A semester at IC’s London Center and a backpacking trip around the globe ignited Evan Robbins’s passion for people, place, and planet—a passion he imparts to students in his New Jersey classroom every day as a social studies teacher. 

Deeply affected by an article about a six-year-old boy who was enslaved in Ghana’s fishing industry, Evan created Breaking the Chain Through Education (BTCTE) in collaboration with his students in 2006. The club’s members partnered with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and dedicated themselves to raising funds in support of Ghanaian organizations that rescue and rehabilitate trafficked children.

The children being rescued needed a place to learn and thrive, so Evan and his IOM colleagues conceived a strategy to build a school for 240 children in exchange for the release of a Ghanaian village’s 19 trafficked children. The school was completed in 2012, and those children have since been rehabilitated. 

Today, the mission of BTCTE—now a 501(c)(3) nonprofit—is to provide long-term care to survivors of trafficking rather than focusing on rescuing more children. In addition to Evan spending time with each child every summer to assess their needs, social workers visit the children regularly to monitor their continued progress toward academic or career goals and check on their mental and physical well-being.

“By empowering students with the education and tools they need to be successful, we hope they will mature into self-sufficient adults who will help combat child trafficking."