A21 December UpdateBy karla keatinge
5 Dec 2012
From our friends at the A21:
2012 is coming to a close, and it has been a phenomenal year for The A21 Campaign.
So much has happened in the course of a calendar year, in which we turned four years old as an organization. We want to share the strides being made towards abolition in the 21st century with our supporters, since YOU are the ones that make it all possible!
We opened the doors to our transition home in Bulgaria, bringing A21 representation into six different countries. The transition home provides a safe place for girls who were once trafficked to ease back into a life of freedom and making decisions on their own. And YOU came together to raise money to furnish the entire place. Since then, we got to share with Bulgarian President, Rosen Plavneliev, the mission of A21.
We opened our A21 Carolinas office to focus on United States outreach. The launch of the office included our first ever gala, raising funds for continued expansion.
The A21 Campaign was honored at the U.S. Trafficking in Persons ceremony. The ceremony marks the release of the TIP Report every year. It also honors ten “TIP Heroes,” whom the United States recognizes as the ten most influential people in ending human trafficking. Our European Director, Phil Hyldgaard, was presented the award by Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.
And what exactly brought The A21 Campaign to the global stage to be recognized by the U.S. government? A lot of it had to do with the launch of 1109, the Human Trafficking Resource Hotline we launched in Greece. The hotline is a secure place to leave anonymous tips about potential trafficking situations. It is also a resource to simply learn how trafficking works in the area. We’ve already seen 9 girls brought to our shelter as a direct result of the hotline.
Oh, we also sponsored a Greek football team, which now advertises the hotline with every game.
We had our most successful Key2Free to date! The global awareness initiative included lobbying to Eastern European governments, events hosted by abolitionists in dozens of different countries, and even a guy who shaved our logo in his head.
We’ve had people this year host bike rides, marathons, eBay sales, tea parties, and more… all in the name of raising awareness and funds for The A21 Campaign. From the young girl who took her Sweet 16 celebrations as an opportunity to raise money for trafficking victims to the elderly community group from Australia who packed boxes of gifts to send the survivors in our Greek shelter, our supporters—young and old—are passionate about abolishing injustice.
In terms of pop culture, the song called “27 Million” by Matt Redman and LZ7 was released. The song raised awareness about the modern slavery epidemic, and was aired with great reception in many countries around the globe.
A21 Founder Christine Caine released her book, Undaunted, which included much of the story of The A21 Campaigns beginnings. A portion of the sales went to benefit The A21 Campaign.
Around the globe our staff is growing and passionate about mobilizing others to get involved in the fight for freedom. As a team, there have been over 800 awareness and prevention events, reaching thousands of people. From small rural villages to business boardrooms, from orphanages to conferences, the belief that change is possible is poured out to those who want to make a difference.
This year we saw seventeen traffickers were convicted in Eastern Europe. Seventeen! There were ten court cases for our legal team. The traffickers have been convicted for a total of 200 years and 7 months. They have been fined over $927,000 Euros (over $1,000,000 USD) cumulatively.
But perhaps most importantly, we welcomed new survivors into our shelters and transition homes. The A21 Campaign exists to bring freedom to the enslaved, so we are constantly seeking to open our doors to all who are in need. Just like all the statistics and accomplishments this year, they represent freedom. They represent justice. And they show that we are all the closer to truly accomplishing abolition in the 21st century.
To those who financially support The A21 Campaign, you are not donors, you are partners and friends in the fight for freedom. As the new year approaches, we cannot thank you enough for everyone who has supported and allowed us to fight for justice in the 21st century.