Who’s the New Funder on the Anti-Human Trafficking Scene?

human trafficking is a major problem in Asia's Fishing industry. photo: Daniel J. Rao/shutterstock

human trafficking is a major problem in Asia's Fishing industry. photo: Daniel J. Rao/shutterstock

N2 Publishing—ever heard of it? I hadn’t either, until its philanthropic arm, N2GIVES, announced that it was giving $2.5 million to 35 nonprofits around the world taking direct aim at ending human trafficking.

More on those grants in a moment. First, let’s take a look at the company behind the donation.

Based in Wilmington, North Carolina, N2 Publishing was founded in 2004, and according to its LinkedIn page, it is reportedly one of the fastest growing media companies in the United States. Founded by Duane Hixon and Earl Seals, the two “wanted to build a successful business without compromising time with our families,” said Hixon, and the co-founders wanted the same for N2 employees. Through its print publications, N2 “focuses on turning neighborhoods into communities” by creating “customized, high-quality publications for members of exclusive communities so that, through resident-submitted stores and photos shared within, they can learn about their neighbors.” So basically, N2 produces exclusive print publications where affluent people can learn about the doings of other affluent people—and where advertisers can reach a coveted demographic. 

That doesn't sound the noblest line of work, but the company has won a bunch of awards for being a great place to work, and has been lauded for putting its employees' needs ahead of the bottom line. And it's been far more active philanthropically than many private companies its size, with a focus on human trafficking.

    N2 Publishing’s philanthropic arm, N2GIVES, has donated nearly $5 million to “support freedom fighters who rescue and restore the lives of victims” of human trafficking. That makes it a pretty significant funder in a niche that's drawing new attention, but can still scare off other funders.  

    The terms "human trafficking" and "modern slavery" are used interchangeably. Both refer to the estimated 20-45 million people around the world who are enslaved for forced labor, sex trafficking, domestic servitude, bonded labor, child labor and forced marriage. It’s estimated that there are twice as many slaves today as there were during the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

    N2GIVES joins a cadre of other funders like Google.org, Humanity United, and the NoVo Foundation that make grants to combat modern-day slavery and human trafficking.

    So where is N2's funding going?

    Funding from N2GIVES is currently supporting anti-trafficking groups in more than 20 countries around the world. Grantees include grassroots organizations such as Asia’s Hope, which provides “family style” care for children at risk of becoming victims of economic and sexual exploitation in Cambodia and Thailand, and Exodus Road, a nonprofit that works with local law enforcement to rescue victims of human trafficking and arrest human traffickers in India, Southeast Asia, the United States and Latin America.

    N2GIVES also supports larger anti-trafficking organizations such as International Justice Mission and Love Justice International. To learn more about N2 GIVES partners, check out its How We Help page.

    N2 CEO Duane Hixon learned about modern day human trafficking six or seven years ago (watch his video) and has become galvanized to use some of his publishing earnings to bring people to freedom. It's the kind of story that we hear about a lot at IP, in which a wealthy person realizes that they have the resources to address a problem that infuriates them and swings into action as a donor. 

    In announcing this latest gift, Hixon said, “Everyone can play a part, and our role now is clear—we are going to send as many as possible into those areas where human trafficking is ignored.” That’s a big gap to fill, but the list of funders mobilizing against human trafficking and modern day slavery is growing, and N2GIVES is certainly in good company.