Utah-based Operation Underground Railroad, an anti-human trafficking organization, has become an officially recognized charity in Mexico. By declaring itself as a charity, the organization will be able to host fundraisers to raise money and awareness for child exploitation operations in the country.
Matt Osborne, O.U.R.’s senior vice president for rescue and rehabilitation, said he is looking forward to partnering with the Mexican Government to further rescue and rehabilitate trafficked and victimized children.
“A lot is said in the press about Mexico,” Osborne said, “The problems they have with organized crime, drug trafficking, but we’ve seen a real dedication, commitment to fight child exploitation. We see men and women and the federal police in the attorney general’s office, in the Mexican Congress, in administrative interior, willing to work with us.”
Since opening its operations in Mexico in 2015, O.U.R. has rescued 42 victims and has assisted in the arrest of 17 traffickers throughout the country.
Osborne said these efforts to help trafficked children would not be made possible without the help and support of Utahns due to their willingness to donate, spread awareness and to help in the investigations and operations.
“We’ve been very blessed to be supported here by Utah,” Osborne said. “We look forward to working to support all the dedicated men and women in US law enforcement and law enforcement around the world to fight this horrific crime.”
Osborne said human trafficking is not just an issue in Mexico, but a problem worldwide. He said people should be careful wherever they are.
“Be careful online. Be careful walking the streets,” Osborne said. “Not again to be scared, but just always be aware and if you see something, say something. And if you see something looks suspicious, say something to authorities. The worst would be is that it’s nothing and you have just told them something didn't need to be. The worst would be if you didn’t say anything and it truly was a serious issue.”