Four years ago, International Justice Mission launched Project Lantern, an unprecedented study to test a simple but powerful strategy: When anti-trafficking laws are enforced by well-trained and equipped police and courts, all children are better protected from traffickers.
Through the generous funding of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, IJM opened a new office in Cebu, the Philippines, and the team began working alongside the local government to stand up to the traffickers who had been operating with near impunity.
After partnering with local police to rescue more than 220 trafficking victims and charge more than 100 suspected traffickers in Metro Cebu, the stunning results of Project Lantern are in:
- External researchers found that the number of minors available for exploitation in the commercial sex industry in Metro Cebu has plummeted 79 percent from their initial study before IJM began its casework four years ago.
- The researchers also found that Project Lantern has led to: an increase in law enforcement activity in sex trafficking cases, an increase in commitment to resolving sex trafficking cases among law enforcement officers trained through the project, and an increase in services – like shelter, counseling and career training – provided to trafficking survivors.
IJM will now seek to replicate the results of this game-changing project around the world.