About us

Free a Girl USA fights for a world without sexual exploitation of children.

Free a Girl USA creates a world without commercial exploitation of children. By offering victims immediate assistance and tackling impunity.

The founders of Free a Girl and Free a Girl USA are Evelien Hölsken, Arjan Erkel and Yolanthe Cabau. Evelien made her way as a businesswoman, and while on a trip to India, she began to see and witness the exploitation of children. She then chose to devote her future efforts to tackling the problem of sexual exploitation of children. Evelien is a social activist with an abundance of positive energy, ambition, patience, perseverance, strength, ambition and love. This energy also flows through the organization. The motto: “She is not a drop in the ocean, she is the entire ocean in a drop,” sums up her dedication, strength and positivity; and it is these qualities that give Free a Girl USAs associates the courage and strength to tackle this horrific problem and work together as one. The quote “It is not how much you do, but how much love you put into what you do that counts” comes close to capturing Evelien’s energy as a leader; she has put so much love, effort and positivity into ending these crimes against children. It is thanks to this love that Free a Girl has accomplished so much and rescued so many children. As well as being Free a Girl’s CEO and a loving mother, Evelien is Free a Girl USA.  

Evelien, Yolanthe and Arjan

Our other founder is Arjan Erkel: a very grateful and strong man with a powerful and inspiring story about survival, freedom and recovery. While working for a non-profit organization, Arjan was kidnapped by an Islamic rebel group in Dagestan, Russia, and held for almost two years. Trapped in a nightmare that he feared he’d never escape, he learned how to cope with these circumstances. After his liberation, he decided to fight for freedom for the voiceless. Together with Evelien and Yolanthe, Arjan helped create Free a Girl USA. Because of his ordeal, it became his mission to help people in their search for freedom and live in a world without fear. He campaigns for freedom in two ways. First, he fights to bring the perpetrators of child sexual exploitation to justice. And second, he encourages people to seek mental freedom and increase their freedom of choice. 

Free a Girl USA strives for a world free of child sexual exploitation and trafficking of children. We rescue children from brothels, hotels, night clubs, massage parlors and forced marriages, and has recently expanded into online investigations. More than 2 million children around the world are victims of sexual exploitation. Of these children, 95% are girls. Perpetrators earn $150 billion dollars in the US alone from human trafficking every year. Free a Girl was founded in the Netherlands in 2008 and opened its Free a Girl USA office in 2021. We have rescued more than 6000 children to date. Free a Girl USA currently works in India, Nepal, Laos, China, Brazil, Tanzania, Ukraine and the Netherlands.  We work together with local partner organizations. The wider problem of gender inequality and human trafficking is tackled with providing access to justice and targeted programs. In addition to funding and monitoring activities such as rescues, legal aid and aftercare, Free a Girl USA has also developed its own programs. 

MISSION

Free a Girl USA fights the sexual exploitation of children.

VISION

Every child has the right to grow up in a safe environment. All of the world’s children must be protected against every form of sexual exploitation.

CORE VALUES

  • Action-oriented. We take action to prevent and fight the sexual exploitation of minors. If necessary, we shake up established systems.
  • Results-oriented. Free a Girl is a professional organization with objectives that we strive to achieve. This is something we also expect from our partners.
  • Effective. We’ve proven ourselves since the organization was founded eleven years ago. There are now places where hardly any minor girls are abused any more, more people in local communities are aware of human trafficking practices, and 4,500 girls have been rescued from brothels in Asia. Thousands of girls can now look forward to the future again.
  • Transparent. We are open about how we work and our operational management. Figures, facts and activities are recorded each year in the annual report, which is also published on the website.
  • Distinctive. Free a Girl is a small organization with global ambitions. We can respond quickly, compared to other organizations, and we are not afraid to speak out.