The Catalyst for the work we do at the Family Preservation Alliance Uganda:

It’s a disturbing reality of poverty that some grow rich through exploitation of the poorest members within their own society. Although the economically and socially disadvantaged have little in the way of possessions, their labor, bodies, and children remain sought-after commodities that feed the human trafficking trade. Factors including lack of local employment, inadequate access to education, political instability and armed conflict heavily influence a communities’ ability to protect its most vulnerable citizens from all forms of human trafficking.

Traffickers are not easily identifiable; they insert themselves into communities by gaining the trust of local leadership and families struggling to meet their children’s most basic needs – food, shelter, clean water and education. These predators promise educational sponsorship at boarding school, employment opportunities, and assure community members that their loved ones will be well cared for. The false promise of an escape from crippling poverty is often enough for families to relinquish their children into the hands of virtual strangers. Sadly, many of these children are trafficked for the purposes of servitude, the sex trade, unethical international adoptions, or worse – human sacrifice.

FPA’s Director, Carrie West, witnessed these exploitive tactics first-hand on a 2009 trip to Uganda. What was promoted as a trip to assist vulnerable mothers living in a dangerous rock quarry turned out to be an opportunity for a corrupt adoption agency to poach the children of these women for international adoption. In exchange for their children, these mothers were promised “assistance”, that would be provided once the children were adopted internationally for profit. This experience, and countless other personal stories like it was the catalyst for the work FPA now does. In a 2015 interview with The Observer, West explains, “We believe that when basic human needs are met within struggling communities, families are better positioned to care for, protect and raise their children in a cooperative effort, to avoid footing[s] of human traffickers.Link to article

This idea has served as the foundation of FPA’s mission – empowerment through local educational and economic programs ensure families have the skillset to meet their basic needs and create sustainable, brighter futures for their children and their communities.

Nangonzi, Yudaya (2015, Feb. 16) Gobero: School Set to Change Lives in Wakiso District.” The Observer.