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Support H.R. 500: Survivors of Human Trafficking Empowerment Act

The US House of Representatives is considering H.R. 500, legislation that would create a U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking. The Council, led by survivors of human trafficking, would provide recommendations to the President’s Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, the Senior Policy Operating Group, and other federal government agencies.  Please take a moment to contact your representative today to encourage them to support this legislation.

Following is a letter about this bill from National Survivor Network:

Survivor’s Perspective on H.R. 500: Survivors of Human Trafficking Empowerment Act

Please Support H.R. 500

 Why establishment of the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking is important to us as survivors

As awareness about human trafficking continues to grow in the United States, survivor voices need to be prioritized. Many groups, including concerned citizens, non-profit organizations, and government agencies are stepping up to address this atrocity. Central to the success of these groups is the input of survivors.

Almost 14 years after the passage of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000, there is now a substantial group of identified survivors of human trafficking who are willing and capable of informing policy, shaping programmatic and funding decisions, providing training and technical assistance, and leading educational efforts.

H.R. 500 will institutionalize a structure for the Federal Government to receive and request feedback and input from survivors of human trafficking. S.B. 121 establishes an Advisory Council that consists of survivors and survivor-informed NGO representatives. The Advisory Council will report to the Senior Policy Operating Group and the President’s Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.

This Advisory Council will ensure that Senior Administration and Agency representatives are seeking, if not receiving, survivor input, and it will formalize the mechanism for this input. Survivors will also have a designated and centralized place to provide their feedback.

This Advisory Council is essential because it values survivors beyond their trauma story.

Why you should support this legislation

Eradicating human trafficking may seem daunting and overwhelming. Survivors of human trafficking are distinctly positioned to help prioritize action steps and educate legislators on the realities of the issue.

Survivor input on government priorities and actions will also improve the likelihood that proposed plans and solutions will work. We know what has worked (e.g. having other survivors to relate to) and what hasn’t worked (e.g. shelter rules that will be broken, for ourselves and other survivors in terms of social services.

Survivors are also based in geographic locations across the country and will be able to tailor local responses more effectively. They can also easily more easily gain the trust of other survivors and reach out to them for additional input.

Who We Are

The National Survivor Network (NSN), affiliated with the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST), in an effort to foster connections between survivors of diverse forms of human trafficking and to build a national anti-trafficking movement in which survivors are at the forefront and recognized as leaders.  Members of the NSN include survivors with various backgrounds and origins spanning 24 countries, including Ghana, India, Indonesia, Colombia, Cameroon, and the United States. Active members currently reside in over 25 U.S. states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Washington D.C. The NSN’s diverse membership makes it uniquely representative of the myriad of situations and dynamics experienced by survivors of human trafficking. By connecting survivors across the country and beyond, the NSN supports and encourages survivors not only to realize and develop confidence in their own leadership qualities but also to support and encourage each other to do likewise.

Will you help us prioritize survivor voices in policy decisions ? Please Support H.R. 500.

 

 

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