A leader in the global movement to end violence against women and children, Lena Alhusseini has worked with USAID, UNICEF, and other international organizations on child protection and human trafficking issues. She also founded the Jordan River Foundation’s child protection unit, the first organization to address child abuse in the Middle East. Ms. Alhusseini has been honored as a White House Champion of Change for her work to combat domestic violence.
“Human trafficking violates every single one of us. As long as there is one child suffering, our collective dignity as human beings is violated. Our work will continue until all forms of violence, slavery, and human trafficking end—and all inalienable human rights are upheld, valued, and respected.”
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
— Anne Frank
“We stand with survivors. We stand with our fellow girls out there. They are us and we are them—and we won't stop telling our stories until we're all free from the threat of commercial sexual exploitation. Girls are not for sale.”
“We need each and every health care professional to use the power of their role to help heal the victims and end the scourge of modern-day slavery.”
“It shouldn’t matter that it’s not your daughter, sister, or friend whose life is being destroyed. Human trafficking is everybody's problem, and we must end it.”
“In the pandemic problem that is human trafficking, people who are nameless, faceless, and voiceless to the outside world are being bought, sold, beaten, caged, silenced, and exploited every day. It will take the collective effort and will of governments, advocates, law enforcers, prosecutors, and politicians to set them free and to abolish this sinister problem for good—and we must.”
— Sarah Moore Grimké
Milan Jordan Bien-Aimé and Ali Gabriel Jordan Bien-Aimé
College student, Writer; High School Student, Activist
At the age of twelve, Milan spoke at his first rally calling for the New York State Human Trafficking Act and his younger brother, Ali, attended its signing in Albany in 2007. Since then, both have respectively worked in elected officials’ offices and supported efforts to ensure positive social change. Ali has led high school initiatives that address equality, sexual harassment and diversity issues and has spoken at conferences dedicated to exploring gender issues and “masculinities.”
“We come from a long line of strong Afro-Caribbean women, including a suffragette great-grandmother. As young men of African descent, we have a responsibility to continue challenging gender and other prescribed roles so that everyone is judged as a full human being. As Einstein said: ‘Imagination is more important than knowledge.’ We must imagine what equality feels like if we ever want to end violence and discrimination.”
Taina Bien-Aimé has dedicated her career to ending violence and discrimination against women and girls around the world. She was one of the founding Board Members of Equality Now, an international human rights organization, and later served as its Executive Director for a decade. As the Executive Director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, Ms. Bien-Aimé continues to advocate for the right of each individual to enjoy the full spectrum of fundamental human rights. She also serves on the Boards of the New York Women's Foundation and New York City's Commission on Gender Equity.
“I never understood why prostitution is so often considered an exception to gender-based violence and discrimination when, in fact, prostitution exists only because of it.”
"Working to end sex trafficking, Ms. Taylor recalls a pimp’s modus operandi, “Young girls, especially troubled young girls, you promise them heaven. They’ll follow you to hell.”
“I swear never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
— Elie Wiesel
“No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck.”
— Frederick Douglass
Model and Actress
protection, and the prevention of nuclear proliferation.
“It’s easier to be ignorant and say I don’t know about the problem. But once you know, once you’ve seen it in their eyes, then you have a responsibility to do something. There is strength in numbers and, if we all work together as a team, we can be unstoppable.”
— Craig Kielburger
Rabbi Angela Warnick Buchdahl
Senior Rabbi, Central Synagogue
“Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt and God freed you from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.”
Jennifer and Peter Buffett
Co-Chairs, NoVo Foundation
“We know there will be a time when no girl or woman is sexually exploited. No oppression is inevitable, and we stand with and support girls and women who are working to create a better life for themselves and their daughters.”
Co-Founder and Co-Director,
A CALL TO MEN
“When men stop purchasing the bodies of women and girls, this horrific industry of violence will be brought to an end.”
As Chair and CEO of Xerox Corporation, Ursula Burns helped the company become the world’s most diversified business services company serving enterprises and governments. Ms. Burns, who regularly appears on Fortune’s and Forbes’ lists of the world’s most powerful women, is a Board Director of American Express Corporation, Exxon Mobil Corporation, and the Ford Foundation. In 2009, President Obama appointed Ms. Burns to help lead the White House’s national program on STEM and she was appointed Chair of the President’s Export Council in 2015 after serving as Vice Chair. She also provides leadership counsel to several educational and non-profit organizations.
"The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people."
— Martin Luther King, Jr.
“I was astounded when I read the statistics about the proliferation of human sex trafficking in this day and age. Thanks to the commitment and dedication of New York’s New Abolitionists, of which I am proud to be part, there’s another laser-like spotlight focused on helping victims and eradicating this despicable scourge and crime against the helpless and defenseless. Remember, we are all only removed from each other by six degrees of separation.”
Judge Fernando Camacho
“I am determined to find more partners in the struggle to eradicate the blight that is prevalent in many of our communities—the commercial sexual exploitation of our children.”
Katie Cappiello and Meg McInerney
Founding Directors, The Arts Effect
“Just blocks from where you live, girls are being bought and sold. Girls we know and love. Girls with the same potential, dreams, and right to freedom as your daughters, sisters, friends, and our students. Their voices matter. Their stories will change you. Listen . . . and take action.”
Survivor of Human trafficking
“When I was forced into prostitution, I did not know what ‘trafficking’ was. My trafficker stole my childhood. I want to make sure that no girl ever again suffers what I went through. I hope someday that I can show my face without fear for my safety or my family’s, but until then I will speak out until I have no voice left.”
“Human trafficking is a form of slavery that exploits our neighbors for selfish pleasure and profit. It must end.”
“If any of us is enslaved, all of us are enslaved. We must all look into ourselves to see what it is in us that makes slavery possible and what we can best do to root that out.”
Debra Martin Chase
Television and Movie Producer
“It is the obligation of a civilized society to protect those who cannot protect themselves. I am horrified by the evil that some women must endure in order to survive.”
“I was inspired to be part of this movement because I was once a child slave myself. My goal is to help inform people all over the world that modern-day slavery is still going on around us.”
Lori L. Cohen and Christopher Rothko
Director, Anti-Trafficking Initiative, Sanctuary for Families; Human Rights Leader
“Trafficking is not just a woman’s issue. Both men and women share the responsibility to end this fundamental human rights violation. In a society that glorifies ‘pimp culture,’ we continue to teach our two sons and our daughter alike that the purchase of one person by another for sex is not acceptable.”
Judy Collins, now 76, is as creatively vigorous as ever—writing, touring worldwide, and nurturing fresh talent. She is a modern-day Renaissance woman who is also an accomplished filmmaker, activist, record label head, musical mentor, and an in-demand keynote speaker for mental health and suicide prevention. She continues to create music of hope and healing that lights up the world and speaks to the heart.
"But when I close my eyes I dream of Peace
I dream of flowers on the hill
I dream I see my mother smiling
When I close my eyes I dream of Peace"
— Song for Sarajevo
Judge Michael Corriero
Executive Director, New York Center for Juvenile Justice
“Teenagers who are victims of sex trafficking urgently need services and support, not criminalization. They need to be seen and treated not according to an ill-conceived adult criminal standard, but rather, precisely for who they are—New York’s children.”
Women’s Creative Director, Calvin Klein Collection
Klein Collection after working directly with Calvin Klein. He debuted his first collection for the house in 2003. Known for his iconic and reductive yet sophisticated designs, Mr. Costa’s work has received critical acclaim and numerous awards, including the Womenswear Designer of the Year Award in 2006 and 2008 from the Council of Fashion Designers of America.
“Enslave the liberty of but one human being and the liberties of the world are put in peril.”
— William Lloyd Garrison
“Regardless of sex, of age, of color, of sexual orientation—we’re all equal, and by treating a single person with fewer rights than we all deserve, a disservice is done to humanity.”
“We must somehow become each other’s harbors to protect one another from the wolves. We must become each other’s better angels or we are all doomed.”
Chief Counsel to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
Alphonso David is an attorney, law professor, and policy advisor with extensive litigation and management experience. For close to two decades, he has worked on groundbreaking litigation, legislation, policy initiatives, and advocacy to advance the rights of disadvantaged communities, including Governor Andrew Cuomo’s legislation to strengthen human trafficking laws. Mr. David currently serves as Chief Counsel to Governor Cuomo and oversees all significant legal and policy deliberations affecting New York State.
“Although we have achieved some success, there is significant work to be done to eradicate the cancerous plague of human trafficking. Collectively, we must be relentless in our fight to protect the voiceless, and the disenfranchised. Our obligation is not simply a legal one, but also a moral one.”
Sister Joan S. Dawber
Executive Director, LifeWay Network
“I am committed to changing the culture of ignorance and apathy that enable modern-day slavery. Until this scourge is ended, I am equally committed to caring for women who have suffered the experience of trafficking.”
An internationally recognized leader in healthcare, Dr. Angela Diaz is devoted to helping the most vulnerable teens. Under her leadership, the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center has developed programs to address the health needs of victims of human trafficking and at-risk teens at large, including prevention and treatment of pregnancy, HIV, violence, trauma, and sexual abuse. Through her health advocacy and policy work in the United States, as well as Africa, Asia and Latin America, Dr. Diaz has had a significant impact on the lives and health of young people worldwide.
“The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world.”
— Paul Farmer
Chairman and Senior Executive, IAC and Expedia, Inc.
and Graham Holdings Company and is a Trustee of New York University.
“Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”
— Martin Luther King, Jr.
Mayor David Dinkins
Former Mayor of New York City
“Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.”
— Martin Luther King, Jr.
Filmmaker and Philanthropist
“The women and girls forced into prostitution in unthinkable numbers day after day are not simply an unfortunate fact of life. Their lives cannot be sacrificed to the idea that it is somehow an inevitable fact that men will always seek to serve their ‘needs’ in this way. Change is coming and now is the time to make it so. Abolition of demand. Abolition of exploitation and violence. Abolition of enslavement now and forever.”
“The human person ought never to be sold or bought as if he or she were a commodity. Whoever uses human persons in this way and exploits them, even if indirectly, becomes an accomplice of injustice.”
— Pope Francis
pioneered TV’s audience-participation talk format. He has earned 20 Emmy Awards, the Peabody Award, the President’s Award from the National Women’s Political Caucus, the Media Person of the Year from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance, and induction into the Academy of Television’s Hall of Fame. Marlo Thomas is an award-winning actress, author, and activist who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2014 . She has been honored with four Emmy Awards, the Peabody Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Grammy Award, and induction into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame. She broke ground as television’s first single working woman as the creator and star of That Girl, and co-founded the Ms. Foundation for Women.
“Human trafficking and sexual exploitation are epidemics that must be eradicated. Today, as throughout our history, the fundamental rights of women, children, all people, are freedom, equality, and nothing less.”
Judge Betty Weinberg Ellerin
Senior Counsel, Alston & Bird, and Former Justice of the New York State Appellate Division, First Department
“We must educate the public that sex trafficking is an everyday occurrence on the streets of every city, town, and state in this country and not a phenomenon limited to distant parts of the world. Every pimp is a trafficker. We must intensify our efforts to enforce existing laws and enact more stringent laws against these heinous predators who destroy the lives of vulnerable girls and women.”
“I am the expert of my own experience.”
The Reverend Que English
Senior Pastor, Bronx Christian Fellowship Church
“Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”
— Matthew 25:40, NRSV
Thomas Estler wrote the Abolitionista! comic book series to educate young people about human trafficking and empower them with tools to protect themselves. His organization, Freedom Ladder, takes his comic book workshops into schools, YMCAs, homeless shelters, and churches where he is equipping the next generation of Abolitionists to live safe, powerful, inspired lives.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
— Edmund Burke
New York City Council Member, Queens
“Although the common public perception about sex trafficking is that it is only prevalent in foreign countries, the truth is that it is here and now—and has health, economic, and social implications for all New Yorkers.”
Writer, Actor, and Comedian
“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.”
— Benjamin Franklin
its first Legal Director in February 2015. Previously, he worked for a decade as a family litigator with Sanctuary for Families and created Sanctuary’s LGBT Initiative. Mr. Figlewski co-authored the article “Trafficking and the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Young Men and Boys” for the Lawyer’s Manual on Human Trafficking and created a legal clinic for at-risk LGBTQ youth. He oversees LeGaL’s network of clinics, attorney referral system, and the creation of its Public Interest Law Committee to place cases of significance for the LGBT community with leading pro bono attorneys.
“LGBTQ youth without stable means of financial and emotional support are particularly susceptible to commercial sexual exploitation.”
Former Deputy Sheriff,
Buffalo County Sheriff’s Office
“We must treat sex trafficking as a violent crime because the victims experience countless hours of sexual abuse and psychological torture. The traffickers who recruit them intentionally seek them out for monetary gain and exploit them with no regard for their life or well being.”
“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”
— Maya Angelou
“I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.”
— Audre Lorde
Intervention Program (VIP) in June 2008. In 1998, she was recognized as one of El Diario/La Prensa’s Outstanding Women of the Year for her commitment to social justice and women’s health. Prior to heading VIP, she worked at Inwood House, one of New York City’s leading teen pregnancy prevention programs.
“In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free.”
— Abraham Lincoln
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
United States Senator
“When we fight back against human trafficking, we hold dangerous criminals accountable, give victims a sense of justice, help them put their lives back together, and keep more New Yorkers safe.”
“If a girl can change her own life, she can change the lives of girls everywhere."
— Girl Be Heard Philosophy
“When my father spoke to us, his children, of the great wrong of slavery, I have felt his powerful frame tremble and his voice would break. He told us sad stories of the hideous wrong inflicted . . . .[Women] were almost invariably forced to minister to the worst passions of their masters, or be persecuted and die.”
— Josephine Butler
“We have the power to end this atrocity if we are vigilant in addressing vulnerabilities and inciting progressive cultural change.”
Director of Union Forum,
Union Theological Seminary
“The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.”
— Ida B. Wells-Barnett
Founder and President, Goren Group
“As wives and mothers, as sisters and daughters, we are deeply responsible for the influence we have on the human race. We are bound to exert it; we are bound to urge man to cease to do evil, and learn to do well. We are bound to urge them to regain, defend, and preserve inviolate the rights of all, especially those they have most deeply wronged.”
— Maria Weston Chapman
Chair of the Board, Sanctuary for Families and Senior Counsel, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
“Freedom cannot be achieved unless women have been emancipated from all forms of oppression. . . . Our endeavors must be about the liberation of the woman, the emancipation of the man, and the liberty of the child.”
— Nelson Mandela
“To express myself freely and creatively through art has been an integral part of my liberation. My art incorporates everyday items that other people might consider useless, as a metaphor that people whom our society might disregard—among them victims of human trafficking—are full of worth and beauty.”
Actor and Advocate
“I have no idea of submitting tamely to injustice inflicted either on me or on the slave. I will oppose it with all the moral powers with which I am endowed. I am no advocate of passivity.”
— Lucretia Mott
Philanthropist, Art Patron, and Advocate
“If we do not lay out ourselves in the service of mankind, whom should we serve?”
— Abigail Adams
Founder and President,
Apne Aap Women Worldwide
“Unless sex buyers are punished, women and girls will continue to be exploited.”
Global Executive Director, Equality Now
“To end sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation, laws and policies need to address the root cause — the demand for commercial sex. Without buyers, there is no ‘business.’”
The Reverend Dr. Katharine Henderson
President, Auburn Theological Seminary
“No single group or religious tradition alone can end human trafficking. Stopping this scourge will take leaders of faith and moral courage working together to protect the most vulnerable among us.”
Director of Anti-Trafficking Policy and Advocacy, Sanctuary for Families
and girls globally. For eight years, she served as a prosecutor, handling a
wide range of cases impacting women and girls. As the chief of one of the country’s first sex trafficking units, she implemented victim-based strategies to investigate and prosecute traffickers. As New York State Director of Equality Now, Ms. Hersh ran the organization’s global trafficking program. In 2012, she co-created Project Impact, a leadership-through-storytelling workshop for teen trafficking survivors, and Generation FREE, a student-led anti-trafficking activism community. Ms. Hersh is a 2016 recipient of New York Law Journal's Rising Stars Award.
“There are many factors which support prostitution in our world, but there is one above all others that has assured its continuance throughout the ages. It is the driving force of demand.”
— Rachel Moran
“In order to eradicate these vicious crimes of human trafficking, we need to stigmatize and penalize the buyers and traffickers in a way that stanches the demand. We have to shift the paradigm of thinking that all persons in prostitution are complicit. Let’s start listening to survivors and look at them for who they really are—victims who have had their basic human rights violently stripped
Ambassador Swanee Hunt
Chair of Demand Abolition (Hunt Alternatives), Eleanor Roosevelt Lecturer of Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and former U.S. Ambassador to Austria
Ambassador Swanee Hunt’s work writ large has spanned more than 60 countries. Combating the illegal sex industry for more than two decades, she has headed government delegations, consulted with survivors, taught university classes, written copiously for press and academic journals, worked on state and federal legislation, and spoken extensively to groups large and small. She has devoted millions of dollars and countless hours to this mission. Swanee is also a widely-exhibited photographer, author and composer. She was married to international conductor Charles Ansbacher and her world includes their three children, plus a menagerie of cat, parrot, horses, bison, and grandchildren.
"No body is for sale. With respectful, pragmatic, sustainable, and effective interventions, we can disrupt sex buying, which drives sex trafficking. No buyer, no business."
Activist, Lecturer, Writer, and Documentary Filmmaker
activist. He is also the former host of the Emmy Award-nominated series,
Reel Works with Byron Hurt. His documentary, Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and has been broadcast nationally on PBS’s Emmy Award-winning series, Independent Lens.
“It is by standing up for the rights of girls and women that we truly measure up as men.”
— Archbishop Desmond Tutu
R. Evon Idahosa
Founder and Executive Director, PathFinders Justice Initiative
seeks justice for female survivors of child sex abuse and sex trafficking through judicial reform, empowerment, and community transformation.
“Peace and injustice against women are uncommon bedfellows, for peace cannot lie in the presence of injustice for long without rising.”
Founder and Executive Director, Beasister2asister
“We need every woman, every girl, everywhere to say NOT MY SISTER! As many times as necessary—until every woman and girl is free.”
Survivor of Human Trafficking and Advocate
“Human trafficking deprives a person of dignity and identity. As a survivor, I firmly believe that the hope for the future is in the voices of those who dare to speak up against this evil industry. By raising awareness in communities, we empower survivors and honor those who did not live to tell.”
LaTanya Richardson Jackson
Actor and Producer
“Human trafficking is a vile/exploitative/ criminal activity which must be exposed and driven into hell. I am honored to be a soldier in the fight against such evil.”
Cherie Jimenez is the Founder and Director of the EVA Center, an exit program for prostituted women. Understanding that sex trafficking cannot be stamped out without addressing prostitution, Jimenez, along with other survivors and activists, is committed to ending prostitution and the dynamics of inequality that render so many woman and girls vulnerable to exploitation.
“I have had the privilege of meeting and listening to the stories of hundreds of young women over the years at the EVA Center. Through them, I have learned how their life circumstances have worsened over these past decades and how our own failed policies and growing inequities have resulted in too many women and girls being victimized in a growing and more brutal sex trade. It’s totally unacceptable.”
exposed to violence in their homes and communities. Prior to this role, Ms. Jimenez had served over twelve years in public service roles. She was appointed the first Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, where she established five Family Justice Centers that brought together community organizations, government agencies, and district attorneys’ offices to provide comprehensive services to victims of domestic violence, elder abuse, and sex trafficking. Ms. Jimenez also served as Deputy Police Commissioner of Community Affairs at the New York City Police Department, and began her public service career at the City’s Fire Department.
“The function of freedom is to free someone else.”
– Toni Morrison
Playwright, Actor, and Poet
“If we are willing to fearlessly acknowledge that the buying and selling of any person anywhere devalues and endangers all people everywhere, if we are willing to hold ourselves accountable for the myth that trading in human lives is ‘inevitable,’ then we can awaken from the global, collective nightmare that is human trafficking.”
“Live simply, so that others may simply live.”
Judge Judith Kaye served as the first woman judge, and then Chief Judge, of New York State's highest court. On the Court of Appeals, she not only gained a national reputation for groundbreaking decisions but also instituted reforms across the court system, including specialized domestic violence courts. Since joining the firm of Skadden Arps, her "passion project" focused on adolescents--keeping them in school and out of prison, leading to healthy, constructive lives. Judge Kaye died on January 6, 2016 at the age of 77 years old.
"Having spent more than half a century in the law, I have seen firsthand the progress of our concept and system of justice, particularly in the area of gender bias and gender abuse. May commitment to equal dignity and equal opportunity, and an end to gender violence and exploitation, continue to define our nation and our world."
Commissioner Raymond Kelly
President of Risk Management Services at Cushman & Wakefield and Former New York City Police Commissioner
“Women, many of them minors, are often dragooned into prostitution from impoverished circumstances overseas and domestically, with empty promises of legitimate employment. They are often threatened, brutalized, and too frightened to report abuses to police. We hope to change that and at the same time, bring the worst traffickers to justice and give them maximum jail time.”
Survivor of Human Trafficking and Advocate
“It’s impossible to describe the experience of being owned by someone else, but what I can tell you is that I will work tirelessly for the rest of my life to stop other people from having to
experience what I did.”
Survivor of Human Trafficking and Advocate
“I am standing up not only for myself but for all survivors. I want New York to strengthen its laws to help women going through trafficking to rebuild their lives and also to punish pimps and customers.”
“Never delegate. Always empower.”
— Mike Krzyzewski
Judge Judy Harris Kluger
Executive Director, Sanctuary for Families
“The prolonged slavery of women is the darkest page in human history.”
— Elizabeth Cady Stanton
“Never are courage, strength, patience, and conviction on better display than by survivors of human trafficking. The fight against this terrible crime calls for prosecutors, law enforcement, and advocates to match and mirror those virtues on behalf of the victims we meet and the so many others we never will.”
Jennifer L. Kroman
Director of Pro Bono Practice, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, LLP and Sanctuary for Families Board Member
As the director of the pro bono program at the international law firm Cleary Gottlieb, Jennifer Kroman regularly represents individuals who are subjected to gendered-based violence, including sex trafficking. In 2014, she was honored by the New York Law Journal as a “Lawyer Who Leads By Example” for this work. Ms. Kroman frequently speaks on the interwoven legal needs of trafficking survivors.
“With every client, I learn to listen better and think harder about the complex needs of those living in the throes and aftermath of trafficking. As a society, we can--and we must--do better for these courageous individuals even as we work together to eradicate human trafficking once and for all.”
President, The Democracy Alliance
“All across the spectrum from mainstream magazine covers to high-end cocktail bars to porn videos, women are objectified and commoditized. This will change primarily through the empowerment of women and girls—through their insistence on a different world—but it won’t change fast enough, or thoroughly enough, until more and more men renounce the dominant culture—and do it visibly.”
Imam Khalid Latif
Executive Director and Chaplain, The Islamic Center at New York University
“I am only one but still I am one. I cannot do everything but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”
Executive Director, Restore NYC
“My mom was a poor young woman who came to this country and was able to find freedom, hope, and the opportunity to build a life that fulfilled her deepest longings. That is what our country is about. Every girl and woman who steps foot into our country, into this great city of New York, deserves what she was able to find.”
Executive Director, New York Asian Women’s Center
“Labor and sex trafficking assaults the personhood and sense of self-worth of the survivor. If we are complicit in buying trafficked goods or services then we too lose our dignity. We must embrace survivors and, as community members, be more responsible, and end the exploitation of each other for the sake of convenience or profit.”
Director, Sanctuary for Families’ Center for Battered Women’s Legal Services
Battered Women’s Legal Services, the largest legal services program
dedicated to victims of domestic violence, human trafficking, and gender-based violence in the country. Ms. Leidholdt co-founded the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women in 1998 and the New York State Anti-Trafficking Coalition in 2005. She teaches at Columbia Law School and is co-editor of Lawyer’s Manual on Human Trafficking: Pursuing Justice for Victims.
“I appeal to you, my friends, as mothers: are you willing to enslave your children? You stare back with horror and indignation at such questions. But why, if slavery is not wrong to those upon whom it is imposed?”
— Angelina Grimké
Survivor of Human Trafficking
“When I was imprisoned by my employers, all I wanted was the chance to pursue my education. Now I am attending college, and I made a poster for a class presentation on human trafficking. No one in my class knows that I was a slave, not even my professor. When I graduate, I want to become an international human rights activist. No matter how powerful a person is, no one has the right to oppress another human being.”
Judge Jonathan Lippman
Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals of the State of New York
“In cases involving human trafficking, New York’s courts see the injustice of human beings—from halfway across the world and from our own backyards—who have been subjected to horrific abuse and victimized in the worst possible way. I am proud to say our courts are taking a leadership role in responding to this terrible scourge on our society.”
Rabbi Haskel Lookstein
Senior Rabbi of the Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun
“A non-Jew approached Hillel and asked him to define Judaism’s essence while standing on one foot. Hillel responded: “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor; the rest is commentary . . . .”
— Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat, 31A
“Human trafficking, appropriately described as modern-day slavery, has no place in this nation.”
The Reverend Sally N. MacNichol and Quentin Walcott
Co-Executive Directors, CONNECT (Safe Families/Peaceful Communities)
“Our shared leadership reflects the belief that men and women must work in partnership to prevent and end all forms of violence and exploitation.”
“Tragically, trafficking is still a cruel, brutal, widespread, and inescapable reality that dominates the lives of millions; and the practice of enslaving children in sexual trafficking represents the worst of the worst.”
“Human trafficking has no place in our city and in our world. No one should be exploited and deprived of their freedom. It is our collective responsibility to end this abominable crime now.”
“I moved to New York alone as a teenager, which is tough even with support. Being a father and a teacher, I believe our prime responsibility is to keep our kids—all kids everywhere—safe. No woman, girl, boy, or man should suffer for someone else's sickness.”
Ambassador Sarah E. Mendelson
U.S. Representative to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, Scholar, and Author
"With so much money being made and so many people involved, it is disheartening that the movement to end modern-day slavery has not yet reached a tipping point. I am hopeful the Global Goals that the international community signed on to in 2015 present an enormous opportunity to grow the movement."
“Through our work in Mentari, we have come across a lot of people who want to give themselves for the fight for freedom—but we know that if you want to join this cause then fighting for freedom will inevitably cost some of your own freedoms. There is a price and in the world we live, sadly freedom isn’t free. But we press into hope, allowing that to fuel our imagination for a better world for all.”
“I don't feel like I can change the world. I don't even try. I only want to change this small life that I see standing in front of me, which is suffering.”
“I believe that where your story begins doesn't have to be where it ends. There is hope, healing, and redemption for all of us. The true power of abolition work is unlocking that for everyone.”
Luz Towns-Miranda and Lin-Manuel Miranda
Psychologist; Composer, Lyricist, and Actor
Dr. Luz Towns-Miranda has practiced psychology for 30 years since earning her Ph.D. and postdoctoral degrees from NYU. She has served as a psychologist at a therapeutic nursery and children’s clinic at Bronx Lebanon Hospital and trained physicians in the Family Practice Residencies both there and at the Montefiore Medical Center. She evaluated and treated foster care children and was Firehouse Clinician following 9/11. She has conducted custody and visitation evaluations for over 20 years, and serves on the State Board of Psychology. Lin-Manuel Miranda is a Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award-winning composer, lyricist, and actor. His musical In the Heights received four Tony Awards and a Grammy Award and he won an Emmy Award as lyricist of the 2013 Tony Awards opening number. Mr. Miranda is a 2015 MacArthur Fellow. He appears in the lead role of his Broadway musical Hamilton, for which he created the book, music, and lyrics and won a 2016 Pulitzer Prize.
“There but for the grace of God go I.”
“Whether or not the rise in sex trafficking is a response to a culture that condones sex for money, that objectifies women and girls, that plays into vulnerabilities resulting from poverty, homelessness, and abuse in the home, it is a reality and will not end without you.”
“Modern-day slavery does exist. The invisible people walk amongst us every day. I have the honor of crossing paths with them to let them know that there is help and hope.”
Rachel Moran is an Irish women’s rights activist, journalist, bestselling author of Paid For – My Journey Through Prostitution, and original founding member of SPACE International (Survivors of Prostitution-Abuse Calling for Enlightenment). She was homeless at fourteen-years old and then prostituted on the streets and in the brothels of Ireland for seven years. Ms. Moran works with survivors from across seven nations through SPACE International in collaboration with the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, Equality Now, the Coalition for the Abolition of Prostitution, Demand Abolition, the European Women’s Lobby, Turn Off the Red Light campaign, Apne Aap, and Stand Against Sexual Exploitation. She has spoken in over twenty countries about the human rights violations inherent to the global sex trade and advocates for the Nordic Model.
“Buying your way inside someone else’s body is a pathological act.”
Survivor of Prostitution, Associate Director of My Life My Choice, and Former Vice Chair of the Survivor Services Task Force
Audrey Morrissey was the first survivor in Massachusetts to mentor commercially sexually exploited girls. In 2003, she developed survivor-led programs with My Life My Choice to help prevent the exploitation of vulnerable young girls. She also co-authored My Life My Choice’s nationally-recognized exploitation prevention curriculum currently in use in 29 states. She was a 2008 recipient of the prestigious Petra Foundation Fellowship and a 2012 Boston Neighborhood Fellow. As Vice Chair of the Survivor Services Task Force, Ms. Morrissey reported to the Massachusetts Human Trafficking Task Force chaired by Attorney General Martha Coakley.
"People still do not know that vulnerable children in our own backyard are targeted, coerced, and manipulated into the commercial sex industry every day. We are not only fighting a billion dollar illegal sex industry, but also a society with its eyes closed."
“Violence is inherent in the sex industry. Numerous studies show that between 70 percent and 90 percent of children and women who end up in the commercial sex industry were sexually abused prior to entry. No other industry is dependent upon a regular supply of victims of trauma and abuse.”
— Rachel Lloyd
Co-Chair of the Board of Directors of Human Rights Watch
“Ending the abuse of trafficking will take the same determination the 19th century abolitionists found."
Liam Neeson is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. He has appeared in over 70 films including Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List, Neil Jordan’s biopic Michael Collins, the blockbuster Taken trilogy, Joe Carnahan's The Grey, Bill Condon’s biopic Kinsey, Bille August's Les Misérables, George Lucas' Star Wars Episodes 1, Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, Richard Curtis' Love Actually, and Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York. Neeson can be next seen re-teaming with Martin Scorsese on Silence and in JA Bayona's A Monster Calls. He is a proud father of two sons.
“Slavery is founded in the selfishness of man's nature – opposition to it, in his love of justice.”
– Abraham Lincoln
Founder, Equality Now
“We can change the world we live in. I want to live in a world where human trafficking is an artifact of history, not a multi-billion dollar industry that preys on forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation.”
Playwright and Screenwriter
“You will not fight your battles on my body anymore,” Salima, upon choosing death rather than allowing her body to be
Jesse Climenko Professor of Law and Director, Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice, Harvard Law School
Charles J. Ogletree, Jr., the Harvard Law School Jesse Climenko Professor of Law, and Founding and Executive Director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice (CHHIRJ), is a prominent legal theorist who has made an international reputation by taking a hard look at complex issues of law and by working to secure the rights guaranteed by the Constitution for everyone equally under the law. He opened the CHHIRJ offices in 2005 as a tribute to the legendary civil rights lawyer, mentor, and teacher of such great civil rights lawyers as Thurgood Marshall and Oliver Hill. The Institute has engaged in a wide range of important educational, legal, and policy issues over the past 10 years.
"A lawyer is either a social engineer or a parasite on society."
--Charles Hamilton Houston
Raised in Hungry, Judit Olah answered an ad to be a nanny in New York. The “nanny agency” owner met Ms. Olah at the airport and drove her to his apartment where he confiscated her passport until she paid him five weeks salary. She was placed with a family, but all of her earnings were taken from her and she was told she would face criminal activity if she told police or immigration authorities. She later learned that in 17 years, the agency owner brought eleven girls weekly from Hungary to the United States and took their earnings. In exchange for Ms. Olah’s cooperation in a case against him, she obtained a T visa permitting her to work legally in the United States.
"People entering the US desperately need to be informed of their legal rights. I know many people in New York who are trapped and terrified, not knowing how to escape."
“A dream you dream alone is only a dream, but a dream we dream together is reality.”
President, National Organization for Women, New York State
law enforcement accountable for combating human trafficking. Her
extensive advocacy includes launching NOW-New York City’s Ending the Business of Human Trafficking campaign, holding advertisers accountable for being the marketing arm of the sex trade, and assisting with the drafting of New York State’s groundbreaking anti-trafficking legislation.
“If we don’t stem the tide of the demand for prostitution, that demand will continue to be met by coercion, violence, force, and exploitation. Our great challenge as a society is to change attitudes, to stigmatize going ‘to a prostitute.’”
End Trafficking Program Officer, U.S. Fund for UNICEF
Emily Pasnak-Lapchick leads a national awareness and advocacy campaign about child trafficking, reaching over 55,000 constituents each year. She sits on the CORE Group for the NGO Committee to Stop Trafficking in Persons and serves as a Steering Committee member for Fair Trade Colleges and Universities. She is also a representative for GIFT box on behalf of Stop the Traffik USA. Ms. Pasnak-Lapchick has spoken on CNN International, at the United Nations and international conferences, and works with dozens of groups to advise them on how they can take action against human trafficking.
Human trafficking is not inevitable. This problem is created by humans, and it can be stopped by humans. The power to end it lies in each of us.
Orlando Patterson, Professor of Sociology at Harvard University and Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, is a renowned expert on the culture and practices of freedom and the comparative study of slavery, ethnicity, and inequality. His numerous works include, Slavery and Social Death; Freedom in the Making of Western Culture; The Cultural Matrix: Understanding Black Youth as well as three novels. His many awards include the National Book Award for Non-Fiction; the Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Award of the American Sociological Association; the Jamaica Institute’s Musgrave Gold Medal in Literature, and Jamaica’s national Order of Distinction.
“The tragedy unfolding in our inner cities is a time-slice of a deep historical process that runs far back through the cataracts and deluge of our racist past.”
Assemblywoman Amy Paulin
New York State Assembly Member
“Thousands of vulnerable young trafficking victims won’t escape the hellish life they were coerced into until our laws hold these evil predators accountable and give victims the support and services they need to break the vicious cycle of dependency and humiliation.”
Grace Perez has advocated against violence against women, particularly in Latina communities, for over 30 years. She helped organize the first Annual Gladys Ricart and Victims of Domestic Violence Memorial Walk in 2001 to remember Gladys Ricart, who was murdered by her abusive former boyfriend on the day she was to marry her fiancé. Each September 26th, hundreds of women and men parade through New York City dressed as brides or in black to mourn and memorialize Ms. Ricart and the many other victims whose lives have been taken through domestic violence. The Walk raises awareness about the devastating effects of this horrific crime on families and communities.
"Violence against women does not discriminate. It is a sad reality in every ethnic group, every religion, and every economic and social class."
Senior Adviser on Gender Equity, New York City Mayor's Office
“Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob, and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.”
— Frederick Douglass
Lydia Dean Pilcher
Movie Producer, Storyteller, and Activist
Lydia Dean Pilcher is an Academy Award nominated and Emmy Award winning producer of more than 35 feature films. Her company, Cine Mosaic, is focused on international narrative and documentary stories that promote imagination and diversity. She co-authored, “The Ms. Factor: The Power of Female Driven Content,” an economic case demonstrating the commercial viability of investing in female producers, directors, writers, and protagonists. Ms. Pilcher serves as VP of Motion Pictures, Producers Guild of America, and Chair, PGA Women’s Impact Network. She received a 2014 "Made in NY Award” presented by Mayor Bill de Blasio recognizing her significant contributions in promoting gender equality and environmental sustainability in the entertainment industry.
“Stories have the power to colonize, and stories have the power to set us free. “
Mary Lake Polan
Clinical Professor, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at the Yale University School of Medicine
“A woman's body belongs to her. Not to her family or to a stranger who is selling her for profit. Sex trafficking—selling and
imprisoning girls—is wrong and must be stopped, whether in the developing world or at home in the United States. And we all, men and women, need to work to stop sex trafficking.”
Ambassador Samantha Power
United States Ambassador to the United Nations
Ambassador Samantha Power is the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and a member of President Obama’s Cabinet. In her prior post at the White House, she played a pivotal role in bolstering the Administration’s efforts to end trafficking and assist victims. She was previously the Anna Lindh Professor of the Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and the founding Executive Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. She is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "A Problem from Hell": America and the Age of Genocide and Chasing the Flame: Sergio Vieira de Mello and the Fight to Save the World. Ambassador Power began her career as a journalist, reporting from conflict areas across the globe.
“Any nation that has struggled with slavery since its earliest days cannot tolerate slavery in the present or future for any nation. Combating human trafficking is one of the most important human rights campaigns of our time.”
“The time has come for our society and our courts to take a proactive and collaborative approach to combating the evil of trafficking in all its forms. By working together, we all become partners in justice, dedicated to ending the exploitation of the most vulnerable among us and truly changing lives.”
Professor of Psychology, John Jay College
“Although volume upon volume is written to prove slavery a very good thing, we never hear of the man who wishes to take the good of it by being a slave himself.”
— Abraham Lincoln
Human Rights Attorney
“Prostitution is the world's oldest oppression.”
“Sex trafficking victims need help and support, not criminal punishment. That's why I established a special human trafficking part in Nassau County to help women and punish those who exploit them.”
President and CEO, Legal Momentum
“Trafficking can thrive because this crime is often hidden from the public eye. We can fight this human rights violation by recognizing the signs and knowing how to help potential victims, particularly at-risk youth.”
Andrew Rosen and Jenny Dyer
CEO of Theory and Helmut Lang; Designer
"We believe in the fundamental right of all individuals to a life of dignity and freedom from the oppression of domestic and gender violence.”
Lecturer and Director of the Gender Violence Program,
Harvard Law School
Diane Rosenfeld teaches at Harvard Law School where she founded and directs the Gender Violence Program. Before teaching at Harvard, she served as Senior Counsel to the Office on Violence Against Women at the U.S. Department of Justice. Mr. Rosenfeld has dedicated her professional life to developing innovative legal policy on campus sexual assault, domestic violence homicide prevention, and ending the prostitution and commercial sexual exploitation of women and girls. She was recently selected to receive the “Woman of Inspiration Award 2016” by Ms. JD.
“Here’s the key to ending prostitution. Abide by and act upon these two basic principles:
“We cannot rely upon the silenced to tell us they are suffering.”
— Hanan Ashrawi
President and CEO, Covenant House
organization in the Americas helping exploited, homeless, runaway, and
trafficked children and youth.
“Jailing underage prostituted children and teenagers doesn't solve the problem of sexual exploitation; it's the johns, gangs, cartels, and pimps who buy them and sell them who need to be identified, punished, jailed, fined, and, if they use the bodies of minors, placed on sex offender lists.”
Human Trafficking Specialist, Worker Justice Center
“Slavery is a reality that humanity has had to deal with throughout history. Fortunately, there have always been and there will always be people who find slavery unacceptable and will risk everything to fight for freedom and equality for all. I welcome the fight.”
Board Member, Advocacy Lab
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."
— Nelson Mandela
sabbatical to raise her children and pursue volunteer work for various human rights organizations, Lynn Savarese finally turned to her passion— photography—several years ago. In addition to commercial work and fine arts pursuits, she works closely with not-for-profit organizations to help further their missions through strategic photography projects. As the photographer commissioned for the New Abolitionists project, Ms. Savarese has had the great honor and privilege of meeting and photographing over 200 amazing New Abolitionists and organizing five exhibitions to feature them since 2013.
“Empathy is the most radical of human emotions.”
“Through robust enforcement of the law and continued collaboration, we can help eliminate trafficking crimes and prevent the unlawful exploitation of victims in our state.”
“New York has played a historic role in the abolitionist movement but the movement does not belong to history. Rather, the fight for true and complete freedom is not over until slavery, in all its forms, is stamped out in every dark and forgotten corner of the world.”
Judge Toko Serita
Acting Supreme Court Justice and Presiding Judge, Queens Human Trafficking Intervention Court
“New York’s trailblazing effort to use the courts to combat human trafficking has opened a new front in the fight against modern day slavery.”
Ice Hockey Executive and Former Player
“We know that sex trafficking often increases during big games. Athletes have a special responsibility to educate our teams and fans that buying women and girls for sex doesn't make men cool or powerful. It lines the pockets of violent traffickers and taints the reputation of the games we love.”
“Let it not be said that I was silent when they needed me.”
— William Wilberforce
Executive Director, NoVo Foundation
“If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. If you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”
Robert Sargent "Bobby" Shriver III
Activist, Attorney, and Journalist
Bobby Shriver is an award-winning activist, attorney, and journalist. He served as Chairman of the California State Parks Commission and was elected to the Santa Monica Council and as the City’s Mayor. He organized the A Very Special Christmas series of records that has earned more than $100 million for the Special Olympics. With Bono, Mr. Shriver formed three organizations (DATA, The ONE campaign and (RED), a marketing initiative) that work for HIV treatment and public health in Africa. He is currently working with the Veterans Administration to create housing for veterans experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles.
“We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor.”
— The signers of the Declaration of Independence
fiction and non-fiction film to ignite dialogue about critical issues of our day. Tom Colicchio is a critically acclaimed chef with restaurants across the United States and a judge on the series Top Chef. As co-director and producer of the film A Place at the Table, a film that examines the shocking paradox of hunger in the wealthiest nation on earth, Ms. Silverbush and Mr. Colicchio stand at the forefront of a national movement to end hunger in the United States.
William C. Silverman
Partner and Pro Bono Program Head, Proskauer Rose, and Counsel for the New York State Anti-Trafficking Coalition
“Attorneys in the private sector should not be content with individual pro bono cases but rather should advocate for changes in the law and public policy that better protect victims and better ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice. Only then will we start addressing the scourge of human trafficking.”
Larry, Klara, Roger, Lisa, and Sarah Silverstein, and Tal Kerret
“The human capital in the world is not a commodity in itself, but a body that should be cherished for the soul. Any work created for such capital should not include degradation, abuse, or humiliation. Profits should never be at the expense of one’s freedom and
Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Founding Director of the Mindful Awareness Research Center, University of California, Los Angeles
“The greatest force against inequality is a self-awareness of our interdependent and changing nature.”
Joanne N. Smith
Executive Director, Girls for Gender Equity
“We must cause strategic disruption that changes society’s moral compass around trafficking, sexual assault, and violence against girls, women, and gender-nonconforming people of color. This commitment to ending gender-based violence and the devaluing of human rights is lifelong, and I'm honored to fight with survivors, allies, and friends as we say NO MORE."
“No child should ever be bought or sold in the sex trade anytime, anywhere. Our work is to create a world where every child is safe and cherished.”
Feminist Leader and Icon
“The human spirit can be even stronger than everything designed to suppress it.”
Immediate Past Chair, The President’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships
“Trafficking is a very lucrative business of high profits and low risk. We need to create a paradigm shift making it low profit and very high risk.”
Actor and Activist
Meryl Streep is an Academy Award- winning actress who has portrayed an astonishing array of characters in a career that has cut its own unique path across multiple mediums. She lends her efforts to Women for Women International, Equality Now, Women in the World Foundation, and Partners in Health. Ms. Streep will next be seen in Suffragette alongside Carey Mulligan and Helena Bonham Carter.
"These Strangers, in a foreign World,
Protection asked of me
Befriend them, lest yourself in Heaven
Be found a Refugee"
— Emily Dickinson
Poet, Journalist, Translator, and Human Rights Activist
Rose Styron is a poet, journalist, translator, and international human rights activist. She has traveled widely for Amnesty International and other organizations to secure the release of prisoners of conscience and shine a light on brutality and injustice. She has chaired PEN’s Freedom to Write Committee and the RFK Human Rights Awards. During two fellowships at Harvard’s Kennedy School and her monthly series for Voice of America, she explored the effective relationship between writers, artists, and public policy. She recently edited Selected Letters of William Styron. Her fifth volume of poetry, Fierce Day, was published in 2015.
“You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”
— William Wilberforce
“It takes a village to raise a child, and many, many villages to stop her from being violated and exploited.”
“It is by taking bold action towards justice that we practice liberation, heal ourselves, and shift violent paradigms, lifting the foot of oppression off our necks so we can be free, so we can envision communities without sexual violence and exploitation, and make that vision manifest.”
“Human trafficking can only be properly combated when good people across many disciplines band together. No one
government, non-profit, or industry can do it alone. United, we can succeed where individually we fail.”
District Attorney Kenneth P. Thompson
Brooklyn District Attorney
As Brooklyn District Attorney, Ken Thompson supervises over 500 prosecutors and runs one of the largest District Attorney’s Offices in the country. Prior to becoming DA, he served as a federal prosecutor in the United States Attorney's Office in Brooklyn and then established his own law firm, Thompson Wigdor LLP. In 2011, he successfully represented Nafissatou Diallo, the hotel housekeeper who reported that she was sexually assaulted in a Manhattan hotel room by Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund, after her case had been dropped by prosecutors. Most recently, District Attorney Thompson expanded and strengthened his Human Trafficking Unit in order to help trafficking survivors, as well as prosecute offenders, more effectively.
“Everyone should join this movement because these are our daughters, sisters, mothers and neighbors.”
Joseph Paul "Joe" Torre and Alice “Ali” Wolterman-Torre
Major League Baseball’s Executive Vice President and Chief Baseball Manager, Chairman of Safe at Home Foundation; President of Safe at Home Foundation
A legendary professional baseball player, coach, and television commentator, Joe Torre’s greatest success came as manager of the Yankees, winning four World Series titles, six American League (ASL) pennants, and ten AL East Division pennants. In 1996 and 1998, Mr. Torre was the AL Manager of the Year and, in 2014, he was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. In 2002, Mr. Torre and his wife, Ali Wolterman-Torre, founded the Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation and established safe rooms in schools called Margaret's Place which provide healing services to youth who have been traumatized by exposure to violence in their homes, schools, or communities and to empower them to live healthy lives free of violence. The program was named after Mr. Torre's mother, who suffered physical and verbal abuse by Mr. Torre's father when he was a child.
"Whether they bear our last name or not, we have the responsibility to ensure the care and safety of our children."
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
— Martin Luther King Jr.
President, Vera Institute of Justice
“It’s not as simple as being asked, ‘Are you a victim of trafficking?’ Victims often face cultural differences, a sense of shame, a deep-rooted fear of law enforcement—but they can overcome these barriers to getting help if they’re asked the right questions.”
Diane von Furstenberg
Fashion Designer and Icon
“Treating humans as inventory is the most horrible thing I can think of.”
President, Ford Foundation
“Sex trafficking anywhere is a threat to human dignity everywhere. All of us must stand up and lend our voice to this fight.”
New York City Urban Project Director, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship
“To free people from physical and spiritual chains, we must be set free from our own physical and spiritual slavery. We cannot testify to a freedom we don't know for ourselves.”
Charlotte A. Watson
Executive Director, New York State Judicial Committee on Women in the Courts
“There can be no debate about the efficacy or legitimacy of prostitution as ‘sex work’ until women and men, girls and boys, have experienced a generation or more of sustained, full legal and social equality in the absence of poverty. Until then, prostitution is harm.”
Chef and Owner of Barbuto, New York City, and Adele’s, Nashville
“Slavery has always, and always will, produce insurrections where it exists because it is a violation of the natural order of things, and no human power can much longer perpetuate it.”
— Angelina Grimké
Homemaker, Mother, Historian, and Landscape Designer
Whatever our station in life – our race, creed, ethnic origin, sexual identity or orientation – our common humanity binds us together and entitles each of us to a life of dignity and decency, free of compulsion by others or our circumstances. Standing together, we, the New Abolitionists, will be, in the words of Frederick Douglass, "freedom’s swift-winged angels" for all the men, women, and children who yet live under the yoke of this newest form of slavery: human trafficking.
“Freedom hath been hunted around the Globe. . . . O! receive the fugitive, and prepare in time an asylum for mankind.”
— Thomas Paine
“No person is your friend (or kin) who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow and be perceived as fully blossomed as you were intended.”
— Alice Walker
County Legislator, 21st Legislative District, Orange County, New York
“We must recognize that trafficking is happening in our communities; the failure to do so is tantamount to failing victims.
And we must address the cultural norms that create an atmosphere where people can buy and sell women and girls.”
Woworuntu from falling into the clutches of vicious traffickers. Her daring escape and bravery in helping prosecute her traffickers began her fight against trafficking. As the founder of Mentari, a U.S. representative at Vital Voices, a participant at the first Federal Survivor Forum Listening Session at the White House, and as New Jersey’s Human Trafficking Commissioner, Ms. Woworuntu raises awareness, empowers survivors, and lobbies for more effective measures to fight trafficking.
“Raising awareness through education is the best way to end human trafficking. I was trafficked in your backyard, in New York and in surrounding areas, and my experience taught me to make sure survivors are protected and receive proper help. I also want to see more effective anti-trafficking laws both implemented and enforced.”
Thanks to your support, last spring the New York State legislature unanimously passed the Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act (the TVPJA). We now eagerly await Governor Cuomo’s signature for it to become law. This groundbreaking bill represents sweeping reform of New York State’s anti-trafficking laws, by:
To be effective, however, we must now press for the full implementation of these new legal provisions by law enforcement and New York’s court system. The New York State Anti-Trafficking Coalition has recently submitted to the New York Police Department (the NYPD) a “white paper” calling for a paradigm shift in its response to trafficking and prostitution. Please join us in demanding that New York law enforcement stop the re-victimization of prostituted people by our justice system and instead hold accountable the real perpetrators—pimps, other traffickers, and sex buyers. Take the following action:
Write–or arrange to meet with–your local law enforcement office and communicate the message that many if not most people in prostitution are victims of human trafficking and need assistance, protection, and help exiting the conditions of their exploitation. Urge law enforcement to shift their resources and priorities in order to hold accountable the sex buyers who are fuelling this $100 billion dollar industry.
Make the issue of human trafficking a priority in your house of worship, school, work place, and community.
Stay informed about human trafficking and help educate others. Take a look at the following two videos, which offer insightful perspectives on the reality of human trafficking in the world today, and share these links broadly:
Help educate the young people in your life and community. Share with them Abolitionista, a graphic novel that provides a powerful entry point on the topic of human trafficking. The authors carefully designed the comic book with the help of the FBI and a dozen other counter trafficking organizations to educate young people about human trafficking and give them the tools to protect themselves. Read and share at: http://www.abolitionista.org/
Please also regularly visit the website of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, a non-governmental organization that works to end human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of women and children worldwide, at: http://www.catwinternational.org
For further resources and information visit:
Sanctuary for Families: Sanctuary for Families is New York's leading service provider and advocate for survivors of domestic violence, sex trafficking, and related forms of gender violence.
ECPAT-USA: ECPAT-USA is the leading anti-trafficking policy organization in the United States.
GEMS: Girls Educational and Mentoring Services’ (GEMS) mission is to empower girls and young women, ages 12–24, who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking to exit the commercial sex industry and develop to their full potential.
Restore: Restore NYC’s mission is to end sex trafficking in New York and restore the well-being and independence of foreign national survivors.
Each year, the U.S. Department of State publishes a comprehensive report on statistics as well as government programs aimed at prevention, protection and prosecution around the globe. This document is an invaluable resource for both governments and the general population: It provides a tool for international public policy actions by ranking each government in three Tiers based on its compliance with “minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking” as defined by the TVPA. It also provides a wealth of information for public education on all things related to trafficking, both domestic and foreign. Furthermore, the TIP Report provides a look at how the world is doing in the fight against trafficking by illustrating the progression of each set of statistics.
In 2003 the UN passed the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons (“The Protocol”). Human Trafficking falls under the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, which works with states around the world to develop stronger anti-trafficking laws and strategies. The UNODC hosts a section of pages on trafficking on its website, including pages on the facts and figures of human trafficking, prevention, protection and prosecution, tools and publications, and news and events. This website is an excellent resource for everything having to do with human trafficking on a global scale, condensed to a far more readable version than the extensive information contained in the TIP Report.
5.5 million children a year are victims of forced labor, and the average age girls are recruited by pimps into prostitution is 12 to 14, so clearly human trafficking can have an enormous impact on children and families. The OCFS provides a resource for child and family welfare workers so that they can better identify the signs that a child may be a victim of trafficking. This webpage provides a comprehensive overview of human trafficking as it relates to children, including the legal definition of trafficking, common myths about trafficking, average victim profiles, red flag signs of trafficking, a guide to interacting with victims, and law and protocols for protecting victims. The OCFS is one of eight agencies involved in the New York State Interagency Task Force on Human Trafficking.
Established in 2002, Polaris is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and advocating for victims of human trafficking both individually and as a whole. Polaris operates a trafficking hotline, partners with local organizations throughout the U.S. to provide client services and works with law enforcement and the legislature to ensure the best standards of protection of the rights of victims. Their website includes overview pages on sex and labor trafficking, signs of trafficking, international trafficking and resources for further information.
The U.S. Department of Justice, specifically the Office of Legal Policy, coordinates the national effort to develop anti-trafficking strategies and laws. Their website contains links to informational resources on trafficking, statutes, policies and reports, as well as the various offices in the U.S. government dedicated to working to eradicate human trafficking.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics
The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics gathers national data on incidents of law
enforcement and legal involvement in human trafficking. This document is one of many, but it provides a nice summary of the characteristics of human trafficking incidents in the U.S. 2008-2012. These statistics, illustrated through figures, demonstrate the scope of the problem of human trafficking in our country.
Each year, the U.S. Attorney General provides a report to Congress on the state of the anti-trafficking effort throughout the country. This report is quite extensive (at 181 pages), and includes sections on benefits and services given domestically to trafficking victims; immigration benefits for trafficking victims; investigations, prosecutions and sentences; international grants to combat trafficking; training and outreach; efforts of law enforcement; intra- and interagency coordination. The report also contains a condensed summary of the previous fiscal year and consequent recommendations for the following fiscal year.
President Obama established The President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, a goal of which was to develop an interagency plan to strengthen anti-trafficking action and victim services. Through a combined effort by the U.S. Department of Justice, Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Homeland Security, the Strategic Action Plan was developed, the first of its kind. It is a 5-year plan for “coordination, collaboration and capacity” amongst government and non-government organizations to strengthen U.S. anti-trafficking efforts and provide support to victims.
We wish to extend a huge thank you to the men and women who joined the ranks of New York’s New Abolitionists and participated in this portrait exhibition and book. We must first acknowledge Dorchen Leidholdt, the creative mastermind of the New Abolitionists project. This project would also not have been possible without its co-founder, Lynn Savarese, who photographed and produced the portraits of New York’s New Abolitionists and remains instrumental in organizing all of the New York’s New Abolitionists exhibitions. Without the generous financial support of Lynn and John Savarese, this project would not have been possible. Special recognition goes to Lauren Hersh, who has contributed to all aspects of this project. A huge debt of gratitude is owed to Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz for its extraordinary generosity in producing this book, with special thanks to Thomas Iorizzo and Ed Allie, who spearheaded the book’s production. We also wish to express our deep appreciation to Taina Bien-Aimé, Debra Martin Chase, Stephanie Schwartz Ferdman, Rachel Foster, and Stacey Morse for enlisting so many iconic individuals to sign on as New Abolitionists and for their sage counsel throughout the project. We wish to thank Rachel Foster and Taylor Gamble for their herculean efforts in preparing the publications for this project. We also thank Taylor Gamble for coordinating the social media campaign and creating important presentation materials. We appreciate Rebecca Zipkin for her assistance. Louise C. Leidholdt has earned special mention for her superb copyediting and proofreading. We thank Carl Saytor at Luxlab for his exquisite prints of the New Abolitionist portraits.