Hagar USA Logo

About us

Our Mission, Vision & History

Our Mission

Communities free and healed from the trauma of human trafficking, slavery, and abuse.

Our Vision

For those affected by trauma and those who support them, Hagar is an expert in care and recovery.

When healing happens, the cycle of trauma stops.

Our Values

Respect: We believe in the right of all people to be heard and treated with respect and dignity.

Integrity: We commit to act ethically and honestly, striving to do the right thing in all times and in all circumstances.

Compassion: We want compassion and kindness to be evident in our attitude, communication and in active, practical ways.
Excellence: We hold ourselves to high standards, listening and learning from those we support, our partners and each other, to continuously improve all that we do.

Our History

Hagar was founded in 1994 in response to the prevalence of extreme domestic and community violence affecting women and children in post-civil war Cambodia. In 2008, Hagar began operations in Afghanistan to support women and children facing the worst forms of gender-based violence and human trafficking. The following year, HAGAR established an office in Vietnam to care for women who were affected by the growing magnitude of exploitation and abuse. More recently, Hagar began delivering programmes for women through our support office in Singapore, and we are partnering with organisations in Myanmar to increase their capacity to provide Trauma-Informed Care .

With 25 years of experience, HAGAR has transformed into an internationally renowned leader in recovery services for survivors of human trafficking, slavery and abuse.

The HAGAR Story

The Hebrew name Hagar means “one who flees” or “one who seeks refuge.” The story of Hagar and her son, Ishmael, is the story of millions of exploited, abused, and trafficked women and children.

In around 2000 BC, Hagar worked in a foreign land as a domestic servant for a rich man called Abraham and his wife, Sarah. Sarah was unable to bear children and, following a common practice of the time, Sarah offered her servant to Abraham. When Hagar became pregnant, Sarah grew jealous and threw her out of their home. An angel found Hagar alone in the desert. He promised a blessing on her child, naming him Ishmael, which means “God hears.” In response Hagar declared: “You are the One who sees me.” The story of Hagar is known to many faiths including Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.

HAGAR is committed to providing sanctuary and hope to women and children like Hagar and Ishmael, walking the whole journey with each one.

Our Staff

Catherine Kirkendall​

Executive Director

Catherine has extensive experience in fundraising and communications in the not-for-profit sector, both internationally and within the USA. She has held a range of roles with specifically, the past 7 years in management. She brings with her 14 years of experience in nonprofit and NGO development and is deeply passionate about the work of Hagar to see communities free and healed from the trauma of slavery, human trafficking, and abuse. Catherine is coming from an executive role in another international nonprofit, and brings a track record of exceptional fundraising. Catherine also previously worked for Hagar both in the USA and Cambodia offices. Catherine was our Relationship Manager for Hagar International, based in Cambodia, and when she returned to the USA, continued working with Hagar before taking on the Hagar USA Development Director position.

Amie Gosselin

Fundraising & Communications Director

It was Amie’s love for adventure and storytelling that took her to Phnom Penh, Cambodia in 2008. There, she managed communications and brand building for Hagar International. After returning to Canada in 2014, Amie was a communications consultant for small businesses and non-profits in North America and Southeast Asia, and then brand and marketing director for EverFree. Amie is passionate about advancing non-profit storytelling that enhances survivor dignity and engages donor audiences. She is based in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley with her husband and three daughters.

Our Board

Jeff Buterbaugh, Ph.D.


Jeff became Hagar USA’s Vice-Chair in 2017 and has now assumed the role of Board Chair for 2018. Jeff is an Account Executive at Konrad Technologies where he coordinates the account management of several of NI’s strategic automotive accounts that have major operations in the Detroit area. Jeff was introduced to Hagar by Jennifer Fleming, a Hagar International board member and long-time friend from the University of Virginia. He has over 20 years of church leadership experience and has been involved with refugee resettlement in the Columbus, Ohio area. This and other experiences have helped Jeff develop an awareness for both the challenges faced by children internationally, and the tangible opportunity to love and serve them in a globally connected world.

Deborah Manzanares

Vice Chair/Secretary

Deborah Manzanares began as the Secretary for the Hagar USA Board in late 2015. She has now added the role of Vice-Chair for 2018. Debbie has been involved in anti-trafficking efforts in Southern Colorado since 2008. Her background includes more than 25 years working in both private and public sector environments. Debbie currently works for Hewlett Packard in eBusiness Operations and also serves in the Colorado Army National Guard. She graduated from Colorado Christian University.

Bruce N Messenger cpa.citp, PMP, PSM


Bruce began as Treasurer of Hagar USA and the chair of our Financial Committee in January of 2017. Bruce has over thirty years of experience in accounting, business management, and information technology. Mr. Messenger is currently a Director and Utility Sector Lead for the Florida and East Ohio region of Sogeti USA (part of Capgemini America). Bruce and his wife Karen have been part of Xenos Christian Fellowship in Columbus, Ohio, since 1990. They are co-leaders of a home church and have been actively involved in international student ministries and global missions support for over two decades. Having traveled in the past to Cambodia and the resulting appreciation of the people, culture, and challenges of that country were some of the things that drew Mr. Messenger to Hagar.

For more information about our global team members please refer to our other country sites.

Let's keep in touch.

Join our email list to stay updated about our work.