Yesterday marked a significant milestone in the ongoing fight against human trafficking with the convening of the 4th ATIP Policy Leader Roundtable in the US Senate. Representative Russell Fry (R-SC) and Ranking Member Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), alongside representatives from the U.S. Department of State and many senior congressional staff, Ascend brought together key stakeholders to address critical legislation aimed at combatting trafficking and protecting vulnerable individuals.
The agenda was packed with discussions surrounding pivotal legislation such as the Trafficking Survivors Relief Act (TSRA), the Stop Human Trafficking in School Zones Act, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, and a suite of five child protection bills including STOP CSAM, EARN IT, REPORT Act, Shield Act, and Project Safe Childhood. Rushan Abbas also gave a moving testimony of the need to support the Uyghur Genocide and Accountability Sanctions Act as well as the Uyghur Forced Labor Disclosure Act Act.
We reached capacity with over 75 leaders representing 50 organizations from across the United States and Europe. This diverse representation underscored the collaborative effort required to address human rights violations effectively. Policy, as emphasized during the discussions, plays a pivotal role in tackling the root causes of trafficking and ensuring the protection of victims.
One of the highlights of the event was Representative Sheila Jackson Lee’s endorsement of the Stop Human Trafficking in School Zones Act (H.R. 30), which she co-authored with Chairman McCaul. Her remark that the roundtable was “the most important meeting happening on the Hill today” speaks volumes about the urgency and significance of the issues discussed.
The roundtable served as a crucial bridge between Congress and anti-trafficking leaders, fostering strategic advocacy that drives meaningful change. By bringing together policymakers, advocates, and experts, the event provided a platform for robust discussions and collaboration aimed at advancing anti-trafficking efforts at both the national and international levels.
We extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone who participated in this important discussion and to Street Grace for sponsoring the refreshments. Through continued collaboration and advocacy, we can make meaningful progress in protecting the rights and dignity of all individuals, especially those most vulnerable to exploitation.