With the race to the White House in full swing, the leaders of various anti-trafficking organizations, faith-based organizations, clergy, etc., are calling on the future President to make anti-trafficking measures a top priority in their term. Generation Freedom is asking the candidates, if they are elected President, to allocate three billion dollars of their budget to fight human trafficking. Three presenters from the upcoming JuST Faith Summit, Dr. Joel C. Hunter, Senior Pastor Northland, Mara Vanderslice Kelly, Director of the United Way Center on Human Trafficking, and Shared Hope’s Founder, Congresswoman Linda Smith joined anti-trafficking leaders, celebrities and presidential campaign staff in a press call and national launch of the Generation Freedom last week.
Congresswoman Smith began her career fighting the ever-growing and profitable business of human trafficking while she was in office and first encountered human trafficking in Mumbai, India. The earliest efforts of Shared Hope International were primarily international, but soon the organization began to focus mainly on domestic minor sex trafficking. For Generation Freedom, gaining the endorsement of many prominent leaders and of the candidates for the presidency is vital to continuing the fight against human sex and labor trafficking.
Not only is Generation Freedom’s goal to bring an end to human trafficking, but also to provide support for victims of modern-day slavery in trafficking. To this day, many domestic minor sex trafficking victims are being labeled as “child prostitutes” and are being charged as such, regardless of their classification as minors under the law. States have claimed the arrests are providing these victims with the only safe place for them to go; however, according to Shared Hope’s Protected Innocence Challenge there are many other options beyond arrest and incarceration of the victim. Instead of continuing to stand with the thirty six states that continue to charge victims of trafficking with prostitution, Generation Freedom and anti-trafficking leaders have created a call to action for the future President: spend two cents for every dollar of profit made by traffickers and we can end trafficking and provide support to survivors. For prominent members of the anti-sex trafficking circle the coalition brings accountability to businesses that either foster trafficking or allow it to happen, while providing support to those who stand against this violent crime.
United Way’s Center on Human Trafficking and Slavery coordinates the nonpartisan effort by Generation Freedom while continuing to educate and provide facts to non-experts in the field. Human trafficking has provided a profit of $150 billion dollars to traffickers around the world and 20 million victims of trafficking. Generation Freedom has asked experts in the field to join them in signing a petition and gathering others to sign in order to present their platform to the candidates and then to Congress when a President is chosen in November. Congresswoman Smith pointed out in her statement of support that the first girl and victim of trafficking whom she encountered was the age of her middle school granddaughter. We must end slavery for the betterment of the world and America’s young people so no young girl will be subjected to this horrific crime.
Written by Jordan Selby, Shared Hope Intern, Spring 2016