ACTION ALERT: JVTA Call in Day April 29th

ACTION ALERT: JVTA Call in Day April 29th

Ask House Leadership to Take Up and Pass
the Senate Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act Compromise!

The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA) (S. 1738), as amended, provides funding and protections for victims of human trafficking here in the United States. It is the ONLY comprehensive legislation that provides funding for critical services victims need to heal and training for law enforcement so that they can better respond to victims and identify and prosecute traffickers. The Senate compromise package also includes many other important measures such the recognition that child victims of trafficking are victims of child abuse and provisions that incentivize states to pass Safe Harbor laws that discourage the arrest of child trafficking victims.

We Need Your Help
On Wednesday April 29th, please join national advocacy groups in calling House Leadership offices to let them know that you want the House to swiftly take up and pass the Senate Compromise JVTA. The Compromise JVTA passed the Senate unanimously with a vote of 99-0. This bipartisan legislation includes many of the House provisions that passed earlier this year. the Senate if we want it to actually become law!

Please Call:
Speaker John Beohner – (202) 225-6205
Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy – 202-225-4000
Majority Whip Steve Scalise – 202-225-0197
Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte – (202) 225-5431
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi – (202) 225-0100
Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer – (202) 225-4131
Judiciary Ranking Member John Conyers – 202-225-5126

Use the talking points below to guide your discussion:

Good morning/afternoon, my name is XX and I am an anti-trafficking advocate. I am calling to ask that you please take up and pass the Senate Compromise of the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (S.178).

· JVTA is the ONLY comprehensive human trafficking legislation that provides funding and resources so that child victims of trafficking can receive critical services they need to heal.

· JVTA promotes interagency collaboration, which allows for law enforcement, child advocacy centers, social service agencies, healthcare providers, legal services programs, courts, and housing agencies to provide safety for child victims.

· JVTA clarifies existing laws, making it clear that those that abuse and buy children for sex must be held accountable for the harm they cause by law enforcement and prosecutors.

· Just last week, the Senate passed the JVTA unanimously on a 99-0 vote. We hope that the House can show similar support for our domestic victims of trafficking.

Background on JVTA

Three critical ways the amended Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA) addresses domestic trafficking:

1. Creates two funds for victims of trafficking, one using fines and the other appropriated dollars. All together, this will infuse as much as $60M for training and services for victims of trafficking.

2. Encourages cross-system collaboration between law enforcement, child welfare systems, juvenile justice officials, courts, and victim service organizations (and where applicable tribal authorities).

3. Reduces demand for sex trafficking by calling on law enforcement and prosecutors to investigate and prosecute buyers, not just pimps/exploiters.

Relief for children caught in Earthquake in Nepal

After the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal on 25th April 2015, thousands of people have died in different parts of the country. The death toll is said to be in the thousands. Casualties among children is still not known. CWIN-Nepal as a child rights organization is deeply concerned about the possible damage to children. CWIN has informed citizens and police about the Child Helpline services it carries out in the 6 districts of Nepal, namely, Kathmanud, Pokhara, Hetauda, Biratnagar, Nepalgunj and Dhangadi for the support of for children caught in the earthquake. CWIN-run Child Helplines are willing to extend support to any children missing their families, who got injured, who need counseling and emergency humanitarian assistance. For this CWIN is seeking all kinds of assistance so that we are able to reach out to more children in crisis.

Likewise, CWIN is worried about the children living and working on the streets for their safety and whereabouts. Our Peer Educators tried to locate some of the young people but many are out of our contact. We need to go out tomorrow for their help. Similarly, buildings at CWIN Balika Peace Home, a transit centre located in Pasthali, Kavre have cracked badly due to the earthquake and we are not in position to go inside these buildings, as one of the verandah has fallen already.

There are about 50 girls and 10 staff staying outside at the grounds. They do not have electricity and water now. We also have 13 Norwegian citizens there of whom about 10 are young adults aged 18-20 years, who went there for an exchange programme. We need to bring all the girls to a safer place and arrange for alternative stay and for food until we are able to make sure that the buildings do not collapse. Our girls are also very scared as they come from various risk backgrounds and are away from their parents or have no parents.

The office buildings in Kathmandu and the building of Child Helpline also have some cracks and we need to assess for safety to enter into these buildings. We want to mobilise volunteers in all the districts where we run Child Helplines so that children are reached soonest possible for any immediate help they need. We urge the government and authority to pay special attention to the rescue and support of children in affected areas. We also request all the civil society members, INGOS, NGOs and volunteer groups to please look for children while you are providing any assistance to the earthquake survivors and take special care of them.

Child Helpline 1098 run by CWIN Nepal in cooperation with the
Government of Nepal and Nepal Telecom Authority

Sumnima (00 977 9851052545)

Madhav (00977 9851035520)

Bharat (00977 9851082900)

Breaking – Senate Passes Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act with Incredible Vote of 99-0

Breaking – Senate Passes Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act with Incredible Vote of 99-0

“We are throwing a lifeline to these victims of human trafficking by providing them real resources to help them, to help first rescue them, and then to help them heal. This is a good day for the United States Senate because we’re doing the right thing for people who have no voice.”
– Senator John Cornyn (R-TX)

After many weeks of impasse, the Senate acted today with a true show of bipartisanship and passed the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA). Thanks to an agreement reached earlier this week by Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), all previous issues of contention were resolved and the path was cleared to pass this important legislation. As a result of the Cornyn/Murray compromise, $60M will go towards fighting human trafficking and providing funding for services for victims.

In the end, 14 additional trafficking amendments were included as part of the overall JVTA package. We are pleased to report the passage of another ECPAT-USA priority Senator Rob Portman’s (R-OH) “Ensuring a Better Response for Victims of Child Sex Trafficking” (S.Amdt 1128) which amends the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act so that child victims of sex trafficking are rightfully considered victims of child abuse. Also of note, the passage of Senator Amy Klobuchar’s (D-MN) “Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act” (S.Amdt 1124), calling on states to pass safe harbor laws, and the Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) “Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation Act” (S.Amdt 273), addressing the online exploitation of victims.

The JVTA package will now be sent to the House where we hope it will be taken up and passed quickly. Please follow ECPAT-USA for more information on actions you can take to help this bill make its way to the Presidents desk and become law.

Leading Meetings and Events Company Latest to Sign the Code

Milligan Events actively pledged to fight against human trafficking by signing The Code this week with ECPAT-USA at an industry-related seminar hosted by Meeting Professionals International’s (MPI) Washington State Chapter in Bellevue, WA.

ECPAT-USA is a member of the internationally recognized ECPAT International organization who developed the Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct as set of business principles adopted by travel and tourism related companies to specifically combat child sex trafficking. This action is just one example of Milligan Events’ ongoing commitment to social responsibility.

Nearly 21 million people around the world are victims of modern day slavery. In the U.S. alone, at least 100,000 of those victims are American children. In the past, human trafficking took place primarily on the streets, but today, those operations have expanded with the use of technology and the internet. Traffickers move across cities and countries using air and ground transportation companies, targeting events, hotels and other venues as places to abuse and sell their victims, without the knowledge of the companies hosting events or the respective hotels and venues. As more companies sign The Code, awareness is on the rise and local law enforcement agencies have learned the necessity of protecting these children, the real victims.

“Businesses can play an important role in this vital call to action by including a strong policy against sex trafficking of children in their employee code of conduct,” said Janell McGill, owner of Milligan Events. “Statistics show many buyers initiate their transactions on company time and equipment or at company sponsored events, which creates legal risks as well as risks to reputation. Discussing this growing problem and establishing more vigilant practices to detect it are paramount.”

McGill further added, “As compassionate global citizens and a concerned partner in a targeted industry, we are committed to doing everything in our power to stop child sex trafficking. It is closer to home than many realize and is a pandemic that needs to be eradicated.”

About Milligan Events
Milligan Events provides event management services for companies of varying industries. We collaborate with our clients to produce and manage events, conferences, trade shows, sales meetings, executive summits, road shows, product launches and virtual events for audiences ranging in size from 30 to 18,000. Milligan is a certified woman-owned business through WBENC and company honors include the Women’s Business Enterprise Star Award and the Microsoft Excellence in Value Award.

More information is available at

ECPAT-USA (Ending Child Slavery at the Souce) is the leading policy organization in the United States seeking to end the commercial sexual exploitation of children through awareness, advocacy, policy and legislation. ECPAT-USA is a member of the ECPAT International network, with offices in 73 countries.

For more information, contact Michelle Guelbart at 718-935-9192 or michelle@, or visit http://www.

temp-post-imageMichelle Guelbart, ECPAT USA and Janell McGill, Milligan Events

Photo credit: Alabastro Photography

Three reasons the JVTA Must Pass Congress

Three reasons the JVTA Must Pass Congress

1. Services for Survivors Using a Holistic Approach

The JVTA creates a victim-centered model block grant program that helps States and local governments develop comprehensive, victim-centered programs that restore lives of victims appropriately. The legislation also allows for restorative services for victims of child pornography. JVTA is still the only legislation before Congress that provides funding for services for child victims of trafficking.

2. Restitution for Victims by Increasing Compensation and Training

Between 2009 and 2012 federal prosecutors did not seek restitution in 37% of qualifying trafficking cases When prosecutors did seek restitution it was granted in only 10% of cases. The JVTA addresses this problem. It directs the Department of Justice to train prosecutors on seeking restitution so that more victims can see the funds they so rightly deserve. It also calls for training of judges on restitution orders.

3. Penalties for Perpetrators

Too often those who purchase children are not held accountable for their crimes or the harm they cause, even though the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), applies to persons who purchase sexual acts with trafficking victims. The JVTA makes it clear that the buyers of commercial sex with children must be held accountable for their illegal actions. Only when we start to use the laws designed to protect children will we see the demand for children decline.

We have often described JVTA as a comprehensive piece of legislation. We have highlighted 3, but there are many more thoughtful provisions that you can read about in our blog: http://www. Congress must find a bipartisan compromise. We strongly urge Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle to move away from the divisive debate and move towards workable solutions so that we don’t lose everything.

Sex Trafficking Survivors Speak Out At UN Panel

Sex Trafficking Survivors Speak Out At UN Panel


“Today, my name is not ‘victim.’ My name is not ‘survivor.’ My name is Rachel. I am beautiful. I am thriving. I am Rachel.”

“She spent some three months in detention for the crimes that had been committed against her.” Lisa Williams was recounting the story of the 10 year-old sex trafficking victim who inspired her to found Living Water for Girls, a refuge for such victims, in Atlanta, GA.

Williams, a sex trafficking survivor herself, spoke alongside other survivors and activists at the United Nations in New York Friday on the panel “Unfinished Business from the Beijing Platform for Action: American Girls Speak Out Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation” as part of the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

“Most of the young women and boys I have worked with don’t know they’re victims,” she said. Rachel, one survivor Williams has worked with, was also on the panel. Rachel’s story is behind the hashtag #IAmRachel, which recognizes that anyone could have been in her situation.

“I was afraid, afraid to breathe, afraid to rest, afraid to trust, afraid to be seen, afraid to dream. But no more. I see myself in a new light,” Rachel said of her recovery from the sex trade.

“Today, my name is not ‘victim.’ My name is not ‘survivor.’ My name is Rachel. I am beautiful. I am thriving. I am Rachel.”

Williams echoed Rachel’s call to view survivors as more than their past: “I want you to know first and foremost they’re individuals. They’re someone’s daughter, they’re someone’s son, they have family, they have worth, they’re not your charity case.” She asked the audience, “Are you more than your experiences?”

After a resounding “yes,” she responded, “Don’t make yourself feel good by calling us survivors.” Instead, she would prefer people refer to Rachel and the other survivors she knows by saying, “I know a powerful young woman.”

Rachel’s Law, a safe harbor law based on Rachel’s testimonies that would have required traffickers in Georgia to register as sex offenders and pay a fine to help victims, just passed in the Senate but not in the House. Georgia, like many U.S. states to varying extents, still allows sex trafficking victims to be treated as prostituteseven when they are below the age of consent.

Carol Smolenski and Genna Goldsobel from ECPAT USA, a non-profit aimed at passing safe harbor laws in states across the country, also spoke. Goldsobel, ECPAT’s Youth Outreach Manager, said incorrect notions about sex trafficking often stand in the way of reform. “We have these common misconceptions based on movies such as Taken that these girls get kidnapped, thrown into beds, put into brothels, handcuffed to the beds. That’s not what it looks like here in the U.S.”

Author, speaker, and survivor Holly Austin Smith, who moderated the panel, explained that sex traffickers in the U.S. usually manipulate emotionally or financially vulnerable children into complying with them. InSmith’s case, a man approached her at a New Jersey mall when she was a depressed teen and had recently been sexually assaulted multiple times. A different man who pretended to be the one from the mall befriended her over the phone, made her feel like someone in the world finally understood her, and said she could pursue her dream of becoming a dancer if she ran away with him.

“At age 14, I was called a willing victim by law enforcement and social services because I didn’t run away from my trafficker,” she recalled. “When I was arrested and had therapists try to convince me I was a victim, I couldn’t wrap my brain around that.”

Smith added that traffickers are often family members children cannot run away from, and that her book, Walking Prey, exposes “cases where children were trafficked by their fathers, and some by their mothers, and one case where she was trafficked by her grandmother.”

“When I say ‘trafficking in the U.S.,’ people are confused,” Goldsobel said after the event. But once she explains what trafficking actually looks like, men and women alike are eager to help.

Goldsobel added that using the right language can help dispel the notion that victims are in the sex trade voluntarily. When children are described as victims of trafficking, “your heart and soul would go out to them,” but when they are described as prostitutes, “we lose that sympathy.” Amber Edwards, a student involved in the Girls Against Trafficking Club at St. Joseph High School in Brooklyn, said that learning about trafficking in school “changed my perspective on what human trafficking was because I thought trafficking was by choice.”

Williams said another misconception about sex trafficking is that traffickers are all black men wearing gold chains. “I don’t know who here in this room is a trafficker,” she said. “There are women and there are men and sometimes they are juveniles as well.” Smolenski, ECPAT USA’s Executive Director, recounted a visit to a school in Brooklyn for rehabilitating Johns. The students came from such diverse backgrounds that the lessons were all taught in multiple languages.

Another obstacle to justice for trafficking victims is that those who know the perpetrators tend to look the other way. “There are people demanding children for profit,” Williams reminded the audience. “And those who are demanding it often are our husbands and our brothers.”

Educating people about the reality of sex trafficking in the U.S. can help those who are vulnerable prevent their own victimization: “Recently, we had a student who was approached by a trafficker through a modeling agency, and with the knowledge from the [Girls Against Trafficking] Club, she knew how to get out of that situation,” Edwards said.

As this story demonstrates, education can help prevent sex trafficking. Ayana Gay, President of St. Joseph’s Girls Against Trafficking Club, advocated the use of social media, writing, and word of mouth to spread awareness. “It takes one person to say something,” she said, and if you can get someone involved, “we’re just one step closer to ending sex trafficking.”

“In the 90s, we had to move this giant rock up a mountain because nobody was talking about it,” Smolenski said after the event. But since the early days of ECPAT, she has seen a huge increase in awareness.

“These ladies are the face of prevention,” Goldsobel said. “The only thing we have to do is speak up about it.”

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What You Need to Know About the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act

What You Need to Know About the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act ECPAT-USA encourages everyone to write to their United States Senator to support the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA) S. 178. It was passed by the House of Representatives last week but now we need the Senate to pass it as well.

Here is more information about the JVTA:

Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act

  • Creates a “Domestic Trafficking Victims’ Fund” that the Attorney General can use to fund victims’ support programs for human trafficking and child pornography survivors. This fund is deficit neutral and financed through fines on persons convicted of child pornography, human trafficking, child prostitution, sexual exploitation, and human smuggling offenses. This fund will increase the federal resources available for human trafficking victim support by up to $30 million/yr.
  • Allows American citizens and lawful permanent residents who are victims of human trafficking to obtain official recognition of their status from the federal government (HHS). Currently, only non-citizens are eligible to obtain an official certification.
  • Creates a block grant to help States and local governments develop and implement victim-centered programs that train law enforcement to rescue trafficking survivors, prosecute human traffickers, and restore the lives of victims. This program is funded entirely through the “Domestic Trafficking Victims’ Fund” created by the bill.
  • Prioritizes victim restoration and witness assistance for trafficking survivors by directing the proceeds of forfeited criminal assets to pay victim restitution orders and financial awards for witnesses who come forward and assist law enforcement. Encourages prosecutor training on restitution in human trafficking cases. Increases law enforcement authorities to seize the assets of convicted human traffickers.
  • Recognizes that child pornography production is a form of human trafficking ensures that victims have access to direct restorative services at Child Advocacy Centers.
  • Allows state and local human trafficking task forces to obtain wiretap warrants within their own state courts without federal approval in order to investigate crimes of child pornography, child sexual exploitation, and human trafficking.
  • Ensures regular reporting on the number of human trafficking crimes in the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Program. Requires law enforcement to upload photos of the missing into the National Criminal Information Center database and to notify the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children of any child reported missing from foster care.
  • Clarifies current law to reduce demand for human trafficking by encouraging police, prosecutors, judges, and juries to target all persons involved in the buying and selling of human trafficking victims.
  • Protects victims and witnesses by requiring human traffickers to be treated as violent criminals for purposes of pre-trial release and detention pending judicial proceedings.
  • Ensures that federal crime victims are informed of any plea bargain or deferred prosecution agreement in their case and clarifies that the ordinary standard of appellate review applies in cases concerning federal crime victims’ rights petitions.
  • Supported by national victims’ rights and law enforcement groups, including: Shared Hope International, Rights4Girls, Fraternal Order of Police, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, National Children’s Alliance, National Criminal Justice Association, ECPAT-USA, PROTECT, National Association of Police Organizations, National Conference of State Legislatures.

For a sample letter you can use to write to your Senator click here.



Contact Your Legislator Today!

We are pleased to report that last week, the House of Representatives passed 12

anti-human trafficking bills, including 3 ECPAT-USA priorities:

The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015 (H.R. 181) The Justice for

Victims of Trafficking Act will provide child trafficking victims with important

services, give law enforcement new tools to go after criminals and hold buyers

accountable for the harm they cause.

The Strengthening Child Welfare Response to Trafficking Act of 2015 (H.R.

469), The Strengthening Child Welfare Response to Trafficking Act makes

important changes to federal law so that child victims of sex trafficking are

recognized as victims of child abuse. This will enable State child protective services

systems to improve the identification and assessment of child victims of sex


International Megan’s Law to Prevent Demand for Child Sex Trafficking (H.R.

515) International Megan’s Law to Prevent Demand for Child Sex Trafficking

protects children from exploitation, especially sex trafficking in tourism, by

providing advance notice of intended travel by registered child-sex offenders

outside the United States to the government of the country of destination,

requesting foreign governments to notify the United States when a known child-sex

offender is seeking to enter the United States.

We will keep you posted as these bills move to the Senate and make their way to

becoming law.


Contact Your Legislator Today!

The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act is has been passed in the U.S. House of

Representatives and introduced the Senate. If it becomes law it will provide important services

for child victims of trafficking and make it clear that people who abuse children should be held

accountable for their crimes. It is important to write to your Representatives to support this bill.

Here is more information:

Here is a sample letter you can use:


The Honorable [Senator’s Name Here]

Office of Senator (Name)

United States Senate

Washington, DC, 20510

Dear Senator __________

I am writing because I support the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015 H.R. 181/S.

178 and I want you to support it too. This bill has already passed the House and with your

support, this legislation can become law. This bill will ensure that children who are caught up in

the sex trade are treated as victims, not criminals. As many as 100,000 American children are

commercially sexually exploited. They are coerced into prostitution by pimps and traffickers

who combine kind words along with force and violence to make these young people do what

they want them to do. Furthermore, once removed from exploitive situations, child victims face

great obstacles on the road to recovery. Our child welfare system and criminal justice system

should respond providing protection and assistance. Pimps, traffickers, and exploiters who

undertake these heinous crimes should be arrested.

The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act is an important step to this end. It will give criminal

justice agents better tools to make cases against child sex traffickers. It will also make it

abundantly clear that buyers of sex with children criminally responsible for the abuse the reek on

sexually exploited children. The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act is also the only legislation

that provides critical funding for services for child victims of trafficking so that they may start to

heal from their horrific experiences. We must protect our vulnerable children in every way

possible. I urge you to co-sponsor this important piece of legislation.


[Your name]

 ECPAT USA © 2015



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Rosanna Maietta,



Washington, D.C. – January 26, 2015 – As Super Bowl week commences, ECPAT-USA, a leading anti-trafficking organization, and the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), the sole national trade association representing all segments of the nation’s hotel industry, today urged members of the travel and entertainment industry, as well as other local businesses and law enforcement, to increase their level of vigilance with respect to human trafficking.

Every year, 100,000 children are trafficked for the purposes of prostitution in the United States. Although those numbers are tragic in and of themselves, the incidence of trafficking is thought to rise even higher in connection with high density events like the Super Bowl. The only way to effectively turn the tide against traffickers is a coordinated and concerted effort involving law enforcement, non-profit organizations focused on the trafficking, government agencies, and businesses whose facilities or services are utilized by traffickers in perpetrating their terrible crimes.

ECPAT-USA and AH&LA have sought to engage in such a coordinated effort by jointly creating online training programs for hotel employees who may come into contact with traffickers and their victims on hotel properties. This training program has been utilized by thousands of hotel employees, and is a prime example of the types of collaboration needed in confronting trafficking.

More information regarding the online training program is available here:

More information on child trafficking broadly is available here: www.

# # #

Serving the hospitality industry for more than a century, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) is the sole national association representing all segments of the 1.8 million-employee U.S. lodging industry, including hotel owners, REITs, chains, franchisees, management companies, independent properties, state hotel associations, and industry suppliers. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AH&LA provides focused advocacy, communications support, and educational resources for an industry generating $155.5 billion in annual sales from 4.9 million guestrooms.

About ECPAT-USA: ECPAT-USA is the leading policy organization in the United States seeking to end the commercial sexual exploitation of children through awareness, advocacy, policy, and legislation. ECPAT-USA is a member of the ECPAT International network, with offices in 78 countries. For more information visit www.

ECPAT-USA provides input to the White House National Action Plan on Responsible Business Conduct

ECPAT-USA provides input to the White House National Action Plan on Responsible Business Conduct

By: Camelia Tepelus and Michelle Guelbart

In September 2014, President Obama announced that the US Government would develop a National Action Plan (NAP) consistent with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, in order to promote responsible business conduct abroad and to demonstrate that US businesses are reliable and accountable international partners.

ECPAT-USA Director of Private Sector Engagement, Michelle Guelbart, MSW and ECPAT-USA Advisor, Camelia Tepelus, PhD provided extensive input at the first open dialogue on the US Government NAP, held on December 15, 2014 at the NYU Stern School of Business. ECPAT-USA further submitted written input to the government, sharing ECPAT’s experience on collaborating with US businesses and providing recommendations on the need to prioritize protection of children’s rights and prevention of sexual exploitation and trafficking in business supply chains controlled by US businesses.

The ECPAT-USA input is available for consult here.