In our conference call “Spotlight on Human Trafficking and Child Protection” we covered updates from the Hill, how World Vision approaches child protection, how current legislation can help end human trafficking, and what you can do to make a difference. If you missed it, no need to worry — we have the recording and highlights here so you can catch up on what you missed and share what you learned with friends!

Amanda Mootz, Advocacy Mobilization Specialist, welcomes advocates and introduces the topic of human trafficking.; timestamp 02:20.

Amanda Mootz, Advocacy Mobilization Specialist, gives an update from the Hill; timestamp 05:35.

U.S. foreign affairs budget; timestamp 05:40:

U.S. foreign assistance is less than 1% of the federal budget — a tiny proportion of what the U.S. spends, but it saves lives and is primarily implemented through non-governmental organizations such as World Vision who have expertise on the ground.

  • In March, the Administration proposed almost a 40 percent cut to U.S. foreign assistance, and in May, they came back with a revised proposal including 30 percent cuts.
  • You’ve been busy! In June, Congress was contacted around 170 thousand times regarding U.S. foreign assistance by advocates across many organizations including World Vision. Thank you!
  • Just last week the House subcommittee released their projected numbers for FY18, which includes a 10 percent cut to U.S. foreign assistance. Now, the Appropriations Committee in the House will work to finalize these numbers.
  • The Senate is not expected to move on their spending bill until September. This means your advocacy on this issue will continue to be important!

Take action here to support U.S. foreign assistance programs! This is especially important if your Representative sits on the Appropriations Committee (learn about your representative here).

The Reach Every Mother and Child Act (REACH Act); timestamp 09:40:

  • We are still waiting on the reintroduction of this bill this congressional session and are hoping to see the Senate’s version before the August recess.
  • Members of Congress involved in sponsoring the REACH Act are currently working on language changes.

Beth Ann Saracco, Policy Advisor for Food Security and Livelihoods, shares about the hunger crisis in East Africa and the Middle East; timestamp 11:03:

  • The hunger crisis is affecting nearly 25.5 million people who are in need of humanitarian assistance in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and South Sudan. That number is larger than the populations of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and Philadelphia combined.
  • In February, famine was declared in South Sudan and has since eased thanks to humanitarian aid, but there is still incredible need.
  • Recently, World Vision President, Rich Stearns, traveled to Northern Kenya (near the border of South Sudan) and was shocked by the sheer number of people in need. Learn more about what he saw and experienced on his trip.
  • Because of your advocacy, last fiscal year, we were able to secure an additional 990 million dollars in the U.S. budget to respond to this crisis, but there is still a need for about 4.9 billion dollars to fully address urgent needs in famine areas that include South Sudan and Somalia but also Nigeria and Yemen.
  • Last month, Margaret Schüler, Senior Vice President of World Vision, was asked to testify before Congress. She called on our elected officials to secure funding for the Food for Peace program and the McGovern Dole Food for Education program. These programs provide emergency food aid as well as long term assistance that creates resilience.

It is essential that governments and individuals like yourself respond. Take action and donate.

Rahsaan Graham, Senior Director for Child Development and Protection, talks about World Vision’s approach to child protection; timestamp 18:10.

  • Child Protection is defined as any and all measures that we take to prevent or respond to any form of violence, abuse, exploitation, or neglect facing children.
  • The World Labor Organization reports that sex and labor trafficking is a 30 billion dollar industry, second only to the drug trade.
  • World Vision’s approach to child protection strengthens systems by empowering children, strengthening families and caregivers through education, mobilizing faith communities, and partnering with communities and influencing governments.

Jessica Bousquette, Policy Advisor for Child Protection, talks about the reauthorization of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act; timestamp 29:00.

  • The Trafficking Victims Protection Act is a landmark piece of legislation that was originally passed in 2011. It was the first big piece of trafficking legislation that was comprehensive — it detailed how the U.S. would respond to trafficking within our borders and internationally. It focuses on prosecution, protection of survivors, prevention of trafficking, and partnership with governments, organizations, and communities. This legislation has to be reauthorized every 2-3 years because the nature of trafficking changes.
  • During the last reauthorization, the bill was stuck in Congress but because of advocates’ persistence, Congress re-prioritized the bill and reauthorized it.
  • The Frederick Douglas Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Act recently passed the House. We are excited that this reauthorization highlights the prevention of trafficking and:
    1. Strengthens the Child Soldier Prevention Act, which restricts the U.S. government from providing military assistance to countries that are using children in their armed forces.
    2. Recognizes the importance of the Bureau of International Labor Affairs and their anti-child labor program.
    3. Calls on USAID to develop child protection strategies for countries that are listed in the Trafficking in Persons Report as not addressing issues of trafficking well.
    4. Strengthens the Trafficking in Persons Report.
  • The Senate currently has two bills focusing on domestic trafficking, but we are still waiting on an international version of the bill. These will need to be reconciled with the House bill before becoming law.

Ask your Senators to prioritize the reauthorization of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act before the end of September.

Amanda Mootz, Advocacy Mobilization Specialist, gives next steps for advocates; timestamp 47:35.

Being able to influence our elected officials is a gift, but it only has the hope of working if we use it. In the parable of Matthew 25, God calls us to not only steward our financial resources but to steward all of our resources, including our influence, for his kingdom work. You can do that by:

  • Communicating what you learned today to our leaders by contacting your members of Congress via email, Twitter, or phone calls. We have an easy tool you can use to get started, just personalize it and hit send — we will do the rest for you!
  • Meeting with your members of Congress in person. We will guide you every step of the way. Join advocates around the country who are already taking this step.
  • Checking out our meeting resources and more. If you still want to learn more about meetings or our issues, our resources page will provide you will all of the information you will need.
  • Reading advocate stories to get inspired! Learn about advocates like Gennie Stevenson who met with their member of Congress in person. Each of these advocates had different experiences showing that there is no one right way to have a meeting.

Photo: As the region is prone to facing issues of child labor and trafficking, World Vision has started 6 nonformal education centers with the aim of keeping the children engaged in studies and other activities; this in turn would make them less vulnerable to such social vices. © 2014 World Vision/ photo by Annila Harris

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