Evelyn Chumbow is a survivor of child labor trafficking turned anti-trafficking activist and public speaker who focuses her life’s work on ending modern-day slavery. Today, Chumbow works tirelessly to raise awareness in communities to create employment opportunities for trafficking survivors.
Chumbow was brought to the United States from Cameroon at age 9 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 was undermined by the constant beatings she received from her trafficker.
After years of captivity, she finally escaped and her trafficker was sentenced to 17 years in prison. Today, Chumbow works tirelessly to raise awareness and advocate for other survivors. She strongly believes in the need for professional development for survivors and dedicates her time volunteering at the grassroots level to guide communities on how to create employment opportunities for trafficking survivors.
Chumbow has been invited to brief several government agencies about human trafficking from a survivor’s perspective, including the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, the State Department, and the Department of Justice. She was appointed by President Obama to serve on the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking. She was an invited speaker at the 2019 Paris Peace Forum and the 2014 Thomson Reuters Foundation Trust Women Conference. In 2016, she traveled to Cameroon to brief the Freedom for All conference on best practices for supporting trafficking survivors returning home from the Middle East, with an emphasis on creating opportunities for gainful employment.
Chumbow has spoken out against systemic racism for many years. In 2021, she worked with a coalition of survivor leaders to conduct a survey on racism in the anti-trafficking movement within the survivor community. Following the survey results, Chumbow co-authored the op-ed, “Racism and the Anti-Trafficking Movement: Survey Results and Personal Reflections.”
Among her many honors, Chumbow is recipient of the 2021 Abolitionist Award from the Nomi Network, the 2018 African Heroine Award from the Ohio University African Student Union, and the 2015 Peace Seeking Award from the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship. In 2021, Chumbow was selected to be included in the launch of Voices of Freedom, an initiative created by StoryCorps and the Administration for Children and Families, in honor of World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.
Chumbow serves as an advisor to human trafficking NGOs. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Human Trafficking Legal Center and Free the Slaves. Since 2015, she has worked at the law firm of Baker & McKenzie LLP in Washington, DC, where she has the opportunity to support human trafficking and human rights related pro bono initiatives. Chumbow hopes to leverage her unique position as a former child slave to end human trafficking in West Africa, in her hometown, and in the rest of the world.