In the darkened corners of any town USA, there's an atrocity taking place that many people rarely acknowledge: human trafficking. It's prevalent, has destroyed millions of lives, and often unfolds closer to home than most think.
The initiative N2GIVES supports organizations that fight this horrific reality, while restoring hope for those affected. The idea for N2GIVES came naturally for conceptualists Duane Hixon and Earl Seals. The founders of N2 Publishing – which produces more than 900 community magazines for neighborhoods around the country – Hixon and Seals long ago made "giving back" a core principle in the company's mission. Realizing the rampant damage caused by human trafficking, they decided to add this focus to N2's philanthropic efforts.
"Our goal is to be really good at private business, so we can support people who are really good at running nonprofits," Hixon said. "These nonprofits have to spend so much money and time just to raise funds to keep their doors open. We want them to focus on what they're good at, which is fighting for the cause."
According to the International Labour Organization, the human trafficking problem is big and growing each year. Recent studies estimate there are 20.9 million victims globally. Of this number, 68% of them are trapped in forced labor; 26% of them are children; and 55% are women and girls.
While there is no official estimate on the number of victims in the United States, it's happening in cities – big and small – across the nation. N2, headquartered in Wilmington, NC, first got involved in the fight upon realizing that human trafficking existed in its own small coastal town. The company replaced its initial shock with the desire to do something about it – and fast. Hixon contacted a local nonprofit called A Safe Place and asked how his company could help. In getting to know the people who ran the organization, he found out about Patricia. She was a trafficking survivor, who had gone to school to become a social worker and now wanted to work at A Safe Place. There was one problem: The nonprofit could not afford to hire her. N2 stepped in, donating enough money to cover her salary.
Earlier this month, N2 Publishing announced the 36 non-profit recipients of the more than $2 million the company is donating as a part of its N2GIVES initiative. As N2 grows, Hixon and Seals said so will the amount of their annual donations.
"It's heartbreaking to hear about people with no voice," Hixon said. "To be able to help them, that is so fulfilling."
For a full list of the recipients, visit http://www.n2gives.com/.