Special Update: The Importance of Perpetrator Accountability

by Holly Burkhalter / Topic: Justice Campaigns October 25, 2011

One of the most touching client stories I’ve heard since joining IJM involves a six-year-old girl who had been sexual assaulted in Manila.  It was my colleague Sean Litton’s first week on the job in a brand new IJM office in the Philippines when a social service provider brought the child and a case file folder to him and told Sean that the judge was hearing the case that very day.  Sean had little time to do more than scan the folder and speak briefly with the child, who would have to provide testimony in the case.  When he talked to the victim, his heart sank.  The child had a developmental disability and had difficulty concentrating. He entered the courtroom with the child and her social worker with little hope that she would be able to provide compelling testimony about the violence she had suffered. Read More

UPDATE: We need your help on the TVPRA!

by Eileen Campbell / Topic: Justice Campaigns October 19, 2011

Last Thursday, the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) was passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee by a vote of 12-6!

We are excited that this critical legislation will now move forward for a full Senate vote, but there’s still more work to be done. Senators Coburn (OK), Cornyn (TX), Lee (UT), Sessions (AL), Graham (SC), and Kyl (AZ) each voted against passing the TVPRA out of committee. It’s critical that these members hear from anti-slavery advocates in their states before the bill is voted on by the full Senate.

How you can help:

If you live in Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Alabama, South Carolina, or Arizona, please call your Senator and politely express your disappointment that they did not support the TVPRA in committee and your hope that they will support the bill when it reaches the Senate floor. Read More

Your Voice Matters: Meet Alan and Beth Seelinger

by Alan Seelinger / Topic: Justice Campaigns October 11, 2011

On a chilly December day in 2009, my friend David and I crammed into a taxi and made our way through the DC streets to Capitol Hill. To say that I felt butterflies would be an understatement. We were minutes away from an appointment at Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson’s office, and I still had no idea what I was going to say.

Our aim was to ask the Senator to help introduce the Child Protection Compact Act, and I was frantically trying to come up with something persuasive to convey. Read More

Your Voice Matters: The In-district Meeting Campaign

by Erica Boonstra / Topic: Justice Campaigns October 9, 2011

For the past two months, advocates around the country have been lobbying for Congress to pass the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2011 (TVPRA) through our annual In-district Meeting Campaign. Since August, we've seen the introduction of the TVPRA in the House of Representatives, and 26 Members of Congress have signed on as cosponsors, joining the original two sponsors of the bill. In the Senate, 9 new cosponsors have signed on since the August in-district recess!

Your work to bring attention to this bill really makes a difference! We have been encouraged by the stories and pictures many of you have shared from your meetings, and we want to share the good work you are doing. Read More

News From Washington - October 2011

by Holly Burkhalter / Topic: Justice Campaigns October 6, 2011

At last, the legislation we have been working on for almost a year, the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, is getting traction in Congress!  I am happy to report that the House Foreign Affairs Committee reviewed the bill (HR.2830) day before yesterday and passed it unanimously out of the committee.  Our hats go off to Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ), the principal sponsor of the TVPRA—and the author of the original TVPA, passed in 2000—who shepherded the bill through the process.  Read More

Share Hope with an Innocent Man in Prison in Kenya

by Eileen Campbell / Topic: Justice Campaigns October 4, 2011

I became an activist when I was ten. That year, inspired by an Amnesty International campaign, I wrote a Christmas card to a man being held in a Greek prison.  Connecting with this victim of oppression through a letter, the distance between me - a kid in Massachusetts - and a young man unjustly imprisoned in Greece, seemed much smaller. Read More

News from Washington - September 2011

by Holly Burkhalter / Topic: Justice Campaigns September 12, 2011

Every September, Congress returns to Washington after a month-long recess, spent with constituents at town halls and in-district meetings hearing about the issues important to the people in their states and districts. This August, Members of Congress heard a message loud and clear: Americans care about modern-day slavery.  IJM’s friends around the country held 100 meetings with Members, Senators or their staff in 24 states and let them know that ending slavery – and supporting foreign assistance programs that end slavery – is their top priority. Read More

Recap of National Call-in Day to Pass the TVPRA

by Erica Boonstra / Topic: Justice Campaigns September 11, 2011

Last week Thursday, September 8, hundreds of advocates around the country called their Senators as part of the National Call-in Day to Pass the TVPRA. Over 1300 calls have been logged by advocates from 47 states!

Constituents can call their Members of Congress about important issues like this any day (so if you haven’t called yet, you still can!). But a flood of calls on one day really helps draw attention to an issue. Thank you for helping us bring this issue to the forefront! Read More

Your Voice Matters on National Call-in Day

by Erica Boonstra / Topic: Justice Campaigns September 5, 2011

This spring, students across the country created videos to inspire others to advocate for the passage of the TVPRA. Submissions for the TVPRA Student Video Contest called on citizens to join the movement to end modern-day slavery by calling their Senators on IJM’s National Call-in Day to Pass the TVPRA.

Check out this inspiring video—the winning submission—from the students at Lipscomb University, and don’t forget to commit to calling your Senators on September 8! Read More

BREAKING NEWS: House Introduces TVPRA!

by Eileen Campbell / Topic: Justice Campaigns September 1, 2011

 Just last week, the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) was introduced in the House of Representatives. This bi-partisan bill renews and strengthens the legislation that established U.S. programs to fight slavery at home and abroad. Read More