This report will cover what is happening operationally and include a portion about the human trafficking cycle, while highlighting different points along that cycle where organizations can focus their efforts to break that cycle.
As most of you know, TGS has been granted our 501(c)(3) status! We are excited about that, and we want to capitalize on that status. One of the reasons that we pursued being a “501” was that donations for TGS could come directly to us and no longer be funneled through Tying Vines. Tying Vines is an excellent organization and really enabled TGS to get our start. Because we are growing in donor support, we want to make it as easy as possible for donors to give, and for a higher percentage of that donation to make it to the operational level. So, when you give, please send directly to The Gray Samaritan. The details are on our website.
A second way in which we want to capitalize on the “501” is to leverage this status into increased support for our work and other organizations like us who we can assist.
Lastly, I want you to know that our Board is organized and ready to support our operations. They are a very gifted and dedicated crew and they have put in some long hours for TGS.
Lynne and I have been busy over the last month. We attended two human trafficking trainings and networked and exchanged ideas about how TGS can be in support of law enforcement and nongovernmental organizations. One such organization is Peace Promise; a central PA organization which enables ladies to get back to a life that they love and enjoy and can thrive in. We were able to meet with them recently and talked about some security solutions for their new building. They are growing and have several needs that TGS can fill. Security consultations and future training for ladies involved with Peace Promise are some of those needs.
In addition to those local leads, I have been in regular contact with my friends in Uganda. We are doing some initial leg work to see if we can support an effort there to stop trafficking before it begins. I anticipate having an update for you in the next letter.
As mentioned above, I would like to explain the human trafficking cycle. When TGS considers what work we are going to do, we try to identify where we can break the cycle. As with any cycle, the sooner it is broken, the less damage is done to the victim. There are many ways to look at the trafficking cycle. I find most of them to be very helpful and often highlight the different perceptions of it.
First; anyone can be a victim of trafficking or violence. However, predators usually look for the weakest person available to them. The weakness can be because the victim has been displaced, like a refugee due to famine or war. It can also be due to physical or mental disability or a broken family. Often the trafficker will create weakness through Romeo pimping, which is when human traffickers operate by trying to make young girls or boys fall in love with them. Sometimes they manipulate young people in other ways but once they have victims under their influence they exploit them, for instance in the sex industry. Once the trafficker chooses his or her target they start to stalk. They will probe their mark to see how they can exploit this person and get away with it. They will use force, fraud, or coercion to secure their victim. They will isolate their target and isolation leads to victimization. These traffickers are experts at reading people and finding how to exploit them for profit. They also know how to exploit the market, and how to advertise their “product”. They use the internet to create demand with CSAM (Child Sexual Abuse Material). They do all of this so that they can exercise power over the weak and have great wealth. Because the demand is so high, when they are paid, the cycle begins again looking for more victims to exploit.
The sooner this cycle is interrupted the better. If an informational campaign will make some aware, and they avoid traffickers and report them, then the physical, emotional and spiritual damage to them is far less than if a victim has been rescued after the entire process has been forced upon them. If a victim is rescued then restorative services are essential in enabling the victims to have a better life; but the damage is still immense. There are organizations who specialize in every area of helping the victim escape the traffickers. TGS is focused on breaking the cycle as soon as possible and helping others who do as well.
I want to thank you for being such an indispensable part of breaking the cycle.