Protecting Our Exchange Participants is Priority One


2 minutes

Acting as an advocate for our international exchange participants is a responsibility we take very seriously. Protecting their rights and ensuring their safety is our number one priority.

Post-exchange survey data clearly shows that our hard work is paying off. A recent study of the Summer Work Travel exchange program, for example, reports that more than 91% of participants were completely satisfied with their exchange experience. 98% of participants recommended the program to a friend. InterExchange’s own data says the same: 85% of our alumni rated their exchange experience as excellent, 91% recommended InterExchange to a friend, and 95% experienced personal growth.

As an Exchange Visitor Program sponsor, we are highly regulated and monitored by the Department of State, and are committed to providing our students with a safe and first rate cultural exchange experience.

A recent report from the Polaris Project reminds us of our vital responsibility to our participants: that their safety and security must remain our number one priority. Sixty-seven reported cases of potential trafficking over three years, out of more than one million exchange participants (0.006%), is 67 cases too many. One case is one case too many. We strive for a zero incident culture.

This data indicates, however, how effective the Department of State’s regulations are in preventing abuse, and how diligent exchange organizations like us are in protecting our international participants.

InterExchange is staffed by highly trained, culturally attuned individuals who themselves have lived, worked, or studied abroad. We require all of our staff who support our participants to complete the U.S. Department of State Human Trafficking Awareness Training: “TIP 101.” We’ve participated in a variety of anti-trafficking and participant safety workshops, coordinated by the Alliance for International Exchange and featuring presenters from the anti-trafficking advocacy community. And we are a proud supporter of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign and the global fight to end human trafficking.

InterExchange is fully committed to the complete and comprehensive protection of our international students. We’re thankful for the Polaris Project’s important work and for their painstaking data collection and analysis, and welcome the opportunity to work together towards our shared goals.

We are committed to working with each of our participants every step of the way on their exchange programs. We work every day to ensure that their programs are the positive, safe, and life-changing experiences we all strive for them to be.

If you or anyone you know is mistreated, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888, text “HELP” TO 233733, or email nhtrc@polarisproject.org.

Mark Overmann

After studying in France and teaching in China, Mark was hooked on cultural exchange. He's worked in the field of international education and exchange for 15 years, and is InterExchange's Vice President of External Affairs.

U.S. Department of State-Designated J-1 Visa Sponsor
Alliance for International Exchange
Exclusive partner of the Erasmus Student Network for J-1 Visa sponsorship of internships in the U.S.
European-American Chamber of Commerce New York
Generation Study Abroad
Global Ties U.S.
International Au Pair Association
WYSE Travel Confederation