What's Happening


Dear Friends,

As we move into this new year, I’ve been thinking about what it means to have a “pioneering spirit.” This phrase dropped into my heart in a unique way. I haven’t been able to get it off my mind since.

It takes us back hundreds of years to the pioneers. They set out on a great unknown journey. They didn’t know the details of their path, they just knew they were driven towards something new, something better. They knew it was risky. They would face great hardship like unyielding weather, sickness, and injury. Still, they were willing to endure it all for the promise of a new and better way of life. Hope and vision kept them going.

As we have launched Uncaged, we have felt that pioneering spirit rising up within us. We don’t know the details of the journey, but we know that there is a new horizon just up ahead.... one that brings rescue, restoration, hope, healing, and transformation into the lives of trafficking survivors.

We are doing something new and different. We are creating a holistic, wraparound approach to healing that is scalable and transferable.

By scalable I mean, “Let’s ramp this thing up!” We have 48 million people being trafficked in our world today. 48 million!

It’s obvious to me that we need a big solution for a big problem. We have to dig deep to affect the broken bodies, minds, and spirits of these precious souls. We have to provide a customized approach for each survivor. And I am thrilled to say that we have the framework and trauma-informed tools to do this. Our model is able to reach thousands of survivors AND prioritize customized care for each survivor. It’s an innovation in this work that we couldn’t be more proud of.

As for transferable, what I mean is that we know that trafficking is a global scourge. Our model must unlock transformation in any country and culture. We believe we have the tools to make that happen as well. By working with expert nationals in each country, we can adapt the model to suit the needs of various regions and populations.

We are doing something bold, new… and slightly intimidating. This hasn’t been done before. The Sanctuary model has the ability to effectively and efficiently cocoon survivors, healing each one through trauma-informed, evidence-based therapies that will restore them almost entirely.

It’s not quick. It’s not inexpensive. But we know it is worth the hardship, the risk, and the endurance when we look into the eyes of a woman or child and see joy, hope & transformation. There’s no greater joy than watching the fire return to a survivor, like when Mihaela learned how to dream again.

We are about to open the doors of The Sanctuary in Romania. Then, we cannot wait to journey on to the next destination... and the one after that... and the one after that! Let’s take this around the world!

Thanks for joining our pioneering journey. We couldn’t do it without you!


Kim Westfall

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Luminita was supposed to be an entrepreneur. She was studying hard in her second year of University to get her Business and Management degree. But the man she thought was her boyfriend turned out to be her trafficker. After 14 months in slavery, she escaped. Soon after, we brought her back to Romania to start healing in our program.

That was just 1 year ago. Today, Luminita is back on track to becoming the businesswoman she dreamed of being. This summer, she participated in our “Sew Good” initiative. She teamed up with other survivors who learned how to sew and created full-fledged business plans. They even explored fundamentals like supply chains and marketing!

Most of the 62 survivors who were in our program this year are just like Luminita. They are smart, driven, and kind women who were betrayed by someone who was supposed to love them.

There are thousands more survivors just like Luminita waiting to go to a place like The Sanctuary. Just two weeks ago, I received word of 58 Romanian survivors waiting in safe houses across Europe.

Let’s pave the way for hundreds of survivors like Luminita to heal and thrive.

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Updated: Nov 23, 2020

In this fight against human-trafficking, we have to combat this evil from all sides. We know that we have to be on the lookout for trafficking situations all the time. Awareness is so important. We saw this power first-hand after reporting a trafficking situation in Eastern Europe. Our report put authorities on the trail of a major trafficking ring. Within a few months, 24 traffickers were arrested. 

We have to know how trafficking operates in order to recognize a dangerous situation. Today, I want to tell you about the single-most common method for enslaving Romanian women. It’s called the “Loverboy Method.”  This pernicious scheme starts when a trafficker targets a young, low-income woman. He showers her with attention and affection. He asks her out. For a small while, he spares no expense to treat her like a queen. It’s all part of a plot to win her trust.  Once the trafficker and the victim are romantically involved, he will invite her on a getaway trip. Sometimes he will ask her to move away with him for “a better life.” Since the woman is usually in love at this point, she often goes with him happily.  When they’re out of the country, the trafficker strikes. Often, he will confiscate her passport and documents before taking her phone. He then passes this precious woman off to another trafficker. At this point, the woman has been enslaved until partners like ours across Europe can rescue her and bring her to a place like the first Sanctuary.  It’s terrifying to think of the scale of this deception. Every year, 250,000 people are trafficked into Europe alone. At least 77% of the survivors we encounter in Europe are from Romania. When we hear their stories, we hear about traffickers using the Loverboy Method over and over again.  We are fighting this evil. Already, we have formed strategic partnerships across Europe and locally near the first Sanctuary. We are part of a coalition of 60 anti-trafficking organizations. Together, we’re developing international strategies to stamp out the Loverboy Method.  Near the first Sanctuary, the local government has asked us to conduct prevention seminars. They will train local parents, educators, law enforcement, and students in how to recognize and avoid traffickers. It’s one more way that unlocking the first Sanctuary will secure freedom for hundreds, even thousands of survivors! Let’s keep fighting to end trafficking and unlock transformation for survivors. We hold the keys to freedom! Warmly, Kim Westfall

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Our focus is on the tremendous and complex task of rescuing and restoring shattered hearts, minds, and psyches.  Our goal is to become one of the world’s leading catalysts and resource hubs for the anti-trafficking movement.

Uncaged’s Communication Policy >

Uncaged adheres to a strict policy of never revealing the identity of a traffic survivor. To ensure that we never re-exploit a survivor, all images and names have been changed.



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