Human Trafficking Policy: The Latest From DC

Thorn kicked off our work in DC with a bang — with a testimony from our co-founder’s before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. We may be the new kids on the block, but we have some big goals to educate policymakers about leveraging technology to address child sexual abuse. These past few months, we’ve learned a ton and we plan on sharing those insights regularly with you, our supporters. Here’s what’s top of mind in human trafficking policy for us at the moment.

State Department’s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report

Thorn was invited to attend the release of the State Department’s TIP report. In this report, the State Department ranks each country, including the United States, on their efforts to address modern slavery. We definitely recommend reading the U.S. section (page 415) — some of the domestic challenges include the continued arrest of trafficking victims, the need to strengthen protections for vulnerable populations, and the lack of resources for victim services. Of note, China was downgraded to the lowest tier – tier 3 – and advocacy organizations are also concerned about several of the other tier ratings.

  • Why you should care: The TIP report is one of the leading foreign policy tools in the fight against trafficking and is a great resource to understand the state of trafficking both locally in the United States and globally.

Legislation Updates

At a time when partisan divisions run deep, the fight against human trafficking continues to have support on both sides of the aisle. In addition to reauthorizing the protections granted under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth recently endorsed a bipartisan child welfare package. As 50-90% of identified child trafficking victims are involved in the foster care system, this package could help reduce the vulnerabilities of this population.

  • Why you should care: Congress has a key role to play in the fight against trafficking and you can participate in the process by voicing your support of key bills.

Understanding Vulnerabilities

You may have heard something about healthcare in the news recently. We highly recommend checking out these articles that connect trafficking and sexual abuse to health care, specifically the vulnerabilities of the disabled and the services needed for survivors of sexual abuse. Organizations like Polaris are tackling vulnerabilities head on, most recently by launching a new program to better serve the LGBTQ community.

  • Why you should care: Trafficking doesn’t exist in a vacuum. By understanding the vulnerabilities of victims and the resources needed by survivors, you can become a more informed advocate.

This work is hard, but here at Thorn we find hope every day from the children we serve and the partners we work alongside. Just this week, our CEO Julie joined a panel at Salesforce to discuss how technology is driving social change. We were honored to be speak alongside these panelists and learn about our collective efforts to make this world a better place.