The first step in any rescue for a victim of sexual slavery is gathering evidence. This process can be a long, expensive and dangerous one for undercover investigators.
Investigators travel to a place of suspected trafficking, oftentimes taking several forms of local transportation, sometimes to remote locations. Then they do the painstaking work of gathering evidence of slavery to present to the police. This includes a host of activities from traditional stake-outs to entering brothels posing as a customer, armed with an undercover camera. It can also include interviewing locals, taking photos, gathering intelligence, and marking locations on maps.
After investigators gather sufficient evidence, they create a report which they then deliver to the police agents, with whom they have trusted relationships. At that point, depending on the case load and funding, the case will be pursued by the local authorities.
Recently, you funded this investigative process for investigators with The Exodus Road in a particular remote village in Southeast Asia. We empowered a team of trained undercover operatives to make three different trips to a location with suspected victims of trafficking. The team discovered 30 young girls (several of whom are under the age of 18), who were predominately from a neighboring country– a clear red flag for a trafficking scenario. The investigators were able to take covert photos of their living conditions– 7-10 girls to a room sleeping on mats on the floor, as well as gather field intel about the owners and the location itself.
With this initial evidence gathered, investigators created a report that is now in the hands of trusted local partners in the national police force. Investigators will continue to revisit the case until authorities take action to pursue it further.