Making Survivors the Starting Point of the Policy Conversation: Introducing the Advisory Council on Human Trafficking

Human trafficking, referred to by President Obama as “modern slavery,” is a devastating problem that exists all over the world, including the United States. [1] The victims of human trafficking are subjugated, exploited and abused in countless ways. Many are forced to provide free labor, engage in the sex trade, and even serve as conscripted child soldiers. The Obama Administration has recently demonstrated a commitment to fighting the global issue by appointing an Advisory Council on Human Trafficking. This Council draws on their experiences with human trafficking, their on-the-ground support for survivors, and collaborations with NGOs and government agencies. Each year, the Council produces a report with recommendations for strategies going forward.
The 2016 report describes human trafficking as a violation of Articles 4 and 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and outlines recommendations from the five council committees: rule of law, public awareness, victim services, labor laws, and grant making. Over the next few blog posts, we will be highlighting members of the council and posting information about how they became involved in survivor services, what recommendations their committee made, and why they think those recommendations are so important.

Members of the Advisory Council donate their time and tireless effort with no compensation, while continuing to provide services to survivors. We at the Amara Legal Center strongly believe that the Council should be compensated for their time spent serving on the Council, researching and writing the report and making community presentations. Therefore, in addition to increasing awareness of the scale and challenges of human trafficking in general, Amara hopes to build support in Congress for providing the members of the Council with compensation for their valuable contributions. It is unacceptable and strangely ironic to continue to ask the Council to fight exploitation with no compensation

In our next post, we will discuss recommendations to increase trainings for law enforcement officers, as well as employees of private establishments, to properly identify and handle human trafficking.

[1] For full text of the Advisory Council  Report, 2016:   http://www.state.gov/j/tip/263114.htm

[1]Advisory Council Report, 2016

[1] Article 4 protects against slavery and trading in human beings, while Article 5 prohibits cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment.

Tucker Kelleher-Brozost serves as a Communications Intern for the Amara Legal Center. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from Colorado College in Political Science, and studied Human Rights Law at City University London. In addition to his work with Amara, Kelleher-Brozost serves as the Executive Director for the Brokell Foundation, which supports organizations in the District of Columbia in the fight to end human trafficking.

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