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City of Atlanta Selected by Humanity United and NoVo Foundation as One of Three Cities to Receive Funding for Anti-Trafficking Innovation

Post Date:02/15/2018 3:00 PM

 Mayor’s Office of Communications
55 Trinity Avenue, Suite 2500 • Atlanta, Georgia 30303 

Anne Torres, Director
404-330-6423, office
404-904-2618, cell

Jenna Garland, Press Secretary
404-330-6612, office
404-357-5579, cell

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 15, 2018

News Release

City of Atlanta Selected by Humanity United and NoVo Foundation as One of Three Cities to Receive Funding for Anti-Trafficking Innovation

ATLANTA – The City of Atlanta announced today that it has been selected to receive funding to develop and implement a first-of-its-kind citywide approach to prevent trafficking and address unmet needs of trafficking survivors as part of the Pathways to Freedom city competition. Twenty-four cities nationwide were eligible to participate in the competition, and Atlanta, Chicago, and Minneapolis were selected as winners. All three cities will receive funding for labor trafficking technical assistance and to support a senior fellow’s salary for two years. The fellow will work across city agencies and with a range of community stakeholders to develop coordinated, citywide solutions to trafficking.

The Pathways to Freedom city challenge is funded through the Partnership for Freedom, a public-private partnership created by Humanity United and dedicated to spurring innovation in the fight to end human trafficking. Pathways to Freedom, the Partnership’s third challenge, is led by Humanity United and the NoVo Foundation.

“Every year, thousands of children, women and men fall prey to the insidious practice of human trafficking. Whether these victims are entrapped in or transported to Atlanta, we know that our city faces a human trafficking challenge disproportionate to its size,” said Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. “I am pleased to announce that I will appoint a Senior Fellow within my Administration to further the City’s efforts to combat and eliminate this horrific practice. The Pathways to Freedom grant will also enable Atlanta to better address labor trafficking, which has traditionally been under-reported, and its survivors under-served. I am confident that together, we can be the strength for the powerless and the hope of the victims.”

Thirteen mayors from major cities across the nation submitted letters of support and competed for this critical opportunity. The competition was open to U.S. cities in the 100 Resilient Cities network.100 Resilient Cities—Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation (100RC) helps cities around the world become more resilient to the physical, social, and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century.

“Cities have a critical role to play in the fight against human trafficking, and we are excited to support our winning cities as they develop new ways to address prevention and support for survivors,” said Catherine Chen, director of investments for Humanity United. “The impressive collection of applications we received is a testament to the growing political will of U.S. cities to lead the fight against human trafficking in their own communities. Atlanta demonstrates a serious commitment to addressing both labor and sex trafficking in a unique way. We are confident that the lessons that come out of Atlanta, Minneapolis, and Chicago will inspire and encourage innovation in their own communities and across the country.”

Despite growing awareness of human trafficking, gaps remain in preventing both labor and sex trafficking and supporting survivors to recover. 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. However, cities are well-positioned to close some of these gaps, and Atlanta will lead by example through the Pathways to Freedom challenge.

This opportunity will enable Atlanta to approach trafficking in new ways by encouraging them to consider new policies for the city, new practices for social service providers, additional funding and resources, and new relationships between cities and communities impacted by trafficking including survivors, anti-trafficking advocates, community organizations, employers, and service providers. 

“Our hope is that all three of the challenge winners will demonstrate that the most effective and innovative work to end human trafficking is deeply grounded in the experience of survivors themselves, especially the most vulnerable, including survivors of color, Indigenous survivors, immigrant survivors, LGBTQ youth, people with disabilities, and those struggling with addiction,” said Pamela Shifman, executive director of the NoVo Foundation. “By more effectively meeting the needs of survivors, these cities will shine as a model of what’s possible for other communities across the country.”

As cities progress on developing new approaches to labor and sex trafficking, findings will be documented on and shared with city leaders and service providers around the nation. Sharing tested approaches between cities ensures that cities can learn from one another and facilitate their anti-trafficking leadership.

Pathways to Freedom is the third and final innovation challenge issued by the Partnership for Freedom to spur innovative solutions to end modern slavery in the United States and around the world. The first challenge, “Reimagine: Opportunity” focused on spurring innovation in victim services. The second challenge, “Rethink Supply Chains” identified developers, designers, advocates, and innovators to submit concepts for technological solutions that identify and address labor trafficking in global supply chains for goods and services.

Learn more at or follow #PathwaystoFreedom on Facebook and Twitter. 

About Humanity United 

Humanity United is a foundation dedicated to bringing new approaches to global problems that have long been considered intractable. We build, lead, and support efforts to change the systems that contribute to problems like human trafficking, mass atrocities, and violent conflict. HU is part of The Omidyar Group, a diverse collection of organizations, each guided by its own approach, but united by a common desire to catalyze social impact.


Facebook: /humanityunited/

Twitter: @humanityunited 


About NoVo Foundation 

NoVo Foundation is dedicated to building a more just and balanced world. Founded in 2006 by Jennifer and Peter Buffett, NoVo has become one of the largest private foundations in the world to support initiatives focused explicitly on girls and women, including a dedicated focus on ending violence against girls and women and supporting adolescent girls. NoVo also works to advance social and emotional learning, support Indigenous communities and promote local living economies.


Facebook: /NoVoFoundation/

Twitter: @NoVoFoundation


 For more information about the City of Atlanta, please visit or watch City Channel 26. Follow the City of Atlanta on Facebook and Twitter @CityofAtlanta. Follow Mayor Bottoms on Facebook and Twitter @KeishaBottoms.

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