We are thrilled to announce that Marty Marcolongo has joined the fight against human trafficking as our Chief Operating Officer! He comes to us from the Air Force Academy Association of Graduates, where he served for over 20 years. Most recently, he led the organization as its President and COO. He brings a keen sense of strategy, expertise in Eastern Europe, and most importantly, a heart that dedicated to ending human trafficking once and for all.
It was nearly 18 years ago that Marty heard about human trafficking for the first time. He was in his car, driving to visit a chapter of Air Force Academy alumni. As he was flipping through radio stations, he heard a story come on the air. It was about Human Trafficking, particularly warning drivers nearby to look out for signs of trafficking at Truck Stops. It was in this report that Marty first realized that human trafficking was all around him, that he could be passing survivors as he drove.
“I choked up,” Marty says. “Here I was. I had been educated at one of the top universities in the country. I had worked as an intelligence officer for years, and I had never known that this was happening in my own country, in my own backyard.”
He was determined to do something. “I spent a lot of time talking to God that evening. I came up with ‘Marty’s Plan.’ As I was praying, I knew that I needed to learn the skills to run a nonprofit if I really wanted to make a difference. It was then that I resolved to work at a world-class nonprofit until I was 60 years old and learn everything I could. Then, I would take all of those skills and work for an anti-trafficking organization.”
God had a slightly shorter timeline in mind. This past July, Marty heard God say to him, “You’re ready now. What are you waiting for?” It was 5 years earlier than the plan. But Marty listened, walked right into his supervisor’s office and said he needed to step down. It was time to pursue human trafficking.
Lt. General Mike Gould, Marty’s boss and long-time colleague, took a moment to absorb the news. Then he spoke. “You know, I know someone who is involved with human trafficking and runs an anti-trafficking organization. Could I introduce you to her?” he asked Marty.
Marty met with our founder and CEO, Kim Westfall, a few short weeks later. “Kim asked me about how I came to be so passionate about human trafficking. I sort of chuckled and said it was kind of a weird story. Kim just said ‘We’re used to weird stories at Uncaged.’” They both walked away from the meeting grateful and marveling at how good of a fit it seemed.
“It’s tough for a person like me, who loves logic and strategy, to go on faith,” Marty muses, “but I knew it was the right thing to do.” He was struck that Kim understood the vastness of human trafficking but remained confident that there was a solution. He says “99% of people” look at something like human trafficking and give up, but Kim said it wasn’t too big for God.
The message resonated with Marty. “When I started using the phrase ‘service for a lifetime’ with Air Force Academy graduates, I always talked about how changing the world for one person has generational consequences. It’s the same thing that Uncaged is doing. Just a few weeks ago, we rescued one survivor and she led us to a dozen more who are going to go free. We impact one survivor, and she can change hundreds, if not thousands of people. It’s how changing the world for one person can end up changing the world.”
We are ready to start changing the world. It all starts as we unlock transformation for hundreds, even thousands of survivors. Your support and encouragement is instrumental in connecting us to people like Marty and in raising an army of people who can end trafficking once and for all.