Testimony to the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

On July 8, many professionals and concerned citizens gave testimony to the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pension.  One such individual was Jeneé Littrell, an assistant principal within the Grossmont Union High School District in San Diego, CA.  For the past 6 years, much of Mrs. Littrell’s focus has been on the issue of child sex trafficking.

Partnered with local law enforcement, child welfare, and social services, Mrs. Littrell has spearheaded a program that deals with four major components:

  • Increased staff awareness and education on the indicators and the nature of the crime of child sex trafficking
  • Increased parent/student awareness of the risks and realities of trafficking
  • Clearly articulated district policy and protocol for identifying suspected victims or responding to disclosure from a suspected victim
  • Strong working partnerships with law enforcement, child welfare, probation, and social service agencies

Mrs. Littrell stressed that school systems across the country need to be trained on identification and response to the crime.  “In many cases,” she states, “the adults on campus are the last responsible adults to touch these young people’s lives before they are victimized or lost to this crime.

You can download and read a transcript of Mrs. Littrell’s full testimony by clicking on the PDF link below.

pncLittrellschoolprojectsandiego

 

 

Human Trafficking Prevention Conference (October 28-29)

Save the date!

October 28th-29th, 2014

Greenville, N.C.

Prevent It To End It-A Human Trafficking Prevention Conference

Eastern North Carolina Stop Human Trafficking Now, On Eagles Wings Ministries and Partners Against Trafficking Humans NC are sponsoring a two day conference focusing on the prevention of Human Trafficking.

The conference venue is the East Carolina Heart Institute in Greenville, NC.

East Carolina Heart Institute
115 Heart Drive
Greenville, N.C. 27858

Safe Shelter Collaborative wins Partnership for Freedom Challenge

On April 30, the Safe Shelter Collaborative, a collaboration between Caravan Studios, Polaris Project, and the New Jersey Department of Children and Families, was named as a winner of the Partnership for Freedom’s Reimagine: Opportunity innovation challenge.  It is one of two winners chosen from more than 160 submissions from 260 applying organizations.

As a winner of the challenge, the Safe Shelter Collaborative will receive $1.17 million to dramatically increase access to appropriate, supportive shelters for survivors of human trafficking.  This project extends the ability of service providers and law enforcement to find shelter space for human trafficking survivors, and it also allows funding to place survivors securely and anonymously in hotels if no immediate shelter is available.  Furthermore, the project, piloted in New Jersey, will build partnerships and deliver training to organizations in order to expand services to survivors.

About the three collaborating organizations:  Polaris Project is a leading organization in the global fight against human trafficking and modern-day slavery.  It operates the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline (1-888-373-7888), pushes for stronger federal and state laws, conducts trainings, and provides services to human trafficking victims.  Caravan Studios is the newest division of 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization TechSoup Global.  Caravan Studios works with communities to develop tools that help them organize, access, and use local resources to address pressing problems.  The New Jersey Department of Children and Families (NJ DCF) partners with the state’s communities to ensure the safety, well-being, and success of New Jersey’s children and families.  NJ DCF provides support and services to over 100,000 women, children, and families on a monthly basis.

Celebrating positive actions of youth to end human trafficking

A Wilmington student named Helen Xiao is using her needle to prevent human trafficking.

After researching the issue, Xiao knew she wanted to make a difference.  For her senior project at New Hanover High School, she made dresses for young girls vulnerable to trafficking.

Xiao is supporting an organization called Dress a Girl around the World.  The non-profit organization serves people in over 200 countries, and they believe every young girl deserves the dignity of owning at least one dress.  Dress a Girl around the World also attaches its label to these dresses, sending an additional message that each girl is under care of an organization, giving additional protection from possible traffickers.

For her senior project, Xiao made 10 dresses from pillow cases.  She will be sending a total of 40 dresses to the organization.  Her example shows that anyone can take actions, big or small, to raise awareness in hopes of preventing human trafficking!

Child and Family Day (June 10)

Save the date for Child and Family Day, tomorrow (June 10) at the NC Legislature.  The main event will occur on the Halifax Mall (16 W. Jones St) in downtown Raleigh.

Registration on-site begins at 9:30 AM, and the program begins at 10:00.  You can RSVP online here.

Child and Family Day is sponsored by NC Child, YES! (Youth Empowered Solutions), NC MomsRising, Strong Able Youth Speaking Out (SaySo), Jack and Jill of America, Inc., the North Carolina Child Care Coalition, and the North Carolina Partnership for Children.  The program is open to children, youth, parents, advocates, and everyone else who cares about children and our future!  Child and Family Day will include great speakers, advocacy workshops, visits to legislators, family games, and snacks/refreshments.  Again, this event is tomorrow, so RSVP today!

Please Ask Senator Leahy to Consider the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act!

The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA or S. 1738) will provide funding and protections for victims of human trafficking here in the United States. It is the ONLY comprehensive legislation that provides funding for critical services victims need to heal and training for law enforcement so that they can better respond to victims and identify and prosecute traffickers.

JVTA has bipartisan support.  It was originally introduced November 19, 2013 by Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Marco Rubio (R-FL).  The bill now has 20 bipartisan co-sponsors (13 Republican and 7 Democrat).  The House passed an amended version of the bill by unanimous consent on May 20, 2014, but it has to be taken up in the Senate to become law.

Tomorrow (May 30), please join national advocacy groups in calling Senator Patrick Leahy‘s (D-VT) office to let him know that you want him to put JVTA on the calendar for the Judiciary Committee. The House UNANIMOUSLY passed JVTA last week (as H.R. 3530), and the bill must ALSO be passed by the Senate to become law.  We need Senator Leahy, the Chair of the Judiciary Committee, to take up the legislation in the Senate.

Call (202) 224-4242 and ask to speak with Emily Livingston.

Then, you can use the following talking points as a guide:

  • I am an advocate calling to ask Senator Leahy to put the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (S.1738) on the calendar so that it can be considered by the Judiciary Committee.
  • JVTA is the ONLY comprehensive human trafficking legislation that provides funding and resources so that child victims of trafficking can receive critical services they need to heal.
  • JVTA promotes interagency collaboration, which allows for law enforcement, child advocacy centers, social service agencies, healthcare providers, legal services programs, courts, and housing agencies to provide safety for child victims.
  • JVTA clarifies existing laws, making it clear that those that abuse and buy children for sex must be held accountable for the harm they cause by law enforcement and prosecutors.
  • Just last week, the House passed the JVTA unanimously on a 409-0 vote. We hope that the Senate can show similar support for our domestic victims of trafficking.

Again, call (202) 224-4242 tomorrow (May 30) and make this request!

Passage of 5 Anti-Trafficking Bills in the US House of Representatives

On May 20, a total of five bills were passed with bipartisan support by the US House of Representatives.  These bills will strengthen America’s response to child victims of sex trafficking.  These bills are:

  1. H.R. 3530, Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA)
  2. H.R. 3610, Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act of 2013 (SETT)
  3. H.R. 4058, Preventing Sex Trafficking and Improving Opportunities for Youth in Foster Care Act
  4. H.R. 4225, Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation Act of 2014 (SAVE)
  5. H.R. 4573, International Megan’s Law

The passage of International Megan’s Law tracks with global concerns about traveling sex offenders and the widespread problem of child trafficking.  H.R. 4225, the SAVE Act, recognizes the increasing role of online classified websites in facilitating child sex trafficking.  H.R. 4058 aims to add more protection for children in foster care.

These bills have passed the House of Representatives, and they will now be sent to the Senate.  Let your Senators know that you want their vote for these bills!  Through Shared Hope International, you can send a letter asking for support of S. 1733 (passed in the House as H.R. 3610) and for support of S. 1738 (passed in the House as H.R. 3530).

You can also track pending state legislation by utilizing Shared Hope’s online bill tracker.