Ally Global Foundation is a Vancouver non-profit also working with partners abroad in Nepal and Cambodia with the goal of preventing human trafficking and assist victims who have lived through this heinous act receive the help they need. We spoke with Randy Watson the founder and CEO of Ally Global Foundation to learn more.
Describe your charity/non-profit/volunteer work in a few sentences.
Ally Global Foundation is a Canadian charity that prevents human trafficking and helps survivors build healthy, independent lives. Alongside local partners in Nepal and Cambodia, we provide safe housing, education and aftercare for over 200 children rescued from human trafficking and abuse. Within Canada, our mission is to prevent the sexual exploitation of minors through engaging, educational resources.
What problem does Ally aim to solve?
The problem Ally seeks to solve is the horrific crime of human trafficking. Our ultimate goal is to create a world where every child is safe from exploitation and every survivor has the opportunity to heal and thrive.
When did you start/join Ally?
I founded Ally Global Foundation in 2019.
What made you want to get involved?
Before founding Ally in 2019, I had worked and volunteered for 14 years in a diverse range of organizations, including small business startups, medium-sized businesses and nonprofits—both in the Western World and in the Global South.
During my years working and operating a for-profit company, it has always been a priority of mine to combine professional expertise with my passion for making a positive impact in the world. However, it was during my first trip to Nepal (on a humanitarian disaster relief trip) that I knew preventing human trafficking was a cause I had to dedicate my life to. The stories of healing and restoration I witnessed during my first trip to Nepal in 2016 continue to inspire me every day.
During that trip, as I sat in a room surrounded by incredible survivors, it hit me hard. It was no longer just a statistic of millions of people trapped in slavery; it became about these individual children, each with a unique story of unimaginable suffering. I had the privilege to interact with them, hear their experiences, and witness their resilience.
Those moments in Nepal made me realize the profound impact that dedicated individuals in the country were making in caring for the most vulnerable. The love and healing they provided to survivors were remarkable, but they lacked the necessary resources and support to reach more children and provide sustainable care.
It was in those moments that the vision of Ally was born. We created this organization to partner with these national leaders who were already making a difference in restoring survivors and ensuring they had access to long-term aftercare and trauma-informed education. Our goal was to empower these incredible individuals by providing them with the infrastructure and resources they needed to make a lasting difference in the lives of those affected by trafficking and abuse.
The trip to Nepal was a turning point for me, but it was my diverse background and experiences that prepared me to take on this important fight. I believe that by leveraging our resources, expertise, and partnerships, we can support those on the front lines and work towards a world where every child can be safe and free.
What was the situation like when you started?
Globally, an estimated 50 million people are abused and exploited by human traffickers, with 1 in 3 victims being children. This crime takes various forms, including forced labour, sexual exploitation, child marriage, and domestic servitude.
Trafficking affects all regions and countries of the world—including Canada. Traffickers seek out perceived weaknesses in their victims and use these against them to create dependency. They may target those in desperate need of employment, individuals with unstable or strained family relationships, those who appear to be lonely or have low self-esteem or those with limited education.
An estimated 17,000 people live in modern slavery in Canada today—a number that is only growing. Of the known victims of human trafficking reported to Canadian police services, 25% are under the age of 18, with children being groomed at an average age of 13-14 years old.
According to the Canadian Centre for Child Protection (C3P), reports of online sexual luring targeting Canadian children have risen to never-before-seen levels, with an 815% increase from 2018 to 2022. As online interactions through social media and gaming platforms continue to increase at a rapid rate, traffickers are leveraging technology to facilitate online exploitation.
How has it changed since?
Globally, our organization has achieved remarkable milestones since its inception. We have provided long-term care and support to 200 children who were rescued from trafficking and abuse, witnessing their inspiring journeys of healing, growth, and restoration within the safety of our homes. It is a source of hope and fulfilment to witness their lives transformed and contribute to their ongoing well-being. Additionally, we have enrolled 320 students in primary and secondary school, offering them education as a pathway to a brighter future. In 2022 alone, we supported 108 survivors through access to university scholarships and vocational training programs, empowering them to build independent and fulfilling lives. Beyond the numbers, our prevention programs have reached 16,331 individuals, raising awareness and equipping communities to identify and prevent cases of trafficking, reflecting lives saved, hope restored, and numerous instances of trafficking averted.
In Canada, our efforts to combat trafficking have gained momentum. We hired a dedicated Canadian Programs Manager to provide strategic guidance and oversee our national prevention work while building partnerships with other anti-trafficking organizations and service providers.
Conducting a needs assessment helped us determine where to allocate our resources effectively. Furthermore, we developed a comprehensive 3-Year Strategic Plan (2023-2025) focusing on research, programs, and partnerships. A significant aspect of this plan involves collaborating with experts to develop educational resources to prevent the sexual exploitation of minors. These engaging multimedia resources, designed for various demographics, will equip children and youth with the necessary skills to navigate online interactions safely and establish healthy relationships. We anticipate launching the first phase of these resources in late 2023, in partnership with the Exploitation Education Institute (formerly Sexual Exploitation Education).
What more needs to be done?
While progress has been made, there are important areas that need our attention. We must strengthen laws and enforcement to ensure that those who exploit others are held accountable.
It’s also crucial to provide support and help for survivors, so they can heal and rebuild their lives. We need to educate people and raise awareness about trafficking to prevent it from happening in the first place.
How can our readers help?
Your readers have the power to make a difference in the fight against human trafficking. Start by learning more about the issue through our resources page and watching The Twelve Thousand film.
Shot on location in Kathmandu, The Twelve Thousand is an award-winning short film that follows Sona through the sobering real-life stages of her trafficking experience. She is lured away from her rural village by the promise of better opportunities in the city but is ultimately deceived and sold into sex trafficking in an Indian brothel. After being trapped there for three years, Sona was rescued, repatriated back to Nepal and brought to an Ally safe home where she began her healing process.
When it comes to giving, you can join The Refuge, a community of monthly givers, or start a fundraiser to support prevention and help survivors. You can also raise awareness by following us on social media, sharing inspiring posts with your friends, and introducing Ally to others who might be interested. Together, we can fight human trafficking, protect those in need and give hope to survivors.
Where can we follow you?
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