We in America don’t like to imagine that human trafficking–forced slavery–is taking place right here in our country and in enormous numbers. We think of human trafficking as a problem of other countries–Southeast Asia or Mexico or Russia or any number of other places. Not here, right under the nose of our advanced law enforcement and our democratic government.
But the truth is that, dollar-for-dollar, human trafficking is a worse problem in the United States than anywhere else in the world. It is a $975 million business in America.
Addressing The Magnitude of the Problem
To address the problem, we have to understand its scope. In the United States, a child is taken by human traffickers every two and a half hours, and there are an estimated 100,000 to 150,000 victims held in the commercial sex slave trade.
The average child is sold for sex more than five times a day, making it small wonder that, from the time they’re taken into sex trafficking, they have an estimated lifespan of just seven more years. Make no mistake–they are years of torment, abuse, and rape–but they only have seven years of life left, whether taken at five years old or fifteen.
Surely, something must be done, and at DeliverFund, we are using the very tools that sex traffickers use against them.
The thing is, most human trafficking in America doesn’t come from a child being stolen off the streets. Much of it starts online, with grooming a child. It starts with chances for the trafficker to build a sense of rapport with the child, and the occasional meetup.
So we take a different approach than many of the other anti-human trafficking organizations. We are dedicated to using technology and training to better equip law enforcement with the tools and manpower that they need to break up these sex trafficking networks.
As Henry David Thoreau once put it, “There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.”
At DeliverFund, our goal is to strike at the root. Yes, we assist in extracting the trafficked victims from their situation, but if we can work to make sure that they are never in that situation in the first place–by hitting the trafficker online, on their accounts, and in real life–then we are truly striking at the root and taking out the villainy before it has time to do its damage.
How Does DeliverFund Fight Human Trafficking?
DeliverFund follows a four-pronged approach to fighting human trafficking: Equip, Train, Advise, and Thrive. We equip our law enforcement partners with the very best resources they can get to track down these predators and criminals. Then we work through training–both law enforcement and civilians–on how to intervene in a human trafficking situation. Our experts advise law enforcement and commercial partners how best to fight the bad guys. Finally, we give survivors the resources they need to not only go through the painful process of reintegrating into society, but to get to a point where they can thrive.
The Platform for the Analysis and Targeting of Human Traffickers, otherwise known as P.A.T.H., is a proprietary technology tool that targets and traces human traffickers online. Every year, the U.S. State Department issues an annual report called the Trafficking in Persons report, or TIP. In the 2019 TIP Report, the “Topics of Special Interest” outlines several things that can disrupt law enforcement’s data collection and management of human trafficking.
P.A.T.H. addresses many of the problems that the TIP Report found. The U.S. State Department Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons states that the “availability of reliable, high-quality data is critical for designing the most effective strategies and interventions in the global fight against human trafficking.” But it also acknowledges that there is a general lack of effective data collection and management.
P.A.T.H. is a system that is searchable by multiple identifiers including name, date of birth, and other identifiers associated with a particular personality.
One of the P.A.T.H.’s best features is that it reaches across jurisdictions, connecting people regardless of geography–something that is crucially needed by local law enforcement agencies.
The TIP Report also found that law enforcement’s data security is compromised. P.A.T.H. is able to use the Microsoft Government’s secure cloud, making it one of the most secure databases anywhere. Additionally, the platform is for law enforcement only. Though it may be managed by software engineers and administrators, it is a law enforcement tool.
P.A.T.H. also tears down silos in law enforcement, making information available to all, as well as standardizing data so that it can be easily accessed and manipulated by law enforcement officers and human trafficking investigators.
With the P.A.T.H. system up and running, we train law enforcement on how to use it. This not only means that we teach them how to read and utilize the data, but we also work with them via a victim-centric curriculum and teach them how to interact with intelligence teams, how to rescue victims, and how to take down human traffickers.
DeliverFund’s support to our law enforcement partners doesn’t stop outside of the classroom. We provide resources on an ongoing basis via the iHTAC, the International Human Trafficking Analysis Center, which serves as the central all-source, shared knowledge bank on trafficking activity, human traffickers, and their networks. It is the central dissemination and coordination point for law enforcement, select nonprofits, and the professionals working to end modern-day slavery.
Finally, once victims are rescued by our law enforcement partners, we help them heal by connecting them with specialized support services. Some of these survivors go on to be spokespeople for the program. Our General Advisors, who are themselves human trafficking survivors and advocates within anti-human trafficking circles, work within DeliverFund to coordinate our victim-centric curriculum for law enforcement and other advocates and educate the public about human trafficking in America.
By donating to the DeliverFund, you can help get these victims break out of the cycle of exploitation. The donation breakdowns below give you an idea of exactly what your support can accomplish. All of these donation levels are important–finding a burner phone, for example, is one step closer to finding the physical location of a victim–but you can see that as you increase the donation, the more you can achieve in stopping human trafficking.