Our Mission, Commitment & Plan
We partner with organizations and individuals globally to meet the needs of trafficking survivors and those who are considered to be at high risk of being trafficked. We partner by providing financial, emotional and spiritual support.
The rescue and restoration of victims of Human Trafficking and the elimination of modern-day slavery
To focus our efforts in 4 main areas: Shelters, Stations (Border Monitoring), Scholarships, & Sustainable Projects.
- Shelters - Sanctuaries that become loving homes for a family of rescued girls fostering health, stability and self- confidence. 100% of all needs met are free of charge.
- Stations (Border Monitoring) - Free for Life now fully partners with PRC at 2 border monitoring stations Krishnanagar (Nepal/India border) and Kodari (Nepal/Tibet border)
- Scholarships - Scholarships are given to young women that have been victimized by trafficking as well as those considered at high risk. Free for Life gave 56 scholarships to young women to attend the tailoring classes in 2013. We also gave 56 scholarships for sewing machines to be given to each girl upon graduation.
- Sustainable Projects - Free for life has recently opened a new Tailoring program consisting of 3 classes through each of our partner border monitoring stations offering 20-25 girls per class the ability to take a 6 month class. This provides the graduate with a sustainable skill to build her new life of freedom with.
How We Work
- Free for Life selects our partners by identifying shelters and individuals with proven track records and extraordinarily committed leaders in the arena of human trafficking.
- We visit our partners a minimum of once a year to ensure all standards of care and accountably are being met.
- Financial contributions are disbursed to those who are willing to disclose budgets and financial reports, can quantify specific critical needs, and who can explain the progress of the young women under the shelter’s care on a minimum of a tri-annual basis.
- We strive to work on a multi teared apporach to trafficking with our partners. This means we work toward the rescue of those victimized at the same time as we are working in areas of prevention through border monitoring, scholarships, sustainable programs, and prosecution of traffickers.
- Concurrent with our international outreach, we are committed to educate and inform the public at large on the issues of human trafficking. Providing the resource materials we have developed such as the mulitlingual phrase book and the PSA’s we have produced. We actively seek opportunities to communicate the need for involvement and to move people from awareness to action.
A Letter from our CEO/Founder Colette Bercu
One evening in 2005, I settled in to watch CBS’s “48 Hours Mystery”. The information that I learned from this broadcast would change my life and lead to the founding of “Free for Life International”. The show traveled to Romania upon learning they might actually be able to purchase a young woman as a sex slave.
“She will be a good slave and do whatever you want. She will make you a lot of money.” A trafficker told the 48 Hours reporter who had just purchased a young girl named Nicoletta from her for $1,800. Nicoletta was sold as a sexual commodity to numerous men each day. Her resignation to her imprisonment was evident as she mirrored what the woman had said, agreeing that she indeed would be a “good slave”. She was paraded in front of the reporters half-naked and had been trained to smile and flirt. The idea of rescue had become a far off dream and she had become a shell of the little girl she was meant to be. When she learned that she was free and was being taken to stay with Iana Matei who ran the only private safe house in Romania she began to cry tears of joy. She told them she had not seen the sky in over a year.
I continued to watch the gut wrenching stories of two other young women that had been held as sex slaves; one in Mexico and the other right here in the United States. Their plight tore at my heart so badly that two days later I was still crying. I could go on crying or I could do something so I tracked down the woman in Romania who ran the shelter because I needed to know if there was some way for me to help. I found out that her shelter was in desperate need of funding. By 2006, my husband Dan and I had formed “Free for Life” and were on a plane heading to Romania. Thus began my journey into the world of charitable activism on behalf of trafficking victims.
Young women and children who are sold into slavery are forced to endure the unthinkable. The feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness that traffickers breed into the hearts and minds of their victims truly kill their spirit. Free for Life exists to make sure that hope comes alive again in the hearts of those who’ve been rescued. Since my own awakening and through my work, I’ve found that there’s an enormous lack of awareness of the existence of sexual trafficking, the second most prevalent crime in the world. People cannot change what they do not know exists, but given the information and opportunity, so many good people want to lend a hand and make a difference. Our partnerships provide a sanctuary where self-respect, self-confidence and life skills are nurtured and grow in survivors. Their rescue is just the beginning of their struggle. That’s why it’s imperative to keep shelters open and thriving. Since Free for Life International began, we have done exactly that… one child, one woman, one shelter, one day and one dollar at a time. The many testimonies of lives restored over the years have taught me the power of love in overcoming the devastation that occurs as a result of a person being sold into slavery.
The past five years have been filled with some of the most challenging and dangerous times of my life, but also the most enlightening and joyous times I have ever experienced. Today, I am more passionately determined than ever to make a difference in the lives of victims of sexual slavery. One person can truly make a difference… and when given the opportunity, LOVE always heals.
Email : [email protected]
Phone : 1-888-335-8835
109 Holiday Court, Suite D-6
Franklin, TN 37067-9829 USA
Information & Successes
Human Trafficking Facts
- Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world grossing an estimated 32 billion dollars in profits last year.
- It is estimated that that approximately 27,000,000 people worldwide are engaged in some form of modern slavery; the majority of which are women and children bought and sold into sex trafficking.
- In the country of Nepal it is estimated that over 1,000 girls a month are trafficked. It is estimated 200,000 Nepalese girls are enslaved in brothels in the country of India alone.
- Every year 100,000 children are sexually exploited and sold into slavery on American soil.
Free for Life
- We are a 501(c) 3 non-profit human trafficking prevention organization.
- Free for Life currently supports 2 partner border monitoring stations in Nepal. Free for Life’s work in Nepal is all in partnership with the Peace Rehabilitation Center who has work in the area of trafficking for over 20 years helping thousands of young women. Since 2010, our 2 partner border monitoring stations on the Nepal/India and Nepal/Tibet borders have helped rescue 411 girls and brought 32 traffickers to justice.
- In 2013, Free for Life partnered with PRC to open a border office in the Rasuwa district where a 6 lane highway is slotted to open between Nepal and China.
- In 2013, we launched a 6 month tailoring program to teach the skill of tailoring to 56 girls who have been rescued from slavery or who are at high-risk of being trafficked. Our goal is to provide each graduate with her own sewing machine to ensure her sustainability.
- In 2013, we helped to rescue and meet the needs of 123 girls.
Free for Life International is a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization