We educate about the existence of human trafficking, through research and community initiatives, anchored in the defense of children and youth rights.
The Ricky Martin Foundation was founded at a time when children around the world face bewildering situations that leave them vulnerable to human trafficking. Child labor, sexual and labor exploitation, prostitution, pornography, drug trafficking, and modern day slavery are some of the most heartbreaking manifestations of this crime, which foreshadows an epidemic crisis.
The right of just being a child is under constant threat of disappearing in many parts of the world. Social and economic forces beyond their control are jeopardizing their dignity. These are tragic losses. They represent a loss of possibilities. They represent a loss of innocence, joy and laughter. They represent a future foreclosed.
Once they are extricated from these terrible situations, to overcome their repercussions, children must develop resilience and self-esteem. They must develop the type of optimism that lies behind every success. Caring adults must play a vital role in this process. Ask any child who overcame adversity and you typically uncover a story of an adult or peer who inspired them, a mentor who convinced them that anything is possible with perseverance.
Doing this has become our mandate. We seek to heal and to nurture. We also seek to inspire and empower. We help those that have already been victimized and we also try to prevent further victimization.
We know that our fight to deter this heinous crime is one of the most challenging issues faced by society today: too dreary and overwhelming to be understood by many. Around the globe many authorities lack the capacity to fight the powerful forces that generate these crimes. Without a concerted effort, that musters the required resources, exploitation will continue to take our innocent.
"My dream right now is seeing the abolition of modern day slavery, and human trafficking." – Ricky Martin
RMF is a leading voice and has made great strides in advocating for children's rights around the world. Seeking solutions that address child exploitation systematically, it has developed a comprehensive array of initiatives that include advocacy, investigation, education and prevention.
Global Awareness enables us to inform the world of this heinous crime and mobilize people by participating in forums, workshops, media interventions and advocacy efforts. Working in partnership as well as by following a multi-sector alliance model involving civil society, inter-governmental organizations, and the private sector solidifies our mission. To be effective in our goal we advocate for the prevention and protection of this most vulnerable segment of the population against all forms of exploitation.
Educating the public, other organizations, and corporations on the national, regional and international scope of the problem of human trafficking through awareness campaigns, briefings and our website can deter this atrocity. As popular educators, we aim to serve as a catalyst for global awareness efforts on the grave issues regarding child exploitation.
The denial of child slavery and other crimes against children is a form of collective blindness. RMF is in the field to gather stories, make them public and muster support for practical solutions. With its investigative arm, the Foundation is seeking to shed light and draw attention to an injustice of epidemic proportions. Its ultimate objective is to mobilize public support for policies that prevent this modern scourge.
"Let's practice compassion and give love to these victims" Ricky Martin, University of Puerto Rico – School of Law. Presentation Human Trafficking in Puerto Rico: An Invisible Challenge. February 2010
We know what children are most at risk of being exploited. Based on this understanding, RMF has developed educational initiatives to address the root causes of this problem. The empowerment of children is absolutely essential to break this cycle of violence.
Beginning in Puerto Rico, RMF will operate centers to impact children holistically with a comprehensive educational service that addresses their academic, health, and emotional needs. The insights gained from this initiative will provide support to our investigative efforts and guide the design of innovative solutions that give at risk children the support and empowerment they need to take control of their lives.
The Child Development and Prevention Center at Loíza, Puerto Rico, Centro Tau, RMF's new flagship project, will serve as a safe haven for these at risk children. It will seek to transform their lives through evidence-based interventions. Alternative educational models will be used to foster a loving environment that addresses each child's very particular intellectual, social, and emotional needs.