The Paul and Sheila Wellstone Award

The Paul and Sheila Wellstone Award seeks to recognize individuals who have made a unique contribution to the anti-trafficking field in the United States or demonstrated outstanding leadership and dedication in working to combat human trafficking and slavery in the United States.  

This award is named in honor of U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone and his wife, Sheila, both champions of human rights and justice, who played an instrumental role in the creation and enactment of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000, which provides added protections for victims of human trafficking and strengthens law enforcement mechanisms to prosecute this crime.  Sheila Wellstone was active in working to put an end to domestic violence. Senator Wellstone was killed, along with his wife, daughter, and several staff members in a plane crash in his home state of Minnesota in 2002.

2014 Honoree

Sheila Neville

Senior Attorney, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA)

Sheila Neville 1955-2014

Sheila Neville 1955-2014

David Neville proudly accepts the Wellstone award in San Francisco, CA on behalf of his sister, Sheila Neville.

David Neville proudly accepts the Wellstone award in San Francisco, CA on behalf of his sister, Sheila Neville




donation page has been set up by request of the Neville family to honor Sheila’s contribution to Freedom Network and the anti-trafficking field. All proceeds WILL BE USED TO SUPPORT SURVIVORS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING.


Previous Honorees


The Honorable Patrick Leahy
United States Senator (D-VT)


Martina Vandenberg
Open Society Institute Fellow and Human Rights Advocate


Susie Baldwin, M.D., M.P.H Chief
Health Assessment Los Angeles County Department of Public Health


Pamela Chen (Assistant U.S. Attorney, Eastern District of New York) – Awarded for her incredible skills as a prosecutor, her approach to victims that inspires them to cooperate and her genuine team work with NGOs. Click here to read the full text of Pamela Chen’s acceptance speech.


Patricia Medige and Jennifer Lee, Colorado Legal Services (Denver, CO)Awarded for their survivor-centered approach in litigating cases on behalf of trafficking survivors and their innovative strategy in conducting advocacy and outreach.


Susan French (Prosecutor, Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division) – Awarded for her consistent victim-centered approach to cases and the way she works with FN members on these cases.  It helps that she is a fearsome prosecutor.


Florrie Burke (New York, NY) – Awarded for her pioneering work in service provision for survivors of human trafficking, as well as her national and international leadership and promotion of collaborative efforts to address all forms of trafficking


Coalition of Immokalee Workers (Immokalee, FL) – Awarded for their incredible work in exposing slavery in the fields, promoting activism and  advocacy campaigns to look at root causes of unfair trade and labor practices


Luis cDeBaca (Prosecutor, Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division) – Awarded for his efforts to successfully prosecute cases and unite various organizations, resources and people in the fight against human trafficking


Thai Community Development Center (Los Angeles, CA) – Awarded for their efforts to seek justice and provide support for the survivors in the El Monte Slavery Case