O.U.R Stories
Education, Partners
Fighting Human Trafficking with Mentors International & Microloans
Education, Partners

“There are many reasons why someone is trafficked. However, there are three primary reasons why people become victims of human trafficking: poverty, breakdown of the family, and lack of education,” said O.U.R. Director of Aftercare, Jessica Mass.

False employment is often used to deceive potential victims of trafficking who are hungry, poor, and searching for a better life. When someone can sustain themself and their family, they generally aren’t desperate for employment and are therefore less likely to be a target for traffickers.

Because of the connection between poverty and trafficking, our incredible partners at Mentors International create opportunities for women and men in developing countries to support themselves.

Mentors International offers small loans to survivors in aftercare homes and people who are susceptible to being trafficked. Survivors use this small loan to create or improve their businesses.

Many financial institutions in developing countries won’t work with women, just because they’re women. Women can’t own land and aren’t allowed to work with banks. In several countries, Mentors International is the one of the few financial institutions that loans to women and also freely provides the education and training to make good financial and business decisions.

Say a survivor wants to start a business making and selling bread. Mentors International gives her a loan of $300 (the average amount of a microloan) and gives her free training on sales, customer service, savings, bookkeeping, and planning. Mentors International is both the bank and the school. A personal ongoing mentor helps her explore how to make her business as successful as possible.

That survivor then starts her business, and she eventually pays the loan back. Mentors International’s loan repayment rate is 97 percent. When the loan is paid back, she can take out another loan to further improve her business. She can meet with mentors and get ongoing advice on how to grow her business.

Zorka in Peru started a shoe business. She said,

With the money that Mentors loaned me, I could grow my business and help my parents…It has helped me fulfill my ideas and dreams. Now they are not ideas nor dreams, but reality. Without this support, I would never be where I am today…I’m not going to stay here, I’m going to keep growing and progressing.

Zorka was eventually able to hire six employees who can now also provide for their families. She also produces more shoes and rents a larger retail space.

During 2018, Mentors International partnered with O.U.R. in the Dominican Republic and Peru to teach business skills to teenage survivors living in aftercare facilities. Together we are helping these girls learn how to create a brighter future.

We’re so grateful for the impact Mentors International is making by creating opportunities for people all around the world to become self-sufficient.

“We look forward to the day where poverty and slavery are just something found in the history books,” said Ron Dunford, former President and CEO of Mentors International.

We love partnering with Mentors International. Together we empower people around the world to be able to provide for themselves and contribute to their communities and families. This empowerment is a powerful way to help prevent human trafficking.

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Learn more about how we collaborate with Mentors International here.

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