January is Human Trafficking Awareness and Prevention Month

The reasons for human trafficking vary from country to country, but many agree that poverty is one of the primary causes of human trafficking. Low income, unemployment, hunger, disease, and illiteracy are widespread and rampant in developing nations. As a result, poor and desperate families, unemployed youths, and school dropouts become easy targets for human traffickers.

The International Labor Organization estimates that there are around 20.9 million victims of human trafficking globally.

Micro-loans can help break the cycle of poverty by creating more options and opportunities available to the poor. Those who improve their businesses and create new businesses and jobs through the help of microfinance institutions such as Mentors International are in turn enabled to support themselves, their children, and extended family members. As a result, the number of poor people, primarily women, young girls, and children, who are potential targets of human trafficking, are reduced. Employment and income opportunities that traffickers use as tools for luring in vulnerable people cease to be attractive.

Micro-loans, Mentors International, and Pearls With Purpose are making an impact on the reduction of human trafficking.

According to Dr. Makonen Getu, Director for Strategic Alliances, Opportunity International, USA, “Microfinance has an inherent ability not only to mitigate human trafficking, but also to treat its victims. It can offer jobs and income opportunities to potential targets and survivors of human trafficking as part of the prevention and rehabilitation processes. Microfinance can make the integration of survivors into society easier by helping them to create jobs for themselves. This helps them not only to integrate quickly but also not to fall back into in the hands of traffickers.”

Currently Mentors International is serving in several aftercare facilities for young women who are at high-risk and or who have been rescued from human trafficking. Pearls With Purpose is teaching the jewelry making skills of wire wrapping larimar.

Mentors International is teaching our business skills and personal development courses to these women. Then we are then able to provide small loans to help them get these businesses off the ground.

Our mentors help these rescued survivors create a vision for themselves and their businesses while helping them understand that they can do more than they think they can. The knowledge and encouragement Mentors International clients receive is vital to their success as they build businesses and grow in greater self-reliance.

Last month I met with two of our mentors working in an aftercare facility in Peru. This facility is where rescued victims of human trafficking go to live for treatment and counseling. Our mentors said their greatest joy was when they saw that “light bulb moment” in a young woman’s eye. When they realized that they could become successful, they could start respectable businesses, and that it was going to happen thanks to the financial solutions of micro-loans through Mentors International. These women eagerly soaked up the knowledge they receive in their business skills training classes and they are eager for their chance to become more than their past.

Pictured above is one of our business graduating class from the Dominican Republic. This country has one of the highest rates of human trafficking in the world. These women granted us permission to share this picture. They are excited about their future opportunities. Because of Mentors International, they are empowered to face them head-on!

We know that our programs work and that they offer long-lasting solutions to those who have been trapped in extreme poverty and in slavery. Here at Mentors International, we hope to expand our business training classes and mentoring programs to be able to provide them at even more aftercare facilities and serve in even more countries. It is through kind and generous donations we are able to provide these services.

During January, get involved, take action, make a donation, to help us provide our programs to even more individuals throughout and the world, and take a stand against human trafficking.

We are also grateful for partners like Operations Underground Railroad and the Utah State University SEED Program who make it possible for us to help mentor, teach, and empower those who have been trapped in slavery. We look forward to the day where poverty and slavery is just something found in the history books.

Join us in the effort to help sex trafficking survivors discover the joys of self-reliance through entrepreneurship.