(Alexandria, VA) – The National Foundation for Women Legislators was honored to have elected women from across the country and numerous nonprofit and advocacy groups come together for their 2016 Human Trafficking Summit in Washington DC, June 16-17. Twenty-five elected women, from both the state and local level, joined Summit Co-Chairs Michigan State Senator Judy Emmons and Montana State Representative Kimberly Dudik, for a day and a half long discussion on one of the most critical issues in America today: child sex trafficking. The legislator attendees were specifically selected due to their roles as champions of human trafficking legislation in their communities, and ability to advance the fight against trafficking with the further knowledge and support provided by the Summit.
Arkansas State Representative Charlotte Douglas was recommended to attend the summit by her colleague, NFWL State Director Arkansas State Senator Linda Collins-Smith. Senator Collins-Smith suggested Representative Douglas, describing her as a leader in the fight to end human trafficking in Arkansas. Upon returning home from the summit, Representative Douglas began working on legislation with Truckers Against Trafficking to provide truck drivers with the information they need to combat human trafficking as they witness its occurrence. To receive a Class A commercial driver’s license, new Arkansas legislation outlines that drivers must complete a brief online course about human trafficking prevention. Arkansas is the first state to enact this legislation, and NFWL is immensely proud that our summit led to this legislative victory.
The NFWL has a long history of supporting the movement to end human trafficking, which includes working with the Department of Justice, and hosting roundtables and policy discussions at their events over the years, including the 2014 and 2015 Annual Conferences in Philadelphia, PA, and Oklahoma City, OK. This Summit was an effort to continue bringing elected women information about human trafficking issues in the United States through policy experts from organizations that specialize in human trafficking solutions. In 2017, NFWL continued their work to end human trafficking by extending their partnership with Shared Hope International, whose state report cards are featured on NFWL’s website under Grab ‘n Go programming, a premier resource for elected women to download easy-to-use information.
Keynote and special guest speakers at the summit were Tina Frundt, a nationally recognized advocate on this issue, the Founder and Executive Director of Courtney’s House, and a member of the United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking; United States Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, a leader in Congress in working to combat human and sex trafficking; and former Congresswoman Linda Smith, the Founder and President of Shared Hope International, an anti-trafficking organization focused on combating child sex trafficking through comprehensive, victim-centered approaches.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Shared Hope International, Google, Rescuing Hope, The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Connecticut Department of Children and Families, Stop Child Predators, Demand Abolition, and End Child Slavery at the Source (ECPAT-USA) provided essential information for attendees to utilize in their efforts to combat human trafficking.