GRANTING COURAGE INITIATIVE – FIGHTING HUMAN TRAFFICKING & CHILD EXPLOITATION

At the age of nine, Evelyn Chumbow was taken from her family home in Cameroon and brought to the United States. With the opportunity to receive a sound education, her family believed she’d be able to lead a better life than the one she’d have if she remained in Cameron. But that’s not what happened. “I came to the US as domestic child labor,” says Ms. Chumbow, now an activist against human trafficking. “I cooked, cleaned and took care of a baby and was abused every day. I never had a childhood, and never spoke to my family.” Disturbing as Ms. Chumbow’s story is, it becomes even more so as we pan back and understand that her experience is hardly extraordinary. Human trafficking very much remains a prolific industry around the world. In 2014, the ICE Foundation created the Granting Courage Initiative , in part, an educational scholarship for victims of child exploitation and human trafficking. Ms. Chumbow was its inaugural recipient. “There’s not a lot of help out there for trafficking victims. And I can help because I’m part of the National Support Network,” she said. “The scholarship has been a major change in my life. I’ve never been rewarded for anything, so I feel very happy and blessed to get it.” ICE combats human trafficking and child exploitation day in and day out. Once the victims are rescued, the agency relies on outside partners, such as the foundation, to reintegrate them into society, and ensure that they not only survive but thrive. The Granting Courage Initiative is a bold new concept in aftercare. It’s not just to enabling the recipients to lead independent lives, it’s empowering them to grow into tomorrow’s advocates, like Ms. Chumbow. Beyond the scholarship, we’re connecting the recipients with thriving survivors, as well as community leaders and professionals. The ICE Foundation launched the Granting Courage Initiative thanks to contributions from the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children and ICE’s Victims Assistance Program. To learn more about the initiative, visit grantingcourage.org.