STOP is an international humanitarian organization dedicated to fighting the traffic of human beings for use as involuntary sex workers. We do this in three ways:
1) We promote education programs to raise awareness, and to help prevent victims from falling prey to traffickers in their countries of origin.
2) We gather information on trafficking routes and locations, and use it to encourage local and national authorities to intervene to rescue victims and detain traffickers.
3) We assist the victims of trafficking from the moment of their rescue by providing comprehensive psychological and social support services, and by helping them to reintegrate into society in their native countries.
STOP is registered as a charity in the United States, in France and in the United Kingdom. All donations to STOP are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.
Dozens of current police officers from countries as diverse as the UK, China, Ukraine, Ireland, Jordan, Russia and the United States, who have had a real experience combating human trafficking, have told STOP that they stand ready to take a leave of absence to work with STOP for two years or more. They have seen the damage to victims first-hand and have been inspired to dedicate themselves full-time to combating trafficking, and to helping victims after their rescue.
STOP is led by its founder, Celhia de Lavarene. In 2001, the head of the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Bosnia, Jacques Paul Klein, hired her to fight the sex slave trade, which was then, as it still is now, rife in the Balkan region. She created the Special Trafficking Operations Program and built a unit of 200 local and international police officers, which she led for nearly two years, until the UN mission ended. It was the first-ever such operation by the UN. It identified some 3000 victims, most of them from Eastern Europe, and was able to rescue about 300 of them. The programme also shut down hundred of bars and clubs used in the trade and gave the victims counseling. The results were heartening though clearly inadequate, but then STOP was the only organisation engaged in such work and many victims were too terrified to talk.
In March 2004, Ambassador Klein hired Celhia, this time in Liberia where he was running the new peacekeeping mission. Once again, she was brought in to fight human trafficking. She found young girls from across Easten Europe, Asia and North Africa. Their passports have been confiscated. They had been locked in rooms, drugged, beaten and forced into sex. The youngest was a 14 year old girl from Sierra Leone. She had been kidnapped and sold for prostitution. Additionally, Celhia and her team of police officers, found shelters for victims, and arranged for their repatriation.
Celhia’s book about her experiences fighting trafficking, Un Visa Pour L’enfer (‘A Visa to Hell’) was published in France in October 2006 by Fayard, and in April 2008 in Brazil. It should be published in the US soon.