage, deprivation of liberty, and lack of control over freedom and labor. Trafficking can be for purposes of sexual exploitation or labor exploitation.

This is where it gets tricky.


It has become quite clear over the past decade that all people who trade sex are not being "trafficked", and are doing to for many reasons. Please don't support any organization who uses criminal justice or "coerced interventions" to "rescue" adult consensual workers. Instead, support organizations who are providing services and support in the form of "hard" resources, like housing, food, clothing or transportation.


2. Is this organization legitimate?


Ask for identification and documentation that the person you are talking with is actually working on a human trafficking issue and that they support the human rights of people who identify as LGBTQIA+ and people of color. Keep in mind that many charitable organizations can also be faith-based projects and sub-organizations.


3. What kind of work does this organization do regarding human trafficking?


There are several types of NGO’s (non-governmental organizations) on the broad subject of human trafficking.


Raising Awareness

There are a great many organizations that are furiously raising money to “raise awareness” about the plight of trafficking victims. The money you donate to these organizations may not serve the needs of victims or survivors and we do not recommend donating time talent or treasure to organizations that are only “raising awareness”.


Advocacy


There are different kinds of advocacy, and diverse communities and groups understand advocacy in different ways, but advocacy in all forms shares some core beliefs. An advocate should respect the views and wishes of the person they advocate for, without judgement, and believes in their right to access information, representation, services and opportunities. Although some advocates may be legally or medically qualified, in general, advocates are volunteers or paid workers who have been trained by the project or group they are part of. You can expect an advocate to have been given training in listening and negotiating skills. They should also have knowledge of the basic legal framework and provision of mental health and community care services.

Advocacy within the anti-trafficking community can have an even broader scope. We recommend that you find out what the organization (or in some cases, and individual) advocates for and what specific steps they take to serve the client or group of clients.


Coalitions and Task-Forces


Coalitions and Task-Forces are networks of organizations that are claiming to serve the needs of trafficking victims, but who are not actually having any direct impact on victims and survivors at all. They are a collection of different kinds of organizations that do a variety of things. They usually include law enforcement, social services, and a variety of community based organizations.


They are supposed to be conduits (meaning they refer victims and survivors) to other organizations that are in theory supposed to provide specific services to a targeted population, but in reality these referrals end up “falling through the cracks” and receive nothing.


Sometimes local task-forces and coalitions will become funded in all or in part by larger coalitions and task-forces. The higher up the chain you go, the less effective these organizations become, and it is within these larger more diverse organizations where the large majority of gender based violence and abuse occurs. We have determined that the large majority of coalitions and task-forces are not an effective use of your time, money or talent.


Faith-based ministries, coalitions, and task-forces


There are many organizations that are church-funded as ministries, coalitions and task-forces. They may be a part of an individual church or a coalition of many churches, and may sometimes include other law enforcement organizations and even some social services.