February Newsletter

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Through our partnerships with organizations around the world, Shared Hope International has been fortunate to receive valuable insight inside the realities and obstacles that face survivors of sex trafficking while providing the means and technical assistance needed for these restoration programs. These relationships have shaped our strategies to prevent, rescue and restore America’s victims of child sex trafficking.

Courtney’s House, the first restorative home for survivors of domestic minor sex trafficking in Virginia, is one of our American partners. Together with Courtney’s House, we have celebrated successes through outreach in downtown Washington, DC while being engaged in developing services and shelter for survivors of child sex trafficking. The obstacles we must pass in order to make this happen are daunting. The truth is, federal and state legislation largely is silent on providing shelter specifically for victims of domestic minor sex trafficking.

Shared Hope International is working aggressively to make it easier for organizations like Courtney’s House to provide services and shelter to this vulnerable population. Across the nation, we are asking you and your legislators to shift the perspective of America’s prostituted children – we need your help to identify children exploited through prostitution, pornography or sexual entertainment as victims, not criminals.


Will you join us?

[SHI]FT Now (Shared Hope International Fights Trafficking) is our initiative to prevent, rescue and restore America’s victims of sex trafficking. Your support is crucial as we shift the perspectives of state and federal legislators and the public to treat this population as victims instead of criminals and provide services to heal survivors of sex trafficking.

Federal Policy
In Washington, D.C., the Senate is moving fast to pass the Trafficking Deterrence and Victims Support Act of 2009 that would authorize six large block grants to create a comprehensive, victim-centered approach to addressing sex trafficking (specifically minors) in America and calls for the improvement of the National Crime Information Center which would highlight repeat runaways as high risk victims of exploitation. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) introduced the legislation on December 22, 2009, and co-sponsors Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Senator Al Franken (D-Minnesota) have joined to pass this bill. Shared Hope International has been actively engaged in advocating for this crucial piece of legislation.At a House Human Trafficking Caucus Briefing on Thursday, February 18, Shared Hope International Founder and President former Congresswoman Linda Smith will return to the House of Representatives to speak alongside our partner Tina Frundt, Founder and Executive Director of Courtney’s House, on the realities of domestic minor sex trafficking and the reasons why this piece of legislation is critical to fund the services and shelter so badly needed to restore the child sex trafficking victim.The Trafficking Deterrence and Victims Support Act is gaining momentum, but we need your help to ensure that this legislation is passed! Click here to take action by contacting your Senator today!

Washington State
As Linda Smith’s home state, Washington is a natural battleground for the [SHI]FT to begin! Shared Hope International has worked successfully with state legislators and celebrates the passage in the Senate of SB 6476, a bill that requires mandatory diversion of a prostituted youth to a secure crisis residential center with staff experienced in treating sexually exploited children. The bill also increases sentencing and fines for traffickers and buyers (“johns”) to fund the restoration of the victims and removes the ability of a buyer to defend by claiming ignorance of age. Law enforcement training is mandated to assist with proper identification of the child victim.Linda testified in support of this legislation and has secured significant media coverage for this issue. Standing beside a recent survivor of sexual exploitation, Linda testified to the importance of having a safe, secure facility to rescue these children and help restore them from their trauma. On February 4, 2009, The Seattle Times published Linda’s editorial contrasting in shocking fashion the treatment received by prostituted youth to the generosity of the courts in awarding $4 million to the restoration of the dogs in the dog fighting case of Michael Vick.

Washington residents, click here to find learn more about Shared Hope’s efforts in your state!

Maryland
Legislation is moving fast in Maryland! Shared Hope International fully supports three crucial pieces of legislation tthat will:
– take back the illicit profits of traffickers (MD HB 514 & SB 463)
– increase penalties for traffickers (HB 283 & SB 261)
– reach out to victims of human trafficking with a hotline number for help (Number TBD).

In collaboration with the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force, Shared Hope International joined more than 50 supporters in Annapolis on February 5, 2010, to advocate on behalf of these bills. On February 9, Shared Hope testified before the House Judiciary Committee asserting the importance of the asset forfeiture legislation for seizing illegally obtained assets of the traffickers and using them to pay for the services and shelter required by the survivors of trafficking in the aftermath of their victimization.

Maryland residents, click here to find out more information about our efforts in your state!

In addition to the [SHI]FT Now Maryland and Washington Initiatives we are actively engaged in these states:

– Arizona
– Florida
– Illinois
– Missouri
– Nevada
– North Carolina
– Virginia
– Washington, D.C.
– As well as monitoring and responding to developments in other locations!!

Please continue to follow our progress on www.sharedhope.org and Facebook. We look forward to keeping you informed on our progress as the year unfolds!

[SHI]FT Now to end sex trafficking!

Sincerely,

Shared Hope International

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