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What's Happening


Have you ever heard messages over train or airport intercoms telling you to say something if you see something? Have you seen signs in bathrooms indicating how to reach out for help if you are being trafficked?

These are vital parts of prevention and rescue! While these measures may be common in the West, they are not in Eastern Europe. Suppose we do nothing to educate travelers and staff at border crossings about human trafficking. In that case, we are allowing a major pipeline to remain open. This is how thousands of women and girls from Eastern Europe are being trafficked!

Earlier this year, we were filming the real-life story of prevention in action (don’t miss this story below)! We were with members of staff and the film crew in an airport in Romania. When the airport staff heard the anti-trafficking knowledge saved two girls from slavery, they said, “We need this here!”

The door opened for us to work in partnership with the Romanian Ministry of Transportation!

We are working with them to install TV monitors in strategic train stations and airports across Romania. They will show videos on trafficking awareness, safety information, and directions to safe spaces within the train station and airport. Most importantly, we will be able to tell victims how to connect with our organization by phone. This is a huge step in educating the general public in Eastern Europe about the trafficking happening in their countries and across their borders!

Romanian nationals want to stop traffickers from succeeding in their schemes and to protect their people. By partnering with them and working with the Ministry of Transportation, we can reach a large audience, including potential victims and travelers with vital information! They will be equipped to actively prevent trafficking. We want survivors to know that there is a safe space for them and that there are people who care. Remember 78% of survivors found in Europe are Romanian.

The strategy we’ve outlined will install TV monitors that the Ministry will maintain, so we are working hand-in-hand with Romania in this ambitious effort! We are starting with 10 screens in a major train station and airport that will reach 48,000 travelers a day!

We're asking people like you to help us with phase two of our project within a year. This phase involves putting up screens, making videos and signs, recording messages for the loudspeakers, and training airport staff. Our goal is to do this in three airports and 16 train stations. This could help around 448,000 travelers every day learn about stopping trafficking and staying safe.

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The ever-growing Freedom Highway is an alliance of people across Europe who are committed to working to prevent trafficking and to identify and support survivors of human trafficking.

Each member of the Freedom Highway needs the knowledge and confidence to know the signs of trafficking and how to respond.

1. Recognize Trafficking

The first key ability these anti-trafficking advocates need is the ability to recognize trafficking. For prevention, this means they know what common schemes a trafficker will use to lure vulnerable people into a situation they cannot escape. For freeing a survivor, this means they need to know the tell-tale signs of a person caught in trafficking.

What do you think some of the signs are? Would you know what to look for?

2. Aide in Escape

We hope that building a strong, knowledgeable network of people across Europe and around the world will help us prevent trafficking before it even begins. We never want another person to experience the trauma of trafficking, so we are equipping people with knowledge to recognize situations of trafficking and stop traffickers.

This happened when members of our team recognized an unsafe situation at a Romanian airport and prevented a trafficker from taking two girls out of the country!

Yet, we know this huge evil will not be stopped overnight and millions of survivors need to find freedom and total transformation!

So, the second key ability members of The Freedom Highway need is to aid a survivor in escaping when a situation of trafficking is identified.

How do you think you could position yourself as a safe person that a traumatized survivor could trust? If you said, “I don’t know,” you’re not alone. That’s why we need to train anti-trafficking advocates to know what to do and how to help!

3. Connect to Safety

Once a human trafficking survivor has escaped from her trafficker, this is not the end of the journey. It is the beginning of a long road to healing.

Survivors are in danger of their trafficker coming for them. They are seen as a valuable revenue stream and these criminals will often try to lure them. First of all, survivors need a safe place. We wish we could bring every Romanian survivor out there straight to the Sanctuary, but this is not possible. Many are in other countries and don’t have the proper paperwork to travel.

That’s why the Freedom Highway goes far beyond Romania. We know that Eastern Europe is the epicenter of human trafficking. 78% of those in slavery across Europe are from Romania!

We are helping members of the Freedom Highway across Europe understand how to connect survivors to a safe house. Survivors are at high risk for being re-victimized and we must make sure they stay safe!

4. Journey to the Sanctuary

All of the pieces come together to form a powerful anti-trafficking advocate when they know how to recognize trafficking, aid a survivor, connect her to safety, and journey with her.

Someone who has just escaped from human trafficking has big needs. She is likely battered and injured. She will need medical care. She hasn’t had consistent nutrition and she needs rest, food, and medicine for her body to begin to heal.

Her heart and soul are just as injured. She has experienced fear and pain at the hands of her trafficker and those who bought her “services.” She needs to feel safe and remain stable before she can come to The Sanctuary, a host family, or another place of safety.

When we train people to be a part of the Freedom Highway, it is important that they know trauma-informed methods so they don’t further wound a traumatized survivor.

When these pieces all come together, we have a powerful member of an alliance all across Europe working together to keep survivors safe and on the road to freedom!

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Updated: Sep 14, 2023

In 2021, 30 people gathered at The Sanctuary in Romania for a Freedom Summit. These anti-trafficking advocates created a strategy for reaching out across Europe with the keys to unlocking freedom for those enslaved.

Those individuals gathered realized there was already a vast network of Romanians who lived across Europe and wanted to activate an alliance. We realized the ripple effect that was possible. One person trained with connections in other countries meant more doors opening. One volunteer with the power to recognize traffickers meant more survivors finding freedom.

In March of 2021 over 300 individuals gathered in Western Europe and pledged to support the Freedom Highway and fight to end trafficking.

Two years later the Freedom Highway is expanding in ways we never imagined. Stay tuned all month long as we share the building blocks of this path to freedom, how all the pieces fit together to form a robust network, and how your support means one step closer to saying, “Slavery no more!”

A Strategy

We set out with the goal of unlocking transformation for trafficking survivors. We quickly realized that aftercare and healing go hand in hand with prevention. We believe we can work together towards ending human trafficking once and for all. This is possible with the right strategy and the right people. We brought experts from around the world together who have crafted an approach to do this.

The road ends with transformation. Survivors of human trafficking have a safe place to go, get world-class aftercare, and a chance to overcome trauma and reiterate into society. But how do they get there?

That’s where the strategy of blanketing Romania and beyond with anti-trafficking knowledge and practices comes in! The more people know, the more they can prevent trafficking from happening in the first place. They can recognize survivors and know what to do to help them. And they can connect them to places on the Freedom Highway for protection and healing.

An Alliance

The Uncaged team is just one part of the Freedom Highway. We cannot end something as big as the massive criminal enterprise of human trafficking alone. That’s why it’s so important to share our knowledge and best practices with abolitionists everywhere.

First, comes training people and sending them out into their communities. They have connections and they tell others how to protect themselves. Individual connections turn into alliances with churches, educators, businesses, social workers, healthcare workers, hospitality workers, police, government officials, and on and on.

In 2001 the Freedom Highway started with 30, then grew to 300. We shared recently that just this year, our team has trained over 2000 individuals. Can you imagine what that number will become when they share what they’ve learned and live it out?

The Freedom Highway is growing every day!

A Path to Freedom

In 2021 there were 58 women tucked in safe houses across Europe. The Freedom Highway found many of them and connected them. This network of individuals made sure thee survivors stayed stable and supported.

Earlier this year, we shared an incredible story about a businessman we trained in Romania. His new knowledge about how to recognize a survivor of human trafficking paid off within weeks. A battered woman showed up at his doorstep. He realized she had just escaped from her trafficker. His family hid her in their apartment until our team could get her to a hospital. Tamara is free because this member of the Freedom Highway knew what to do!

The right strategy plus a network of committed advocates means freedom for more survivors. Join us in building the Freedom Highway!

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