Pathways to Freedom City Challenge

Three Great Cities, One Challenge

Three U.S. cities have been chosen to take part in Pathways to Freedom, a first-of-its-kind anti-trafficking challenge to spur local innovation in the fight to end human trafficking. Over the next two years, Atlanta, Chicago, and Minneapolis will receive funding and support to develop and implement comprehensive citywide approaches to better prevent labor and sex trafficking and support survivors.

Funding from the challenge will support a senior fellow’s salary in city government for two years and technical assistance to better address labor trafficking. Each anti-trafficking fellow will report to the mayor or executive level staff and work across multiple city agencies and with a range of community stakeholders to develop comprehensive approaches that could include new policies for the city, new practices for social service providers, additional funding and resources, and new relationships between the cities and communities impacted by trafficking including survivors, anti-trafficking advocates, community organizations, employers, and service providers.

Pathways to Freedom is the third and final challenge of the Partnership for Freedom, a public-private partnership to spur innovative solutions to human trafficking challenges in the United States and around the world. Humanity United and the NoVo Foundation lead this final challenge, and Pathways to Freedom was developed with guidance from a team of human trafficking survivors who generously shared their expertise and insights.

Why a City Challenge?

Despite growing awareness of human trafficking, gaps remain in preventing both labor and sex trafficking and supporting survivors to recover – and cities can play a critical role in closing those gaps.

Too often, public health, human services, labor enforcement, legal services, housing, immigration and other systems fail to identify individuals at risk of trafficking and may not have services that adequately assist victims and survivors. As a result, trafficking survivors often cycle in and out of city systems without receiving the assistance they need. Local governments have the greatest understanding of their communities’ challenges and are well-positioned to design and implement new policies and practices.

In an innovative attempt to address issues, Pathways to Freedom is giving Atlanta, Chicago, and Minneapolis the means and opportunity to develop comprehensive city approaches that address both labor and sex trafficking. Ultimately, these approaches will be shared, allowing communities across the nation to consider their own comprehensive programs and policies.

What Exactly Does Each Winning City Receive?

Each winning city will receive:

  • Financial support for a senior fellow’s salary for two years to strengthen anti-trafficking policies and practices;
  • Funding for technical assistance on labor trafficking;
  • Networking assistance to connect the senior fellow with senior fellows in the other winning cities and across the nation.

Growing City Support

Thirteen mayors from major cities across the nation submitted letters of support and competed for this critical opportunity. Applicant cities included Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Louisville, Minneapolis, New York, Oakland, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, and Washington, DC. The competition was open to U.S. cities in the 100 Resilient Cities network.

The robust collection of applications received for the Pathways to Freedom Challenge is a testament to the growing political will in U.S. cities to lead the fight against trafficking in their communities.

What's Next

Each winning city will select and hire a senior fellow by March 2018. For additional information on the city competition refer to the official rules.

About Pathways to Freedom

Pathways to Freedom calls on cities to take urgent action to prevent human trafficking and address the unmet needs of survivors. This third challenge of the Partnership for Freedom focuses on challenging assumptions, spurring innovative city-wide responses, and sharing local solutions. Humanity United and the NoVo Foundation lead this final challenge in collaboration with 100 Resilient Cities.

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