Guardian Group: 2022 Third Quarter Impact Report
Project 1591® launched on July 13th and after years of refining and testing the process and platform we are thrilled to see it actively increasing the number of people working to identify potential victims of sex trafficking. To date we have volunteers across 16 states and 5 countries outside the US that have completed training and are actively looking for victims online. The numbers we will be sharing with you from this point forward are changing a bit to include the efforts of this volunteer force.
Above, you will see that 92 potential victims have been identified across the country this year. This is a combination of potential victims identified by the PURSUIT® team here at Guardian Group and leads submitted by volunteers through Project 1591®. We say potential victims because while all indicators online might point to them being victimized on occasion, we learn they are in fact doing this by choice.
We are encouraged to see the impact of the Project 1591® volunteer force thus far and excited to see its potential. When a volunteer signs-up they are asked to complete a free online training course in order to proceed onto the platform, this is part of our assessment and vetting process. The course is designed to teach someone to recognize sex trafficking, however, it is not a course on Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT). At the end of the course there are a few practical exercises to test what the volunteer learned. If the exercises are passed, then the volunteer is granted access to the Project 1591® platform and given the freedom to search the internet for potential victims anywhere in the country.
To date we have nearly 600 volunteers that are currently in the course and working towards access to the platform. That is potentially 600 more people scouring the internet for potential victims of trafficking across the United States to illuminate to law enforcement. That is the power of Project 1591®.
Each time a victim is identified, law enforcement reaches out for support on an active investigation, or we are contacted by a member of the public with a potential trafficking situation that results in our team putting time and effort into the case we track this under cases processed
Previously this map reflected those that had completed the PURSUIT® Volunteer Training and Assessment course. This course is a requirement for volunteering through Project 1591®, however, we are altering what the map reflects. Now this map will reflect the states that victims have been identified in.
When someone volunteers with us through Project 1591® they are given the freedom to look for victims online anywhere in the United States. However, one of the beauties of this platform is that when law enforcement reaches out to us for support on a pre-planned operation, we are able to direct the volunteer force in one geographic area.
This was tested in July when a law enforcement partner reached out and asked for support in their area for an upcoming operation. We notified the volunteers of the request and instantly increased the number of skilled individuals working to identify victims in that area. All victims that were identified were then sent to our law enforcement partners to take action.
Much of our efforts these last few years and very specifically this last quarter have focused on the creation and launch of the Project 1591® platform. While growing this volunteer force will remain our top priority, we wanted to highlight a few other things that we have been working on…
– 445 people have been trained this year thus far. These professionals primarily work in healthcare sector, hospitality industry and law enforcement. Each is now equipped to recognize and respond to potential situations of trafficking.
– We are constantly looking for opportunities to diversify our funding and have recently begun working with The Giving Block to accept crypto donations! Crypto philanthropy provides a reliable way to reduce your capital gains taxes while supporting Guardian Group! You can learn more here.
– One of the ways in which we work to prevent sex trafficking here in the US is by providing free educational resources to parents, caregivers, and community members alike. The majority of this content can be found on our blog. If you have not checked it out head on over and give it a read.
In the past we have kept information about out board on a request only basis. The majority of our board has families and due to the nature of our work this was out of caution for their safety. Over the last year the GG leadership has decided it is time to introduce our supports to our board. With that we would like to introduce you two of our board members.
Meet Sam Donnelly our Board Chair.
Sam Donnelly is a husband, father, veteran, technology start-up executive, and advocate of counter human trafficking. Born and raised in Virginia, he attended the United States Military Academy at West Point. Following a 20-year career in the Army, Sam entered the start-up ecosystem and held various leadership positions with multiple firms over the past four years. He also earned his MBA from Vanderbilt University in 2022. Sam has been married for 22 years and has three children, ages 19, 15, and 13.
In 2013, Sam co-founded the Network, a non-profit dedicated to mapping and exposing human trafficking networks. Serving in a similar space, he began to work alongside the team at Guardian Group, assisting them with strategic planning. He joined the GG board in 2018.
When asked why he supports counter trafficking work and Guardian Group here was his response, “I have an innate sense of, and passion for, justice. It bothers me that human trafficking thrives in our country and the stories of exploited victims is heart-breaking. Partnering with Guardian Group enables me to be part of the solution and I support them for three primary reasons. First is the commitment of this team of professionals who dedicate themselves to pursue justice on behalf of the oppressed. They are simply inspiring. Second, I strongly believe in GG’s model of illuminating victims for law enforcement to take appropriate action, combined with GG’s technological innovation to make that process easier. This approach will work. Third is their stewardship. The GG team is disciplined with its resources and extracts maximum value from every dollar it touches.”
Meet Bea Cochran
Bea Cochran is a Six Sigma Continuous Improvement leader with a background in Healthcare IT and Nonprofits. She recently co-founded a consulting firm in Nashville, Tennessee specializing in continuous improvement and strategic planning for IT, Healthcare, and Nonprofit organizations. She has a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Spanish and an MBA, both from Vanderbilt University.
Bea was born and raised in a small town in Kenya where she was adopted by a missionary couple that had founded a school for orphans. She became aware of human trafficking at the age of eleven on a beach vacation with her family. One evening, she saw a girl about her same age sitting on a stool outside a hotel room. Over the next few days, she saw that same girl sitting outside other rooms at the hotel, so she approached the hotel staff to ask about it. Not wanting to cause trouble, they said the girl and others like her, were simply there to help guests with issues in their room. Dissatisfied with this answer, she did her own research which led to the conclusions of sex tourism and human trafficking. From then on, she knew she wanted to find a way to stop the exploitation of that young girl and others like her. This is why she supports counter human trafficking and Guardian Group.
Recently we’ve had a handful of people come up with creative ways to help support this fight. Their extraordinary efforts are not only impressive but worth sharing. The first donor we’d like to highlight completed an IRONMAN to support the work that GG is doing!
Meet Dave and Brooke!
Dave works in the Technology Industry, and when not at work, with family, or training for endurance events, he is volunteer firefighting. His wife, Brooke Slater, is the Senior Investigator at Slater Slater Schulman LLP and a tenacious advocate for survivors of sexual trauma. She’s a Board-Certified Human Trafficking Investigator (CHTI), part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s National Initiative for Cybersecurity.
Careers and Studies, and she’s dedicated her life’s work to attaining justice, acknowledgement, and validation for all survivors of sexual abuse. Dave and Brooke currently reside on Long Island, NY with their two sons and rescued dog.
On July 24th, 2022, Dave completed the IRONMAN Lake Placid triathlon. The IRONMAN Lake Placid triathlon – swim, bike, run – is a 140.6 mile test of endurance through the Adirondack Mountains in New York, known as one of the most challenging full-distance IRONMAN courses in North America. Dave partnered with IRONMAN Foundation to raise awareness and funds for Guardian Group, exceeding his $5,000 fundraising goal.
Given our proximity to survivors of heinous acts of sexual abuse via Brooke’s day-to-day work at Slater Slater Schulman LLP, we’re compelled to support Guardian Group’s mission to prevent and disrupt the sex trafficking of women and children while enabling partners to identify victims and predators in the United States. We look forward to a world where human trafficking is eradicated altogether.
Join the Fight
The necessary work that is being done to combat this horrific crime here in the United States is only possible because of your support.
If you cannot support financially but love the work that is being accomplished please tell the world. By leaving a review on GreatNonprofits it helps elevate our impact and increase our reach. It’s easy and only takes 3 minutes!
Thank you for continuing to fight alongside us.