The Exodus Road exists to empower the rescue of victims of sexual slavery. Operating primarily in Southeast Asia and India, we believe that a major component of fighting human trafficking and child slavery lies in working with local law enforcement to find situations of trafficking and to then assist in the rescue of victims and the prosecution of criminals. By decreasing the profitability of the trafficking industry for the criminal, we will eventually slow the mechanisms that make the exploitation of women and children so lucrative.
The Exodus Road is not a single investigative organization, but rather it is a network of surveillance teams and individuals, committed to fight trafficking, one legal court case at a time. Currently, we are working with 28 operatives, representing seven different investigative organizations. Most are current or former police or military men. As a coalition, The Exodus Road has directly supported the rescue of 189 victims of human trafficking since July 2012. (You can read more about our numbers here and our news stories here.)
Our main focus at The Exodus Road is in connecting funds from the West with undercover surveillance and rescue operations in the East. With on-the-ground accountability in place, The Exodus Road stays connected to its operatives and learns of their needs for surveillance equipment, funds for particular operations, or investigative training, and then we take those needs to the Western community through fundraising efforts like grant writing, public speaking, church events and social media venues. With our network on the ground to oversee projects, we are able to channel particular grants or funds for requested needs from our field officers. Our hope is to become the fuel of finances which empowers the noble men and women who are fighting for targeted interventions in some of the darkest places on earth.
Secondary goals of our organization are increasing awareness of the realities of human trafficking, inspiring the Western community to give generously on behalf of the modern day slave, and facilitating connections within the local intervention and investigative community. We have a team of bloggers, artist advocates, and volunteers who sacrificially work to that end.
We work in close partnerships with the local government and police force, as well as within the local NGO community. Many of our operatives are nationals and preference is given to nationally-run investigators and organizations.
While our core competency is in fueling covert investigations, we believe strongly in all facets of the modern day freedom movement — including efforts in awareness, prevention, poverty reduction, community empowerment, stronger legal support for court cases, after-care, women’s rights and education, job creation, rehabilitation, and the like. We do have partnerships with several quality after-care facilities, specifically, and our teams advocate to get victims placed into those homes, as they can and as the government will allow. We do direct a portion of all funding towards advocacy for victims after rescue, and are working to develop a more effective process of tracking and caring for victims after a raid. (You can read here about a recent advocacy campaign we did with 8 of “our” girls that were rescued.)
The Exodus Road is a nonprofit corporation in good standing in the state of Colorado. We also have a government-recognized foundation in Thailand. We have an established home office in Colorado, and we also have a safe house and regional office in SE Asia. We are in the process of establishing an office and legal foundation in India, as well.
Meet Our Partners | A Coalition for Rescue
The Exodus Road coalition has 28 contracted undercover investigators, as well as 5 support staff, including a Director of Operations on the ground in Asia. Because of safety issues, we cannot reveal the identities or locations of our investigators but we can say that the majority are former military or police, with significant training and oftentimes years of experience in undercover surveillance. Our operatives come from a host of varying ethnic, religious, and professional backgrounds. Collectively, our team represents over 60 years of investigative experience and has engaged in 189 victim rescues in the past year alone.
A Word About Rescue
In the counter-trafficking world, there are varying understandings of the term “Rescue” and how it is used to describe an activity a nonprofit is undertaking. While the term is ambiguous at best, we wanted to briefly define what we mean when we use it in our organization.
When we at The Exodus Road say “Rescue,” we do not mean offering a prostitute a job, preemptively saving a girl from a possible trafficking situation, or saving a child from poverty, lack of education, or a risky future. These are all noble and important tasks that many are doing well. And we applaud and support their good work, absolutely, because it is necessary to this fight for freedom. (Truly, the modern day slave needs all of us committing to finding solutions to their injustice from a myriad of varying angles.)
However, when we at The Exodus Road talk about “Rescue,” we are referring to the removal of a person from either:
* an actual trafficking situation (ex. raid with police of a locked brothel) or
* sexual abuse to an underage victim (ex. pedophile abuse).
The “rescues” we support involve situations where the victims are being sexually exploited and do not have the power to leave on their own accord, whether by force, threat, violence, coercion, debt, etc. As per UN guidelines and definitions, any girl or boy under the age of 18 engaged (even “willingly”) in prostitution is technically a trafficked victim since the international community deems a minor not old enough to make the choice to sell themselves for sex.
Another important distinction is that each rescue we directly support happens within the jurisdiction of the local police.
A Note Regarding Media: For safety reasons, all information regarding specific operations and rescues will be edited. Names and locations will be changed, while maintaining the integrity of the story and investigative work. The Exodus Road is committed to honest, responsible communication regarding the organization, its funding efforts, and the work of its network of investigators. We also have a strong victim-centered media policy. No photos of actual victims will ever be used in our online or print publications without proper editing to conceal identities.
“All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke