iSanctuary Frequently Asked Questions


What is human trafficking?

Human trafficking is the transportation and sale of human beings, often for purposes of exploitation. Leading authorities estimate that more than 800,000 people are trafficked every year, adding to the figure of 12.3 million people around the world presently living in slavery.  80% of trafficking victims are women and children.  Victims of sex trafficking are most commonly forced, deceived, abducted or sold by their families, transported and then sold into slavery.


What does iSanctuary do in response to human trafficking and forced commercial sexual exploitation?

International Sanctuary works to rehabilitate survivors of human trafficking through employment opportunities. Girls rescued from sexual slavery in India, are provided with education, medical assistance, life skills, and marketable training in jewelry making. In Orange County, iSanctuary offers an integrated professional growth program to survivors of human trafficking which employs them within the structure of the organization. iSanctuary provides survivors with the skills they need to sustain themselves, pursuing better futures filled with hope.


How are the survivors rescued?

International Sanctuary partners with a large international human rights agency that works with local authorities around the world to rescue victims of oppression and slavery.  The organization utilizes legal and investigative professionals to collect evidence of forced sexual exploitation.  Once sufficient evidence is gathered, the information is brought to local authorities who work with the human rights agency to physically remove the girls from their situations of abuse and exploitation. In the United States, iSanctuary partners with the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force Coalition, made up of Westminster Police Department, Investigative Customs Enforcement, and other non-government agencies which work on behalf of victims to rescue them out of trafficking situations.


Does International Sanctuary ever purchase girls’ freedom?

No, iSanctuary does not advocate purchasing victims’ freedom from their exploiters.  This only contributes to the supply and demand equation, giving criminals added incentive to acquire and enslave girls, along with an additional source of income.  Legally removing exploited girls from situations of slavery and holding traffickers accountable for their crimes is necessary for lasting change to be achieved.







What happens to the survivors once they are rescued?

Upon rescue in India, the survivors are placed in a government facility (for a maximum of 30 days) until their ages can be verified.  Once it is medically confirmed that the girls are minors—under 18 years of age—they are placed under the protection of the Child Welfare Committee and transferred to government-run or privately-run care homes.  These aftercare homes serve as places of safety for the girls.  The girls live in the aftercare homes until they reach the age of 18.

In the United States, survivors are sheltered in safe homes and given the resources they need through CSP (Community Service Programs) and non-government agencies.


How old are the survivors International Sanctuary serves?

In India, iSanctuary works with girls who are generally between the ages of 12 and 25 years old.  At the time of trafficking and sale, girls have been younger than 12.  Statistics show that girls that are trafficked have been known to be as young as age 5.  In the United States, the majority of survivors iSanctuary works with are adults.


What happens to the girls once they get to the US?

The girls are never brought to the United States. Survivors typically remain in the country where they were rescued.  It would not be beneficial to survivors to be transported and introduced into yet another culture. Once their court case is closed they usually have the option to return home if their families were found innocent in the transaction of the girl.  For survivors that have been trafficked and rescued in the US, specific US laws are in place for victims’ rights.  Laws vary from country to country.


How much is returned to the girls from the sale of products?

The girls are paid 100% above fair trade wage.  Each girl has a bank account where her earnings are deposited and saved for her future when she transitions out of the aftercare home. The Fair Trade Federation is an association that was established as a global movement to build equitable and sustainable partnerships in order to alleviate poverty.  Fair trade wage is calculated according to each country’s economic scale. Fair Trade products ensure that items were not made by slave labor.  The additional funds cover the material cost, shipping, and tax.  Surivors in Orange County employed with iSanctuary are paid according to their position, job and skill set.


What happens to the girls once they turn 18?

Though the care homes are primarily intended for minor girls, young women are permitted to stay once they turn 18 if they so choose.  When the girls reach 18 years of age, they are encouraged to move to transitional group homes where they can gain more independence and gradually reintegrate into society.




How was International Sanctuary started?

Please read OC Register article written by Lori Basheda, published January 6, 2009.

(Link story) http://www.ocregister.com/articles/stephanie-girls-india-2273910-wendy-one


Why India?

India has over 10,000 women enslaved in prostitution. 70% of India’s population lives in poverty. India was the country Stephanie Pollaro, Founder & President, heard of when she learned about human trafficking.


Trafficking happens in the United States?

Trafficking is a global issue. It occurs in countries all over the world. Americans are trafficked within the borders of the United States, while 14,500 to 17,000 people, primarily women and children, are trafficked in to the U.S. each year. See the US Trafficking in Persons report for more information www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2008


What are you doing to help survivors in the US?

iSanctuary’s vision is to work with survivors globally, in a variety of countries. iSanctuary started its efforts in India, where the needs of trafficking survivors are exceedingly great.  As a member of the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force Coalition in California, iSanctuary partners with other organizations to provide resources for survivors. In September of 2010, iSanctuary began an integrated professional growth program to provide employment to survivors rescued in the United States. iSanctuary currently employs survivors and equips them for reintegration. See http://vimeo.com/23712195


How can I help?

There are a variety of ways that you can get involved and become an advocate for survivors of human trafficking.  Please contact iSanctuary for more information. (949) 752-7788 or info@isanctuary.org


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