Junior League of Seattle is proud to join forces with Washington Engage, Women of Vision, and Wash ACT to advocate for the re-authorization of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), a bill that was due to expire on September 30, 2011.
Late on the evening of Tuesday, September 20, we received an email from a co-founder of Seattle Against Slavery , inquiring if we would be available to meet with the Senator’s office to help educate and urge the Senator to support the bill. In true Junior League style, we rose to the occasion when presented with such a tremendous opportunity.
The next morning Ashley Baerwaldt and Chris Lewis attended a meeting with Washington Senator Maria Cantwell’s Outreach Representative to stress the importance of this legislation and how it impacts our community. As part of the round table discussion, Ashley stressed that the Junior League of Seattle is part of a greater national constituency working to reduce human trafficking that as an organization we believe that we must continue to fight against this real human oppression. Chris provided background on the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons and its efforts to address this issue through the Three P’s, prevention, prosecution and protection and programs related to addressing the 3P’s all funded by the TVPA. During this meeting, we heard a number of horrific stories from a former Federal Way teacher who recounted students under the control of pimps and a former student who ran away from her abusive labor trafficker.
The next step for the League was to create awareness that we have the power to influence the passing of the re-authorization. We immediately created a call to action, using our social media channels to inform our membership and the community on how they could help pass legislation against human trafficking. Chris Lewis also spoke in person at our September General Meeting, urging our members to get involved and make calls to their local congressmen.
As a follow up to our campaign we have learned that the Senate Judiciary Committee will be reviewing the hearing report at this week’s Executive Business Meeting. If agreed by Committee vote, the issue will be sent to Majority Leader Reed for a vote on the Senate floor.
We hope to bring additional opportunities that allow our membership to advocate for the issues essential to empowering women and children. As we obtain more information about the status of the re-authorization we will update membership.
Thank you to all members who picked up their phones and made the call to their representatives!