Alternativa strives to help those who are forced into involuntary labour, sexual slavery or begging rings. Their mission is to liberate those who are enslaved and help them recover their human dignity by providing victims with the resources to start a new and free life. Support involves rescue operations, providing psychological, legal and employment services, as well as cooperation with various multilateral organizations to address ongoing exploitation of vulnerable people. Alternativa relies on a small team of permanent staff members alongside a network of hundreds of volunteers. It is funded through the founder’s private business as well as through individual donations. In 2020, they developed a cryptocurrency called HumanCoin, which supports the entire donation process with blockchain technology to provide transparency and auditability of charitably- supported activities. In 2021, Alternativa issued 46 million HumanCoin tokens, equalling the number of enslaved people in the world. Their intention is to burn one token each time an individual is freed, thus increasing the value of the token as they progress toward their goal.
Theory of Change
Rescue and support, awareness-raising, and advocacy for anti-slavery policies and legislation help to detect and prevent exploitation as well as change public perceptions about the victims of human trafficking.
Alternativa primarily supports victims of modern slavery through direct engagement. The organization’s rescue process for victims of forced labor begins with a family member or friend of an enslaved individual reaching out to Alternativa to detail the situation and request their help. Volunteers then travel to the location where the individual is enslaved, demand their release – coordinating with local law enforcement when needed – and provide assistance throughout the process. Activists help survivors recover missing documents and safely return home or find refuge elsewhere. Alternativa also develops media content to raise public awareness on how to detect, address, and prevent exploitative practices, and it collaborates with other NGOs and media outlets to enhance distribution of the content. They also regularly participate in international anti-trafficking events and advocate for policies that combat modern slavery.
In a highly-publicized case that gave Alternativa notoriety, volunteers traveled to Dagestan and successfully rescued an individual who had fallen into forced labor at a brick plant. The rescue mission brought awareness to the issue of forced labor in the region, and the subsequent backlash led to the Dagestani government creating stricter labor laws. Since its founding, activists from Alternativa have managed to release more than 1,300 people from slavery as well as help over 2,000 survivors safely return home. Alternativa extended its anti-trafficking volunteers’ network to Zimbabwe, South Sudan, Israel, and Mongolia, and it intends to expand its network to European capitals as well.