As the federal government gets back to business this week after the paralyzing government shutdown, the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking has issued its annual ATEST Advocacy Report. The report takes stock of advocacy accomplishments in 2018, and looks toward advocacy priorities in 2019.
Free the Slaves is a founding member of the coalition, and serves as ATEST’s secretariat and co-chair.
You can see the full report on the ATEST website. Here are the headlines:
- Legislation: After two years of intense advocacy by ATEST and other groups, Congress has renewed the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) and related legislation. This forms the foundation for America’s federal response to human trafficking.
- Appropriations: Despite proposals from the Trump administration to reduce funding for anti-trafficking programs, Congress held the line, supporting a wide range of programs at the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, Justice, Labor and State, and the U.S. Agency for International Development.
- Growth: Three organizations joined the ATEST coalition: Human Trafficking Institute, United Way and T’ruah. There are 12 ATEST member organizations.
- Funding: A generous grant from the Oak Foundation and NEO Philanthropy sustained ATEST during its first year as an independent coalition.
- Focus: In 2019, ATEST advocacy shifts from passing the TVPRA to implementing and funding its many provisions. These include improving the way countries are ranked each year in the State Dept.’s annual Trafficking in Persons Report, and advocating for multilateral banks to integrate anti-trafficking projects in all international development loan programs.
The ATEST coalition will continue to stand up for victims and the vulnerable when policies and politics threaten their safety or recovery. The coalition is speaking out about disturbing presidential statements during the debate over a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, and about efforts to restrict immigration for Central American children, many of whom are trafficking victims.
You can read the coalitions statement of principles and values in the new ATEST Advocacy Report.