Eyes Open International

Eyes Open International, a new non-profit (that means donations are tax deductible) based in Cincinnati, OH, aims to prevent human trafficking by bringing education directly to the most vulnerable populations. In countries around the globe, vulnerable members of the population are often lured into human trafficking with promises of a better life, education, and ultimately the American Dream. This is exactly what happened to Harold and Dancy D’Souza, EOI co-founders and survivors of labor trafficking.

In 2003, the D’Souzas, along with their two young children, came to America, visas in hand, with the promise of a $75K/year job offer. Shortly after they arrived, their “employer” said he would keep the family’s identifying papers safe and manage their money. Forced to rely on their trafficker as their only source of information, the couple worked 15-hour days. When they realized that they had been deceived, the couple confronted their “employer” and were told to keep working, keep quiet, or get deported. 

For a year and a half, their lives were a living hell, with little and sometimes no food for themselves or their two sons. Every minute seemed to last forever, never knowing when and how they would find an end. In 2007, the D’Souzas met fellow co-founder, Social worker and longtime anti-human trafficking advocate Jessica Donohue-Dioh. Jessica was the first person who finally pieced together what had been going on. Many people Harold turned to were kind and offered advice, but Jessica’s expertise recognition of human trafficking opened the door to the support they needed, future healing, and recovery. It was then they began to find safety, safety in a future where there was light at the end of the tunnel instead of the dead ends, tricks and deceit they had found before.  One hundred thirty-three months. That’s how long it took from the day they arrived in the U.S. until the day they finally felt safe and secure in a future like the one they had been promised over a decade earlier.

EOI teaches the people like the D’Souzas their rights, how to spot red flags, and where they can seek help. By bringing education to the international communities that are targeted for human trafficking, EOI takes a proactive, preventative approach to the fight against human trafficking. 

To start with, EOI will bring its educational programs to at-risk populations in India (where the D’Souzas have connections) and Cameroon (where Jessica has connections). We have targeted specific cities and regions where the ministries of education are open to our workshops and programming. Workshops will likely focus on no more than 50 youth at a time so that we can ensure the information is easily digestible.

EOI’s mission is to promote a more just global community through education and awareness. EOI educates individuals and communities to be more knowledgeable and aware of their future endeavors with the desired outcome of preventing human trafficking. We at EOI believe prevention is fundamental to eliminating human trafficking.

As a new non-profit, we are seeking out funding from all corners—through foundations, grants, and concerned global citizens like you. With your contribution, we hope to raise $50,000, which would enable Harold, Dancy and Jessica to begin implementation of EOI’s educational plan to stop human trafficking before it starts.

Harold and Dancy were promised a future for their boys, a hearty salary, and the American Dream. In Harold’s words, they instead lived in hell, not knowing where their next meal would come from, if they could feed their children, or where to turn for help. Seconds felt like minutes, minutes felt like hours…. Harold and Dancy still have difficulty coming to terms with how they ended up in this situation. Now, 13 years later, we have come together at EOI to try and ensure this won’t happen to someone else again. With your help, we can save at least one more family from suffering a similar fate.

Organizer

Harold Jessica and Dancy
Organizer
Cincinnati, OH

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