I hope all is well for you and your family.
My name is Andrew Hanson, the founder and Chairman of MATTOO. MATTOO’s journey started when I first heard of sex trafficking working in a Mexican orphanage at the age of 19 in the summer of 1998. When I arrived back at college in Chicago, I contacted numerous anti-trafficking nonprofits to explore how I could assist in their cause. Each nonprofit, however, required one of two criteria to be met and asked: “Are you a female?” or “Are you a lawyer?” Both of which I was not. Believing I had no place in this movement, I focused my volunteer efforts instead on the ubiquitous needs surrounding me; assisting the homeless and low-income families in the Cabrini Green ghetto in Chicago, IL and later in downtown Minneapolis, MN.
In 2005, I moved to Washington, DC for business and again pursued avenues in which to participate in the anti-trafficking movement. My experience in DC was, unfortunately, similar to that in Chicago – a movement predominantly made up of women with the exception of a few male lawyers.
Eventually, as I was studying for an MPP degree in my home state of Minnesota, I read of the atrocities of the child sex-slave markets in India and became infuriated and again, for the third time, contacted anti-trafficking nonprofits in the area I was living in 2009. One nonprofit responded positively mentioning it needed public policy expertise.
As I began to get quickly involved in this movement, my previous experiences were affirmed. The absence of men in this movement was astounding, and when I was told that no organization existed to involve men – well, I was not surprised. No longer seeing human trafficking solely through books but by meeting prostituted and trafficked victims escalated my commitment to help eradicate modern day slavery. So, instead of waiting for an organization to exist, I decided to create MATTOO.
Since then, an amazingly brilliant and dedicated team has been assembled; personal sacrifices have been made; and pioneering initiatives are being implemented. As such, I kindly ask you to share MATTOO’s message and to consider any financial support you could invest in our efforts to help us end modern-day slavery in our lifetime.
Until that day and with best wishes,
Andrew D. Hanson