With all due respect to our friends in intervention and aftercare, we’re going to spend a few minutes promoting prevention!
Before we begin, let’s be clear about the three main sectors of the anti-trafficking movement: prevention, intervention, and aftercare. What do these things mean?
Prevention seeks, just as the name suggests, to prevent trafficking before it starts. It seeks out the root causes of trafficking and aims to reduce or eliminate the causes wherever possible.
Intervention happens after people have already become victims of traffickers. This is what is meant by rescues, whether by police or NGOs or lay people. This involves identifying victims, extricating them from the exploitative situation, and when possible, arresting, prosecuting, and convicting perpetrators.
Aftercare refers to helping survivors heal and transition back into society. It involves counseling, education, and even help with housing and job placement.
There can be overlap between these categories. For example, intervention and aftercare both contain an element of prevention–the more criminals apprehended the more it serves as a deterrent against future trafficking, and the more successfully survivors are re-integrated into society, the safer they are against falling back into the trafficking trap. However, loosely speaking, these are the main categories.
Why does The Freedom Story focus on prevention?
Here are our top 5 reasons:
- No one gets abused or exploited.
If we wait until trafficking happens to act, then it’s already too late. People already suffer. If we can prevent children from being exploited at all, it’s our moral imperative to do so.
- Prevention is cheaper.
It is estimated that $1 of prevention is worth $34 of intervention and aftercare. The years people must spend in counseling, the resources it takes to bring a trafficker before a court, the cost to society trafficking extorts…all these things cost far more than the investment in prevention.
- Prevention isn’t just an investment in anti-trafficking. It strengthens societies against a wide variety of problems, and leads toward a wide variety of positive outcomes.
With our prevention programs, we’re offering our students a path to wider possibilities, teaching them resilience which can serve them no matter where they go, and strengthening community awareness of human rights—which can help people learn to advocate better for themselves, prevent domestic abuse or other forms of exploitation, and lead to better communal health.
- There’s room for everyone to participate
Intervention is incredibly dangerous and should be left to law enforcement professionals; aftercare requires expertise in dealing with trauma, and thus also requires very special skills. By contrast, prevention calls on a wide range of skills and capabilities: from teachers to social workers, rights activists to social marketing experts, artists, donors and volunteers. If you have a skill, it’s likely we can use it!
- Did we mention? No one gets abused or exploited.
Want to help prevention child exploitation and trafficking? Check out our Give page and donate today!