After graduation the friends moved to Washington DC and, even though they were without a clear plan for the organization, their early work involved experimentation, innovation and trying out new ideas and strategies. The initial core efforts focused on figuring out new ways to find trafficking victims, and to learn about trafficking networks through field research, to build relationships with law enforcement, to link victims with services through referrals, and to get more community members to care about the issue and take action. Over time the organization grew and developed into new areas and its leadership came to understand the importance of combating the issue using a comprehensive approach that combined a set of inter-related strategies. These strategies evolved over time but grew to include victim outreach and identification, victim services and protection, policy advocacy, training and technical assistance, developing future leaders, and building a movement through community mobilization. The Polaris Project celebrated its five-year anniversary in February 2007 as an organization that has become widely recognized name in the anti-trafficking movement and has grown to a professional staff of over 30, with five local offices in the United States and Japan.
The Polaris Project is committed to combating human trafficking and modern-day slavery, and to strengthening the anti-trafficking movement through a comprehensive approach. The work of the Polaris Project is grounded in a set of values and organizational beliefs that provide a common starting point for all programmatic activities. All staff and volunteers strive to embody and model these values within the Polaris community and in the anti trafficking field. There values are service, efficiency and impact, strength based empowerment, diversity and multiculturalism, non-violence, innovation and sophistication, and communication.
So far the Polaris project has a long list of achievements. One of their largest achievements is that they are the largest anti-trafficking organizations in the U.S. and Japan. The Polaris project operates internationally, nationally, and on local levels, they have offices in Washington DC, Newark NJ, Denver CO, and Tokyo Japan. This organization is one of the few that are working on all forms of trafficking and serving both citizen and foreign national victims of human trafficking. Since its founding the Polaris Project has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors for its achievements including; Ashoka Innovators for the Public, Marie Claire’s 10 Best Charities, the 2006 Justice for Victims of Crime Award given by the Department of Justice, the DO Something BRICK award, the Washington Area Women’s Foundation Leadership Award 2004, and the honors for Lifetime Television, Body Shop and CNN.