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During their senior year at Brown University, Katherine Chon and Derek Ellerman were shocked to read a newspaper article describing the horrific conditions of a brothel located near their college apartment. This eye opening case made it clear to Chon and Ellerman that they could not walk away and that they would devote themselves to preventing such abuses from happening to more people. Inspired by the example of the Underground Railroad, they developed a vision for an organization where everyday people could come together to do extraordinary things to overcome modern slavery.
They officially founded the Polaris Project on February 14, 2002, a day dedicated to generating attention to stop violence against women and girls. Overtime, Chon and Ellerman built an organization that successfully combines its work on the frontlines serving victims of human trafficking with the creation of long-term solutions that result in social change. Now, Polaris is one of the largest anti-trafficking organizations in the United States and Japan, with programs operating at international, national and local levels through their offices in Washington, DC; Newark, NJ; and Tokyo, Japan.
Polaris is committed to combating human trafficking and modern-day slavery and to strengthening the anti-trafficking movement.