Jan 22, 2020 Action Alert for Same Day Voter Registration

Please contact your lawmakers now in support of Same Day Voter Registration bills. You can modify the message before sending, using your own words. Click the contact link

  • Q: Why is same day voter registration important?
  • A: Letting qualified voters register or update their voter registrations on Election Day supports the right to vote.
  • Q: Does it work?
  • A: Yes. 21 states and the District of Columbia already allow same day voter registration, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Voters still must show proof of identity, residency, and qualification to vote. 

Urge your legislators to vote for Delegate Simon’s bill HB 187 and Delegate Ayala’s HB 201. Click here now.

Alternatively, visit whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov for your lawmaker’s contact information and then email them a request to support these bills. Let them know you are a constituent, and your address. 

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Jan 19, 2020 Calls to Action

Week of January 20-25

Tip: Are you on facebook? Join the League’s Advocacy discussion group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/373903886296976/ & answer the questions. 

☎️☎️☎️ Remember to log your advocacy! A little competition makes it fun. Click here to be counted for your Local League: http://bit.ly/LogYourAdvocacy ☎️☎️☎️

Privileges & Elections (“P&E”) Committees 

House P&E / Elections Subcommittee

Topic: no excuse absentee voting

Date: Tues, Jan. 21, 7 AM

Location: House Room 1

Senate P&E Committee

Topic: campaign finance reform, voting rights, efficient elections, the ERA (on crossover), and gender equality.

Date:  Tues, Jan. 21, 15 minutes after Senate adjournment (approx. 2 PM)

Location: Senate Room 3, the Capitol, Richmond 

Livestream Video should be available during and after the hearing at this link: http://virginia-senate.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3

Contact

What to Say 

if you are a constituent, mention that and state your name and address. 

Please use your own words. Ideas below. We suggest one or two topics per contact. You may also sign up here to join other League members for a preparatory briefing and visits to legislators on League Day.

No excuse absentee voting

“Please copatron and pass no excuse absentee voting so people will not need to name a reason for voting absentee, which can deter voting. Please cosponsor and vote for HB 1, 25, 208 & 209 / SB 111. Thank you.”

Campaign finance reform

“Please copatron and vote for the campaign finance bills in the P&E Committee this week, Senate Bills 25, 166, 205, 266, 488, 889 and 979, to give you greater freedom to vote as you think is right. These bills will help ensure other legislators have to follow the same rules.”

Voting procedure

“Elections should be efficient and designed to facilitate voting. Please cosponsor and vote for Senator Ebbin’s SJ 63, which synchronizes state general elections with federal election years. It will save the state money by reducing the frequency of elections, and will expand voting because voters will see federal as well as state campaign notices during voting years.”

Redistricting

While not on the P&E docket for this week, the state League supports second passage of the Redistricting Amendment. Please urge your legislators to copatron, support, and vote for the redistricting constitutional amendment this session, HJ 71 / SJ 18, with enabling legislation, HB 758 / SB 203 & 204. Click here for a FAQ from the League of Women Voters of Virginia.

Voting rights / felons

“Please copatron and vote for SJ 14, which authorizes the General Assembly to provide by general law for the restoration of civil rights for persons convicted of a felony. The essence of our system of government is the right to vote, and that right should not be abridged.”

Racial equity

While this bill is not in committee yet for this week, schedules are still being posted and supporting it is helpful. “Please copatron and vote for HB 973, which will repeal racially discriminatory laws relating to the racial segregation of students in elementary schools, secondary schools, and institutions of higher learning. For Virginia to fully improve its future, we must clean up harmful laws of the past.”

ERA

“Please copatron and vote for the House Equal Rights Amendment resolution, HJ 1, which will be heard in Senate P&E on Tuesday. This is a crossover vote. The Constitution should provide equal treatment under law, because statutory protections can be rolled back with a simple majority vote; the Constitution is more enduring.”

Gender equity

“Every person deserves the dignity of equal treatment under law. Please copatron and vote for SJ 3 and SJ 7, which will repeal the constitutional amendment prohibiting a legal status for same sex unions. This is already invalid due to the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges.”

“Please copatron and vote for Del. Plum’s SB 618, which adds gender, disability, gender identity, and sexual orientation to the categories of victims whose intentional selection for a hate crime involving assault, assault and battery, or trespass for the purpose of damaging another’s property results in a higher criminal penalty for the offense.”

☎️☎️☎️ Remember to log your advocacy! Click to be counted for your Local League: http://bit.ly/LogYourAdvocacy ☎️☎️

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Redistricting FAQ

Why LWV-VA Supports Constitutional Amendment S.J. 18 to End Partisan Gerrymandering 

What is independent redistricting and why is it needed? Redistricting is the process of drawing maps to determine election districts for members of Congress and the state legislature. In many states, the legislature wields the power to draw these maps. When one party controls this process, it can rig the maps to stay in power by choosing the electorate in each district (“gerrymandering”). 

Gerrymandering weakens voters’ voices. It carves up communities, removes competition, increases polarization, and creates gridlock. Redistricting works better when voters get more of a say. 

Why Virginia needs a Constitutional Amendment now for fair redistricting. Virginia’s election maps are gerrymandered. Virginia’s constitution gives only legislators the power to draw the election maps. Only a constitutional amendment can change the constitution and let citizens serve on a redistricting commission. A mere law (legislation) cannot amend the constitution. 

Last year, after extensive negotiation, Virginia’s legislature passed a constitutional amendment (“CA”) to establish a better way: a commission of 8 legislators and 8 citizens, with a citizen chair. 

Timing is critical. Redistricting in Virginia usually occurs only once every ten years. In order to enact the amendment before the next ten-year redistricting in early 2021, the constitutional amendment must pass again this legislative session and then go before voters on the ballot in November. 

Why the League of Women Voters of Virginia supports the Constitutional Amendment, SJ 18 / HJ 71

  • The Amendment gives citizens a voice in the Virginia redistricting process for the first time. Protectionist maps help legislators keep their seats. Citizens don’t have that conflict of interest. 
  • The Amendment for the first time requires that lines be drawn in accordance with specific “laws that address racial and ethnic fairness,” avoiding harm to our communities and Virginia. 
  • Redistricting decisions will be brought into the light, not hidden away in dark, secret backrooms. 

What do the accompanying bills do? 

  • Senate bill 203 creates criteria for drawing maps, such as ensuring the votes of racial or language minorities are not diluted, preserving communities of interest, and avoiding lines that favor parties or politicians or divide towns. 
  • Senate bill 204 directs the Court to appoint a citizen “special master” to assist in redistricting. 

Shouldn’t we try for a better commission, without legislators? This is the only amendment available to be passed this year, before the decennial redistricting and the next House election. We need to pass it while the window of opportunity is open. 

Should voters be concerned about Virginia’s Supreme Court? Accompanying legislation (SB204) requires the court to appoint a citizen special master to draw the maps. Virginia’s justices are bound by canons of judicial ethics and were appointed by Democrat, as well as Republican, controlled legislative chambers. 

Who supports S.J. 18? Respected voices include the Brennan Center for Justice, Common Cause, Senator Tim Kaine and Rep. Don Beyer, and the editorial boards of the Richmond Times-Daily and the Virginian-Pilot. Importantly, 70% of Virginians support redistricting reform, according to a recent poll by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University in Virginia. 

The eyes of the nation are on Virginia. Without the constitutional amendment, the very next statehouse election, in 2021, could bring in a legislature that would reverse any mere laws. An amendment is the only vehicle strong enough to start real change and ensure fair elections. 

The League of Women Voters of Virginia stands up for voters. 

The League fully supports SJ 18 and HJ 71. 

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Governor’s High School Voter Registration Challenge

HS Voter Registration

While this program is focused on High School students, the LWV-VA is providing a list of specific links for Virginia High Schools, Community Colleges, Colleges, Homeschoolers, and even those not in any school.

Learn more about the Governor’s Challenge and what awards your school can earn at https://lwv-va.org/virginiahsvr/

You will also find the links to use to register there so that your school will be recognized.

If you are 17 years of age and will turn 18 by the next general election, you can register to vote now IF you

  • are a United States citizen.
  • are a resident of Virginia.
  • have had voting rights restored if you have ever been convicted of a felony.
  • have had capacity restored if have ever been declared mentally incapacitated in a Circuit Court.

Seventeen-year-olds who are registered to vote can also vote in primary AND special elections in Virginia! (You must turn 18 by the date of a special election in order to vote in that election.)

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First WLRT Meeting of 2020 is 1/15/2020

WLRT (Women’s Legislative Roundtable
January 15, 8:30 am-9:30 am
Tidewater Room, 4th floor of the SunTrust Center
919 East Main Street, Richmond.

At the first WLRT, members of the LWV-VA Legislative Team will present the basics on how to advocate, how to follow bills on LIS (Legislative Information System) and how to find your way in the Pocahontas Building and the Capitol.

Registration is not required, but if you sign up on Eventbrite, we’ll be sure to have enough material and resources available for everyone.

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Jan 12, 2020 Action Alert: Fair Redistricting, No Excuse Absentee Voting, & Gun Violence Prevention

Virginia’s legislative session is underway! Contact your lawmakers now to support fair redistricting, no excuse absentee voting, and gun violence prevention. You can modify your message before sending.

To review the bills: 

🔸 Fair redistricting        SJ 18, SB 203, 204 / HJ 71, HB 758

🔸 No excuse absentee voting  SB 45, 111, 879 / HB 1, 25, 27

🔸 Gun violence prevention     SB 70 , 240 / HB 2, 674

For more info: 

🔸 Redistricting

🔸 No Excuse Absentee Voting, p.4 

🔸 Gun Violence Prevention

Alternatively, visit whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov for your lawmaker’s contact information and then email them a request to support these bills. Let them know you are a constituent, and your address. You can note points such as:

🔸 The fair redistricting amendment, SJ18 / HJ71, will finally give citizens a voice and add racial and ethnic fairness. 

– The guardrail bills, SB 203 & 204 / HB 758, make it even stronger. 

– Only an amendment can change the constitution. A law doesn’t have that power.

🔸 Voting is every citizen’s honor and responsibility. Being required to state an excuse for absentee voting deters voters. Please copatron and vote for no excuse absentee voting bills SB 45, 111, 859, 879 / HB 1, HB 25, HB 27.

🔸 We need common sense gun safety. Please especially cosponsor and vote for SB 70 / HB 2, for universal background checks, and SB240 / HB 674, extreme risk protection order / red flag legislation.

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WLRT Pre-Session: All In for All Issues

Martha Rollins, LWVSHR

LWV-VA President Deb Wake quickly summarized the overall message of our day of legislative issues for the upcoming General Assembly: “Public Education!” With great resolve she added, “We must get this information out.”

A record-breaking number of about 150 League members and allies met on December 4, 2019, at The John Marshall Hotel Ballroom in Richmond to grasp the array of topics for legislative action. The enthusiasm reflected the high voter turnout of the off-off-year election of the General Assembly—the members who will act on decennial redistricting.

The Pre-Session edition of the Women’s Legislative Roundtable (WLRT) continued the tradition of leading with a report of the fiscal framework. Current Secretary of Finance Aubrey Layne delivered a positive report for revenue that he labeled “cautiously optimistic.” He explained that Virginia was responsive to defense spending of the federal government and finally shows benefit from the lifting of sequestration. He acknowledged high consumer confidence. He commented that 2.6% was the lowest unemployment rate in Virginia history. Secretary Layne also expressed concern for the impact of mandated expenditures, particularly the impact of Medicaid. Without upstaging the release of the Governor’s budget on December 17, Secretary Layne anticipated significant “investment” in K-12 education and higher education, as well as attention to mental health services. He also raised expectations for change in the process of the legislative branch because of new leadership and a substantial number of newly elected members in the committee structure. 

The Issues Slam began with Edgar Arando Yanoc’s pitch on behalf of the Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations that our roads would be safer if driver’s licenses were issued to all drivers, including undocumented drivers. Kim Bobo of the Interfaith Center called for paid sick days for low-wage workers. Commenting that because she spends so much time in front of the Commerce and Labor Committees, she predicts passage of the modest proposal being developed by Senator Barbara Favola. Bobo noted that Virginia could be the first state in the South to support the paid leave issue. The Interfaith Center’s message to increase the minimum wage was echoed by the Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis. Chris Duncombe said that Virginia’s minimum was the lowest comparable in the country and that over a million people would benefit.

[CONTINUE READING FROM NEWSLETTER ARTICLE HERE]

The pace of presentations roared through housing and human equality to pro-choice protection. Then Brian Koziol of the Virginia Housing Alliance noted that League legislative priorities lacked housing provisions but listed components that impacted housing, especially education and non-discrimination. LWV-VA Chair of the affordable housing study, Alice Tousignant, caught up with Koziol at the first break.

Andy Goddard, a loyal advocate for gun safety since the violence at Virginia Tech in 2007, represented the Virginia Center for Public Safety. In a carefully nuanced message, Goddard quoted a passage from Justice Antonin Scalia in the US Supreme Court decision in Heller, in support of reasonable regulation of firearms. Goddard urged support for the eight bills submitted by the administration and characterized the bills as common-sense measures that have shown a reduction of gun violence in other states. Goddard will meet safety supporters on January 20 on the steps of the Capitol at 2 P.M.

Brian Cannon of OneVirginia2021 & Deb Wake, President LWV-VA

Brian Cannon of OneVirginia2021 & Deb Wake, President LWV-VA

Brian Cannon of OneVirginia2021 & Deb Wake, President LWV-VA

As the speakers’ lineup reached the last third, Susan Burk of the American Association of University Women, commented that she felt as though she was “speed dating with policy wonks.” Danny Plaugher from the Virginia Transit Association packed the most information of the day into one message. Overall, he called for sustainable funding. Brian Cannon of OneVA2021 raised the cheering level in the ballroom to celebrate how far the fair redistricting proposal has come and he carefully outlined the steps remaining, including passage of a constitutional amendment establishing a commission, criteria legislation, and ratification at the ballot box in the 2020 general election on November 3.

In the home stretch, Katie Hornung, VAratifyERA. rocked the ballroom. Everyone knew what she would say, and she did. In the 100th Anniversary Year of gaining the right of women to vote, the Equal Rights Amendment will be ratified by Virginia, the 38th state to ratify, and the last state necessary for ratification. Hornung instructed all to contact their delegates and senators by January 1st. She invited all to the Capitol to welcome the Assembly on January 8 and to participate in the Women’s Summit, Welcome Lineup, and Party for Parity.

Key reports on election process came from Allison Robbins, President of the Voter Registrars of Virginia; Megan Rhyne, Virginia Coalition for Open Government (VCOG); and Chris Piper, Commissioner of Elections. Rhyne recognized the role of the League in the founding of VCOG. She acknowledged that “WE ARE STILL WATCHING.”

Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia (ACLU), delivered a vigorous account of the importance of our fundamental right to vote. She noted that Virginia ranked second in a recent university study as the hardest state in which to vote. She explained that the best way to overcome disenfranchisement of people convicted of a felony is to adopt a state constitutional amendment. The ACLU is developing tool kits to mobilize PeoplePower to remove arbitrary barriers to voting. She reviewed the Reconstruction to Jim Crow legacy of voting in Virginia with multiple examples. She fielded questions with a clear vision of effective engagement in the upcoming legislative session.

LWV-VA’s Advocacy team sent us homeward with the League’s priority list for legislation and the schedule for 8:30 A.M. Wednesday morning sessions of WLRT at SunTrust Center. The team reminded us to stay connected: Julia Tanner, Advocacy; Carol Noggle and Mary Crutchfield, Legislative Coordinators; and Carolyn Caywood, Facebook.

Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia (ACLU)

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Dec 30, 2019 Contact Your Legislators: Support Fair Redistricting

Now is the time to add your voice for the Equal Rights Amendment.

The League of Women Voters of the U.S. supports the Equal Rights Amendment (“ERA”), as set forth in this letter.

Please contact your lawmakers now for the ERA.

🔸 Virginia legislation: HJ 1, SJ 1, & SJ 5

🔸 Questions? See the U.S. League letter

🔸 Newly elected legislator? See “Special Cases” below

🔸 All others, click here to support the ERA

Alternatively, visit whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov for your lawmaker’s contact information and then email them a request to support the ERA this session. Let them know you are a constituent, and your address. You can point out:

  • Virginia General Assembly bills for ratification of the ERA are HJ 1 and SJ 1.
  • 80% of Virginia’s registered voters support ratification, according to a poll by the Wason Center for Public Policy, https://cnu.edu/wasoncenter/surveys/2019-12-16/
  • The U.S. Constitution does not guarantee equal rights without discrimination based on sex. The Equal Rights Amendment will help ensure that the government discriminates based on sex only when it has compelling reasons. As stated by the American Bar Association, this will “assure that gender equality is recognized as a fundamental, irrevocable right protected by the highest law of the land.”
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January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month

Perspective by: Jill Follows,
LWVFA and UN Observer LWVUS

One year ago, a U.S. Presidential Proclamation declared January to be National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. The Proclamation called on all of us to raise awareness of the need to end all modern forms of slavery. “As a Nation, we cherish and uphold the notion that all people are created with inherent dignity and entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Human trafficking and enslavement robs victims of these God-given endowments.” Read the full text here. 

The Presidential Proclamation is a ceremonial announcement of a policy and does not have the force of law. As with many policies, the title of the Proclamation is suitable and the text requires scrutiny, if only to crystallize the facts and appreciate diverse perspectives. The perspectives of the United Nations, LWVUS and the Commonwealth of Virginia vis a vis human trafficking are presented in this article.

The Title of the Presidential Proclamation is Suitable: On the first anniversary of the Proclamation, it is appropriate that the Virginia League of Women Voters recommit itself to raise awareness of and support steps to combat human trafficking within our own state and national borders. Estimates are that human traffickers exploit 77% of victims within the borders of their own country.  People do not have to move across international borders to be exploited by human traffickers. Indeed, the vast majority of trafficked persons do not move across such borders. 

Tackling the scourge of human trafficking in the “hot spot” known as the Metro DC region has been a priority initiative of the Virginia LWV. Previous League reports of studies on human trafficking noted that women and teens are disproportionately affected. 

The Position of the National League on Human Trafficking: “The League of Women Voters opposes all forms of domestic and international human trafficking of adults and children, including sex trafficking and labor trafficking. We consider human trafficking to be a form of modern-day slavery and believe that every measure should be taken and every effort should be made through legislation and changes in public policy to prevent human trafficking. Prosecution and penalization of traffickers and abusers should be established, and existing laws should be strictly enforced. Extensive essential services for victims should be applied where needed. Education and awareness programs on human trafficking should be established in our communities and in our schools.”

Human Trafficking Hotline

 [CONTINUED FROM NEWSLETTER]

The Perspective of the Virginia State Crime Commission and Virginia General Assembly on Combatting Sex Trafficking: The Virginia State Crime Commission (Commission) tackled the plague of human trafficking a year ago. In January 2019 the Commission concluded that Virginia needed to address the root causes of sex trafficking, identify at-risk youth, increase awareness and education and training across relevant professions and reduce the demand for commercial sex trafficking. The Commission endorsed 11 recommendations to combat sex trafficking. The following six recommendations were enacted during the Regular Session of the 2019 General Assembly:

  • allow the Department of Social Services to take emergency custody of children who are victims of sex trafficking; 
  • authorize charging sex traffickers for each individual act of commercial sex trafficking; 
  • increase penalties for aiding in prostitution and using a vehicle to promote prostitution when the victim is a minor;
  • create a statewide Sex Trafficking Response Coordinator position; 
  • create a fund to promote training and education awareness related to sex trafficking; 
  • allow juvenile victims to testify via two-way closed-circuit television

The Perspective of the United Nations on Combatting Human Trafficking- Scrutiny of the Text of the Presidential Proclamation: The UN perspective is premised on two fundamental principles: (1) human rights are at the center of all efforts to combat trafficking AND (2) anti-trafficking measures should not adversely impact the human rights and dignity of the persons trafficked.

In stark contrast to the Presidential Proclamation that persons receive God-given endowments of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, the United Nations makes it clear that human rights are inalienable rights. People are not endowed by God with rights or granted rights by anyone or any entity. The UN leaves no space for discriminatory language that restricts human rights protections to trafficked persons based on their personal belief in God, creed, race, age, sex, sexual orientation, citizenship status, nationality, ethnicity or class.

The Proclamation’s claim that the construction of a physical wall at the southern border of the USA will stop human trafficking belies the fact that 77% of human traffickers operate within a country’s borders. The United Nations clearly articulates that basic human rights do not discriminate against persons based on nationality or citizenship status.

The UN also highlights the fact that women and children are disproportionately traumatized by human trafficking. Any failure to acknowledge the disproportionate impact of human trafficking on women and children miscalculates and minimizes the facts and may adversely impact their lives and livelihoods.

In 2004, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (the precursor to today’s Human Rights Council) threw its support behind the appointment of a Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons; in 2017, the mandate was extended three more years. The Special Rapporteur’s primary mandate is to focus on the human rights of the victims of trafficking in persons, especially women and children and “take(s) action on violations committed against trafficked persons and on situations in which there has been a failure to protect their human rights.”  The Special Rapporteur identified the PILLARS of human rights-based response to trafficking with the catchy mnemonic known informally as the “5P’s and 3 R’s: Protection; Prosecution; Punishment; Prevention; Promotion AND Redress; Rehabilitation; Reintegration.

  • Protection-the rapid identification and protection of victims of trafficking;
  • Prosecution-State Parties must investigate and prosecute allegations of trafficking;
  • Punishment-sanctions should subject responsible traffickers to effective and dissuasive punishment;
  • Prevention-recognize the causes of trafficking and implementing positive measures to stop future acts;
  • Promotion of international cooperation-human trafficking does not recognize geographic borders.
  • Redress- State Parties shall compensate the lost income of victims from the proceeds of traffickers;
  • Rehabilitation-restore the victim’s status and position in the eyes of the law and in the community;
  • Reintegration of Victims into Society-show respect for the repatriated individual’s rights, including their right to privacy and right not to be discriminated against.

https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Trafficking/FirsDecadeSRon_%20trafficking.pdf

The United Nations has a History of Advancing Human Rights of Trafficked Persons. Two of the more recent and relevant UN human rights instruments are highlighted.

First, the Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others (Convention) entered into force in July 1951. It focuses on the punishment and prosecution of traffickers and social measures in aid to the trafficked persons. The Preamble to the Convention lists the already existing instruments, dating back to 1904, targeting the suppression of traffic in women in children. In doing so, the Convention acknowledged the historic and horrific impact of trafficking on women and children. Some Articles in the Convention called on the Parties to the Convention to address specifically the needs of trafficked women and children. For example:

Article 17(1): “To make such regulations as are necessary for the protection of immigrants or emigrants, and in particular, women and children, both at the places of arrival and departure and while en route.”

Article 20: “The Parties to the present Convention shall, if they have not already done so, take the necessary measures for the supervision of employment agencies in order to prevent persons seeking employment, in particular women and children, from being exposed to the danger of prostitution.”

https://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/TrafficInPersons.aspx

The United States is not a Party to this Convention. https://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=VII-11-a&chapter=7&clang=_en

The second recent and relevant UN human rights instrument is the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (Protocol.) (November 2000) The Preamble and General Provisions of this Protocol place the plight of trafficked women and children at the center of its approach and calls on all Parties to protect their internationally recognized human rights.

The second section of the Protocol sets forth the means by which governments shall protect the victims of trafficking, such as protecting the victim’s privacy and physical safety and assisting the victim with court proceedings, housing, counseling, medical and psychological and material assistance, employment, education, and training opportunities. There are also provisions dealing with the repatriation of victims of trafficking. (Articles 6-8)

The third section of the Protocol sets forth the measures by which governments shall prevent trafficking. The Protocol calls on governments to cooperate with non-governmental organizations to strengthen measures that will reduce poverty and increase opportunities for trafficked persons, especially women and children. (Articles 9-13)

The final section of the Protocol addresses the procedural mechanisms for settling disputes between State Parties and the ratification process for the Protocol. Of particular note is the non-discrimination language in the text. Article 14 (2) states: The measures set forth in this Protocol shall be interpreted and applied in a way this is not discriminatory to persons on the ground that they are victims of trafficking in persons. The interpretation and application of those measures shall be consistent with internationally recognized principles on non-discrimination. https://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/ProtocolTraffickingInPersons.aspx

The United States is a signatory to the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime with respect to the offenses established in the trafficking Protocol. https://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=XVIII-12-a&chapter=18&clang=_en#EndDec

In Support of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month: It is vital to the health and welfare of victims of human trafficking, especially women and children, that the League continue to raise awareness of human rights and the Commonwealth’s initiatives to combat human trafficking.

 

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