Anti-slavery charities plan merger for 'bigger impact'

11 Jan 2018 News

Anti-slavery charity Hope for Justice has taken over Retrak, an organisation which provides services for street children.

Retrak’s head office has closed, with most staff transferred to Hope for Justice’s headquarters, both in Manchester.

A spokesperson for Hope for Justice said there were four redundancies at Retrak’s UK head office during the integration process.

For the time being, the two charities remain legally separate organisations, but the trustees and directors are beginning a long-term transition programme aimed at achieving a full merger under the Hope for Justice name.

The charities say that their missions are complementary because street children are often at risk of trafficking. 

Globally, the joint organisation will have nearly 300 staff, including around 50 people based in Uganda and more than 120 in Ethiopia. The charity will be active on four continents: Europe, Africa, North America and Asia.

'Bigger impact' 

The charity said it expects its increased size will enable it to make a bigger impact “when campaigning and advocating for change at the national and international level”, while reducing management and support costs.

Hope for Justice chief executive and co-founder, Ben Cooley, is now also chief executive of Retrak and will lead the fully-merged organisation.

His role will be to engage directly with governments, agencies and relevant organisations to improve the national and global response to trafficking.

Cooley said: “We are thrilled and excited to welcome Retrak into the Hope for Justice family. This gives us an opportunity to serve more people in a sustainable and replicable way, and to bring on board immense amounts of frontline experience, insight and knowledge.

“This integration gives us the ability to help more adults and more children who have been walking through some of the darkest days – to give them hope and to give them justice. There will be challenges to overcome and hurdles to clear, but we will go forward in strength and unity, because freedom is worth the fight.”

Retrak’s previous chief executive, Sir Peter Fahy, has become director of structural reform at Hope for Justice and will sit on the joint organisation’s board.

Fahy said the merger “brings together Retrak’s great strength in preventative work with Hope for Justice’s strengths in rescuing victims and structural reform”.

He said: “Both charities have strengths in working with law enforcement agencies and state bodies, but at the heart of both organisations is the belief in reintegration through a process of support and restoration.”

According to the charities’ latest accounts, Retrak has an income of £2.1m and Hope for Justice has an income of £1.8m. 

 

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