|| News: International Justice Mission Receives $5 Million Grant to Fight Sex Trafficking|
Bill & Melinda Gates Funded Project to Focus on
Communities Where Human Trafficking for Commercial Sexual Exploitation
is a Significant Problem
WASHINGTON, March 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Human rights organization
International Justice Mission has received a $5 million grant from the Bill &
Melinda Gates Foundation to create a replicable model for combating sex
trafficking and slavery. The initiative, named Project Lantern, will allow
International Justice Mission to open a new office in a community affected by
trafficking. Where trafficking flourishes, victims are at greater risk of
infection with the HIV/AIDS virus. IJM will develop a model for working with
local law enforcement officials in fighting trafficking in that community that
will then be shared with stakeholders in the anti-trafficking community to be
replicated around the globe.
The global plague of sex trafficking is massive in proportion. The United
Nations reports that one million women and girls are newly trafficked every
year. In addition, the lack of choice that these victims have over their
sexual activity, together with poor living conditions, violence, lack of
protection, and no access to health care, all combine to create an increased
vulnerability to contracting the disease. Only rescue from their illegal
captivity will fully ensure that current victims are protected from HIV/AIDS.
Successful prosecution of the perpetrators of these crimes will result in a
reduction of the overall number of victims of trafficking, in turn decreasing
the number of new HIV/AIDS cases.
"Traditional HIV prevention efforts are focused on helping people avoid
high risk sexual encounters, but there are millions of women and girls who
don't get to make choices about their sexual encounters and are left utterly
unprotected from the disease," said Gary A. Haugen, president and CEO of IJM.
"Project Lantern will provide hope and a model for success."
Helene Gayle, director of HIV, TB, and reproductive health at the Gates
Foundation, said, "The global sex trade not only violates human rights, it
also fuels the spread of HIV. Efforts like Project Lantern are urgently
needed to help fight sex trafficking and save lives."
International Justice Mission has years of proven effective experience
working with local law enforcement and other partners to arrest and prosecute
traffickers and others involved in the business of human trafficking. With
the funds provided through this grant, the organization will research various
regions with high reported rates of sex trafficking, and then identify one
region in which to start operations. The office will commence full operations
for three years, including undercover investigations, law enforcement
training, engagement and involvement, victim rescue, ensuring appropriate
aftercare and seeking perpetrator accountability. At the end of these three
years, IJM aims to have created a successful model that other governments and
organizations may replicate in their communities.
Why Project Lantern:
The name "Project Lantern" was chosen because a lantern was a symbol of
hope and freedom during the period of the Underground Railroad in the
antebellum United States. Slaves looked for illuminated lanterns,
strategically placed by a network of supporters in front of "safe houses,"
along the road to freedom. Similarly, Project Lantern strives to light a safe
path towards freedom for victims of modern-day slavery.
To schedule an interview, contact Emily Nichols: email@example.com,
For ongoing updates on the project, visit http://www.ijm.org
About International Justice Mission:
International Justice Mission is a human rights organization that rescues
victims of violence, sexual exploitation, slavery and oppression. A multi-
national team of law enforcement professionals and a highly qualified legal
staff conduct criminal investigations and collect evidence to rescue victims
and bring perpetrators to justice. IJM works to ensure victims have access
to quality aftercare that meets their broad and complicated needs. The work of
IJM has been featured on Dateline NBC, FOX News, MSNBC, CNN, and in Forbes,
the New York Times Magazine, the Wall Street Journal and other media outlets.
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