The Resiliency of Survivors

“When I joined Nguvu company, I was hopeless. Through trauma healing, my hope is rebuilt … I used to think that I was alone but through trauma healing sessions, I was taught that nobody is alone in the world. I started gaining courage and associating myself with people. Now I have very many friends that I cannot count them one by one.”

Bonny Ojok, a team member employed at Nguvu Dairy in northern Uganda.

An overwhelming, traumatic event that is ongoing or experienced at the hands of another person who is meant to be a caregiver is generally considered a complex trauma. Such traumas as childhood abuse and neglect, abandonment, violent relationships, human trafficking or being kidnapped can leave a person feeling isolated. Men, women and children who have experienced complex traumas often view the world and other people as unsafe and not to be trusted. This lack of trust and a need to be constantly on guard for danger can make it difficult for survivors of trauma to ask for help or form constructive relationships. Some find it difficult to hold down a job.

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The Dignity of Work

Work is a vital part of maintaining and developing our common humanity. We work out of regard for others – not only to benefit our families, but also to benefit the society, the country, and the whole human family to which we belong. We are beneficiaries of the work of generations before us, and through our labors, we also share in building the future of those who will come after us.[1] 

There is also inherent dignity in work. Through work, we not only transform our environs and adapt it to meet our needs; we also obtain a sense of fulfillment as a human being. Work “is not only good in the sense that it is useful or something to enjoy; it is also good as being something worthy, that is to say, something that corresponds to man’s dignity, that expresses this dignity and increases it.”[2] Conversely, without work, we feel adrift, question our abilities and sense of worth, and fear for our future. Men or women have no means of providing for themselves or their families.

One of the world’s greatest crises and challenges today is that almost half the world’s young people are unemployed. Nearly 1 in 3 young people world-wide are not in education, employment or training.[3]

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Support That Provides Stability – Improving Lives One Day at a Time

The Market Project’s innovative business model is responsive to the complex needs of survivors of trauma, trafficking and exploitation. In response to our 2021 employee surveys, The Market Project has committed $75k in 2022 to ensuring that Nguvu Dairy employees have access to nutritious lunches, medical care, and community building activities that help provide additional stability in their lives.

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But For My Job….

Human trafficking. Modern-day slavery. Exploitation. Forcing, trapping, or coercing a woman, child or man into labor, servitude, or commercial sex. Human trafficking is “an abhorrent abuse of power and a profoundly immoral crime that strikes at the safety, health and dignity of millions of people worldwide.”[1] Combatting this scourge involves not only shutting down criminal networkers and prosecuting trafficking crimes, but also addressing the economic and social factors which make people vulnerable to being trafficked.

There are no standard tools for measuring who is at-risk of being trafficked, but The Market Project, working in partnership with Eido Research, a UK-based impact research firm, has developed a framework for measuring vulnerability to trafficking in the northern Ugandan context. 

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A Beacon of Hope in Troubled Times

The Market Project is pleased to share our 2020 Annual Report. While facing significant challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, The Market Project in 2020 was able to stand as a beacon of hope in troubled times. At a time when many feared for their survival, we:

Grew the number of The Market Project’s Nguvu Dairy employees in 2020 to 100, who supported 500 family members. Over 3,000 community members in northern Uganda enjoyed nutritious yogurt. Nguvu Dairy now has more than 155 workers.

Doubled production capacity at Nguvu when foods in the market were scarce.

-Partnered with a new enterprise, Takataka Plastics, which began producing plastic face shields for health care workers fighting Covid-19 on the front lines.

Trained managers in trauma-informed workplace practices and conducted healing groups at all sites to address employees’ wounds from past trauma.

As we celebrate these successes, we are especially grateful for our donors and supporters who have helped enrich the lives of thousands of vulnerable individuals.

Now in mid-2021, Covid-19 is again raging in Uganda, and our staff are once more rising to meet the challenges of providing an essential service during a severe lockdown. As we look to the future and aim to touch even more lives through safe, dignity-affirming work in a healing environment, we value your continued partnership.

New Covid Wave Surges in Uganda

Covid-19 cases are surging again in Uganda. The country is in a severe lockdown to restrict the spread of disease. Uganda’s president has deployed the military and shut down all vehicular movement except for essential workers. And less than 2% of the country is vaccinated.

The latest lockdown is a severe blow to The Market Project’s Nguvu Dairy, including the 153 workers and the lives of thousands of community members in northern Uganda who rely on the nutritious, locally-produced yogurt.

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Sharon Cohn Wu Joins Board of The Market Project

The Market Project is pleased to announce the appointment of Sharon Cohn Wu to its Board of Directors. 

Sharon is a globally recognized expert in the systemic causes of trafficking in persons and violence against the defenseless. She is passionate about promoting and using the strength of survivors. She brings an incredible depth of knowledge to The Market Project’s mission of creating thriving businesses that offer stable jobs in a healing environment for survivors of trafficking, trauma, and exploitation.

“Sharon is distinguished by her leadership, passion, and dedication to caring for the world’s most vulnerable.  We are thrilled to have her join us as we fill the gap in responses to trafficking prevention by creating market-based jobs that help break cycles of violence through trauma healing programs in the workplace,” said Dorothy Taft, Executive Director of The Market Project.

“It is a great privilege to support The Market Project,” Cohn Wu stated. “Safe, sustainable employment for individuals healing from violence and trauma is absolutely essential, and The Market Project is demonstrating it can be done well.”

Sharon has partnered with governments and led international teams for the last 20 years to strengthen responses to end violence, measure their effectiveness and promote human flourishing. She currently serves as Principal Advisor on Violence Against Women and Children for International Justice Mission (IJM), leading IJM’s center of excellence in addressing sexual violence against children and intimate partner violence and developing globally applicable best practices. Prior to joining IJM, she clerked for Hon. Richard L. Williams and was a corporate litigator for Arnold & Porter.  

Sharon will be a tremendous asset to the Board of Directors as The Market Project continues to help men and women find hope and flourish through safe, dignity-affirming and healing work.



Washington, DC (March 31, 2021) – Through a competitive funding process, The Market Project, a global anti-human trafficking nonprofit headquartered in Portland, Oregon and Washington, DC, has been awarded $51,996 by the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery (GFEMS) under a Cooperative Agreement with the United States Department of State. In partnership with Willow International, the award will provide trafficking victims and at-risk individuals with opportunities for stable employment and trauma healing in northern Uganda.

“Over 60% of our current workforce at Nguvu Dairy reports experiences of complex trauma. The need to provide survivors of trauma and exploitation with dignity, life-affirming work in northern Uganda is great,” said Dorothy Taft, The Market Project’s Executive Director. “With these additional resources, The Market Project and Nguvu Dairy will be able to offer more opportunities for employment and trauma healing for survivors of exploitation.”

With the funding from GFEMS, over the life of the 21-month project The Market Project will build two new distribution sites and employ at least 30 Ugandans in a trauma-informed work environment. In 2016, The Market Project launched Nguvu Dairy, a for-profit business registered in Uganda, to provide sustainable, market-based, entry-level jobs for youth (though not age-restricted) to sell affordable and nutritious dairy products in northern Ugandan communities. Nguvu’s mission is to deliver quality, fresh products made with local milk, provide products with better nutrition and create dignity-affirming jobs.

Central to the business plan is providing a trauma-informed work environment that utilizes a strengths-based approach to trauma healing for all employees. Offering market-based, stable jobs in supportive work environments for men and women in northern Uganda will bring enduring stability to communities as opportunities are offered to trauma survivors and those who might otherwise be vulnerable to trafficking and exploitation.

“Increasing the reach of rehabilitation and reintegration programs for survivors of labor trafficking and at-risk populations is a key priority area for us. In partnership with Willow and The Market Project, we will support implementing best-in-class standards of trauma-informed care and survivor-led approaches to reintegrating survivors of overseas forced labor in Uganda,” said GFEMS Director of Grant Programs, Rebecca Buchanan, PhD.


The Market Project (TMP) helps men and women find hope and flourish through safe, dignity-affirming, healing work. The Market Project utilizes a market-driven approach to create profitable businesses that offer stable jobs and support healing for survivors of trauma, exploitation, and trafficking. For more Information about The Market Project, visit


Willow International’s mission is to eradicate human trafficking and restore the lives of survivors. Willow’s aftercare model specifically addresses the barriers of Ugandan forced labor workers returning home to successfully reintegrate into their communities. Its programs were developed in Uganda, specifically in response to the needs of victims of overseas migrant labor trafficking. Willow has proven results, strong government relationships, and a network of expert partners. For more Information about Willow, visit


The Global Fund to End Modern Slavery is a bold international fund catalyzing a coherent global strategy to end human trafficking by making it economically unprofitable. With leadership from government and the private sector around the world, the Fund is escalating resources, designing public-private partnerships, funding new tools and methods for sustainable solutions, and evaluating effectiveness to better equip our partners to scale and replicate solutions in new geographies. For more information about GFEMS, visit


The Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP Office) leads the Department’s global efforts to combat modern slavery through the prosecution of traffickers, the protection of victims, and the prevention of human trafficking by: objectively analyzing government efforts and identifying global trends, engaging in and supporting strategic bilateral and multilateral diplomacy, targeting foreign assistance to build sustainable capacity of governments and civil society, advancing the coordination of federal anti-trafficking policies across agencies, managing and leveraging operational resources to achieve strategic priorities, and engaging and partnering with civil society, the private sector, and the public to advance the fight against human trafficking.

This press release was made possible through support provided by the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery under a Cooperative Agreement with the United States Department of State. The opinions, findings, and conclusions stated herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Department of State.

Leading by Example

Guiding Businesses to Become Trauma-Informed

A new report by The Global Business Coalition Against Human Trafficking (GBCAT) highlights the work of The Market Project in creating “trauma-informed” businesses for survivors of human trafficking.  GBCAT is a business-led initiative committed to preventing and reducing the incidence of human trafficking and other forms of slavery in their operations and global supply chains, as well as supporting survivors of exploitation. The guide, Empowerment and Employment of Survivors of Human Trafficking: A Business Guide, was written by the non-profit BSR and made possible by GBCAT.

To be “trauma-informed” means to acknowledge the trauma an individual has experienced and to connect that lived history with their symptoms and behaviors.[1] The Market Project uses that awareness to improve the workplace environment for the benefit of both the employees and the business.

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