The Birth of Slavery Prevention – Part Two

In the first installment of this three part series, Jessica Marchand, Director of GHNI’s, presents a Q&A about slavery today. In today’s post, Jessica will share how she and GHNI President & CEO, Hal Jones, founded our Slavery Prevention initiative.


Finding the Solution to Slavery

I first learned about GHNI in 2008 and quickly fell in love with the Transformational Community Development (TCD) approach to eradicating poverty. It was no more than a matter of weeks before I was begging them to hire me so I could join their team, “Bringing Help and Hope to the Hidden and Hurting.”

Hal Jones, founder of GHNI, and I were both becoming familiar with the gruesome reality of human trafficking and felt called to be a part of the solution. Hal proclaimed GHNI would be starting a slavery prevention initiative and the leadership team asked me to spearhead it. I, of course, jumped on board and before you know it we were filling out paperwork for me to move abroad and conduct a Research and Development Study on the prevention of slavery.

I did a long STINT in Geneva, Switzerland, where I attended countless meetings with abolitionists from all over the globe but the best education that I obtained regarding the ins-and-outs of slavery today came from my field studies in India and Nepal. After sitting with survivors of human trafficking and hearing the jaw-dropping stories about how they were lured into slavery, it became crystal clear GHNI and the general public need to be on the front end of this issue. We need to help spread awareness slavery still exists, educate individuals on how to avoid being duped by traffickers, and provide self-sustainable income opportunities for those at high-risk of slavery.

Poverty is a leading cause of slavery today but it is certainly not the only factor. A lack of awareness about the tactics that human traffickers use, as well as a common disbelief this sort of thing is happening in our very own cities, allows for slavery to not only exist in this modern world but for it to have reached an all-time high.

Human trafficking is now the second highest paid crime around the world and the following story shows just how easy it is to enslave an individual today using nothing more than coercion or fraud:

“Ritha was interested in finding work in Europe and a fellow Nigerian woman helped arrange for her travel and immigration papers for a job in Germany. Before Ritha left, she underwent a traditional Juju ritual where she promised to repay the woman $82,000 or else she would lose her soul and her life. When she arrived in Frankfurt, she was taken to a prostitution house where she had to have sex with 18 men a day and hand over all of the money to pay off her debt. After being arrested, she was introduced to an NGO who shared that traffickers used voodoo as a tactic to compel people into prostitution. This helped her gain the courage to break her Juju oath and she now helps other Nigerian women deceived in the same way.”

It is so encouraging to hear that Ritha not only was able to escape the grip of her slave-owners but also that she is now fighting to free other women! Sadly, according to UN statistics, 99% of trafficking victims never escape. Statistically speaking, prevention is our best hope to put an end to human trafficking.

Join us in the fight against slavery!

(Go to Part 3: Preventing Slavery before it Starts)