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  • Awarded: 2017
  • Issue Areas: Human Rights · International Justice · Peace and Human Rights · Responsible Supply Chains
  • Countries Served: USA · Canada · Mexico · United Kingdom
  • Web: polarisproject.org
  • About the Organization

    Human trafficking is a low-risk, high-profit criminal industry, enslaving more than 20 million people each year in forced labor and commercial sex and generating some $150 billion in profits. Law enforcement agencies lack data about trafficking patterns, specific sub-types, and locations. Victims rarely have access to channels of communication for help. Less than one percent of victims are identified globally each year.

    Polaris systematically disrupts human trafficking networks and restores freedom to survivors. Grounded in data gathered from victims’ experiences, Polaris directly supports victims, equips key stakeholders with data to address and prevent human trafficking, and intervenes in specific industries through targeted campaigns. With experience and expertise from direct victim services such as hotlines and resource centers to policy advocacy, Polaris provides a data backbone for the sector.

    This data enhances law enforcement access to tips and actionable information, identifies gaps in services and resources, and facilitates collaboration to support organizations and agencies across the United States and eventually, around the world. Working together to find and support victims, and prosecute traffickers, they seek to reverse the risk-to-reward ratio and destroy the industry.

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    Traffickers use violence, threats, debt bondage, and other tactics to force people to engage in commercial sex or to provide labor or services against their will.

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    Polaris captures data based on victims’ experiences to identify specific types of trafficking, build awareness, and improve support for victims, law enforcement agencies, and communities.

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    Polaris envisions a global ecosystem of individuals, agencies, and communities with access to data on all forms and types of trafficking, coordinating targeted responses to end modern slavery.

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    After helping thousands of victims and supporting dozens of communities to shut down trafficking networks, Polaris helps global partners apply its methods.

    Ambition for Change

    Powerful data and collaboration among regulators, law enforcement, and service agencies lead to reliable identification and conviction of traffickers, increasing the risk equation for the industry.

    Path to Scale

    Partnerships

    Data and technical support to, and facilitation of collaboration among, national and global anti-trafficking hotlines and networks.

    Business Model

    Philanthropic support for core operations; independent replication of the model by partners.

    Brad Myles joined Polaris in 2005 as a volunteer. He had developed a deep interest in the issues surrounding human trafficking after conducting a nationwide analysis for a small Washington D.C.-based research firm. A year later Polaris had secured a grant to launch a D.C. human trafficking task force and tapped Brad to run it. With his passion for the issue and his data-driven approach, he has served as CEO since 2010, combating human trafficking and modern slavery on a local, national, and global scale. He expanded Polaris’s national reach by launching Polaris’s operation of the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline and led Polaris’s focus on national systems change and global replication. He has provided testimony to the House Foreign Affairs and Judiciary Committees and law enforcement, fellow anti-trafficking leaders, and academics routinely seek his expertise. He holds degrees in psychology and political science from Stanford University.

    Impact & Accomplishments

    • Provided assistance in more than 30,000 cases of human trafficking in the U.S.
    • Law enforcement has shut down more than 40 percent of illicit massage businesses in Polaris’s 57 partner cities. Polaris’s state-by-state ratings system highlighted gaps in state laws against trafficking and led to passage of more than 100 state and local anti-trafficking laws.

    Affiliated

    Bradley MylesChief Executive Officer, Polaris
    Christopher AdamsDirector of Operations, Polaris
    Natika WashingtonChief Development Officer, Polaris
    Sarah JakielChief Program Officer, Polaris

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