Red Window Project, a Livermore, CA, based non-profit serving survivors of human trafficking in the Philippines released a progress report for its third fiscal year this week. Their progress is remarkable in that they have doubled the survivors they have served from their first year to their third, from 125 in 2011 to 250 in 2013.
The organization’s vision is to “prevent re-trafficking of victims of modern day slavery.” The report explains that trafficking intervention efforts to remove victims from exploitation can still leave them vulnerable to being trafficked again. Without becoming equipped to land and succeed in promising jobs in safe careers, they can become trapped in exploitation again.
Red Window Project’s model is innovative, comprehensive, and especially effective in the trafficking survivor aftercare community. With a set of nine programs and services such as career counseling and goal mapping, market-based job skills training, social enterprise work-study employment, scholarships for qualifying educational degrees, and employment placement services—Red Window Project “lovingly empowers survivors to make their dreams come true.”
Jim Martin, Vice President of Spiritual Formation for International Justice Mission, recognized by the U.S. State Department as a leader in the fight against human trafficking, had this endorsement of Red Window Project, "The fact is that the Red Window Project is one of the few organizations we know of in the world working at trafficking-survivor reintegration in a concrete and measurable way."
Red Window Project served 250 survivors of human trafficking, criminal exploitation, and extreme vulnerability in a wide spectrum of programs in Cebu, Philippines, last year. An especially notable component is their scholarship program, which verifies their commitment to equipping those they serve for their dream careers.
While the tight employment market in Cebu renders a job-seeker “essentially unemployable” without a high school degree, the largest category of the 105 scholarships Red Window Project paid for last year was college tuition. The organization is certainly backing up its philosophy of encouraging their clients to “dream big” with the investment to make reaching those dreams possible.
One compelling example in the report was “Gina” who was raised in stark poverty yet still dreamed of attending college. She became the first of her family to ever graduate from high school. Yet without tuition for college, her dreams were dashed and work prospects bleak.
An evil ploy in the form of a glamorous job offer to perform as a singer and dancer in Malaysia led to her being sex trafficked to a foreign country where she was trapped and sold for sex. Yet she escaped, returned to the Philippines, and enrolled in Red Window Project’s Job Readiness Training Program.
Her trafficker was sentenced to life + 20 years, and Gina graduated from college with a scholarship from Red Window Project. Despite such cruel exploitation and daunting obstacles, Gina persevered to see her dreams come true. You can be part of other epic tales of young heroes overcoming human trafficking by supporting Red Window Project here.