Evelyn Chumbow is a survivor of child labor trafficking turned anti-trafficking activist and public speaker who has focused her life’s work on ending modern day slavery, a crime impacting some 35M victims globally.
Ms. Chumbow was brought to the U.S. from Cameroon at the age of nine and forced to cook, clean, and care for her trafficker’s children. She was never paid for her work, and any hope that she might escape her miserable life was undermined by the constant beatings she received from her trafficker.
For seven years, she lived in constant fear, working day and night. She was prevented from contacting her family, attending school and enjoying things that many children take for granted – she never rode the school bus, went to prom, hung out with friends after school, or joined a dance team. Instead, she was a modern-day slave – not in some far-flung country, but right here in the U.S.
After years of captivity, she finally escaped and her trafficker was sentenced to 17 years in prison. Today, Ms. Chumbow works tirelessly to raise awareness and help other survivors. She serves as an advisor to human trafficking NGOs, and has been invited to brief government agencies about human trafficking from a survivor’s perspective, including the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and the Department of Justice. She is invited regularly to speak around the world about her experience, including at the White House. She also serves as an advocate and mentor for fellow survivors.
In December 2015, fulfilling a life-long dream, Ms. Chumbow graduated with a B.S. in Homeland Security studies from the University of Maryland University College. She was appointed by the President of the United States to serve as United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking to his administration. Since January 2015, she has worked at the law firm of Baker & McKenzie LLP in Washington, D.C., where she has the opportunity to support human trafficking and human rights related pro bono initiatives.
Ms. Chumbow has been featured in New York’s New Abolitionists, a book of portraits of women and men committed to ending human trafficking in New York and globally. Ms. Chumbow was one of the coaches for the Partnership for Freedom’s first innovation challenge, Reimagine: Opportunity – a competition to improve the infrastructure of support for survivors of modern slavery; U.S. government agencies and private donors co-sponsored by Humanity United. Ms. Chumbow hopes to leverage her unique position as a former child slave to end human trafficking in West Africa, in her hometown, and the rest of the world.