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Forced is an investigative journalistic endeavor seeking to draw attention to the global atrocity of sex trafficking and tourism.
Melisa Goss
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
United States
1 Team Member

Hey! Look down here! I'm a writer, so I'm going to be much more articulate here with the written word than with the video above. I'll work on becoming more like Barabra Walters, I promise. For now, the written word is my cup o' tea.

I'm starting this indiegogo campaign because a good chunk of my funding fell through. So now I have to ask for your help. 

Human trafficking is a global issue that renders its victims voiceless and imprisons them, both literally and figuratively. Through a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, I am heading to Cambodia to give the victims a face and a voice. 

Human trafficking is nothing short of modern day slavery. Every day, women, girls, boy, and men are forced into the sex trade, often kept locked in small, damp cells. While they often are smiling, this is generally a façade in attempts to entice passers-by. Most likely, if a certain number of customers are not obtained throughout the night, the individual will often be beaten or tortured. Freedom is a dream and escape attempts are often met with death. 

How can this be? How can, in this modern, enlightened age, such stark slavery possibly still exist? Something must be done. 

I think of Isaiah, crying out to the Lord for the brokenness of his people. “Here I am, Lord. Send me!” he cried. 

I cannot stand idly by, knowing my sisters and brothers are subject to such atrocities. And so I say, “Here I am, send me.”

And now, I’m being sent.

But, I need your help.

My fellowship from the Pulitzer Center is an amazing opportunity, but it scarcely covers the cost of airfare. Thus, I’m here, asking you to give what you can so that I may live in Cambodia for two months, getting to know the stories of the victims and those who work to rescue and heal them.

Funds will go to cover my living expenses such as housing, food, and transportation.

Throughout the summer, I will spend time volunteering with World Hope International in Phnom Penh, along with a few other NGOs. I will complete at least 15 stories and/or articles illustrating and promoting WHI’s anti-trafficking work and community development in Cambodia. I will also conduct two writing workshops for World Hope staff members. 

For the Pulitzer Center, I will produce three pieces of print journalism as well as a photographic slide show. 

Research will also go toward a book about the issue to be written over the next few months. Because of the danger, the sensitivity, and the flat-out bribery, sex slavery and sex tourism is an issue that is all too often under reported. But we can work together to change that. We can work together to put an end to modern day slavery.

I have written extensively about human trafficking, including a piece for The Christian Century, for which I interview Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times. You can read it by clicking on the Gallery tab.

I’m asking you to join with me. Be an abolitionist.


Find out more about the United States involvement to erradicate human trafficking here. (The Trafficking in Persons Report)


Please email me with any questions: melisa.goss@gmail.com

Find This Campaign On
raised in 25 days
117% funded
No time left
$1,500 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on June 10, 2013
Select a Perk
  • $10USD

    Your name in a list of thanks on the project. Weekly email updates.

    3 claimed
    Estimated delivery: September 2013
  • $25USD
    Love from Cambodia

    Your name in the list of thanks. Weekly email updates. A postcard from Cambodia.

    3 claimed
    Estimated delivery: September 2013
  • $50USD
    Photographic Evidence

    All of the above, plus a 5x7 photo taken by me in Cambodia.

    4 claimed
  • $100USD
    Words and Pictures

    Your name in the list of thanks, a postcard from Cambodia, an 8x10 photo taken by me in Cambodia, and a PDF of all articles.

    8 claimed
    Estimated delivery: September 2013
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