Freedom Network Chair Emeritus Florrie Burke was invited by President Obama and the Clinton Global Initiative to attend two very special human trafficking events in NYC this week. We asked Florrie to share her experiences (and photos!) from the week so we could post them here. Enjoy!
What a thrilling week! I attended two major events in New York. Monday night featured a reception for the UN General Assembly hosted by President and Michelle Obama. There were international dignitaries, members of Congress, White House and Department of State leaders and staff, NGO leaders and donors. Ambassador Luis CdeBaca introduced me to Valerie Jarrett, President Obama’s Senior Advisor. Ms. Jarrett, Ima Matul and I had a substantive conversation about the issue, the support of the administration and the hopes that the President’s speech would let victims know that they are not alone and can come forward for help. I told her how the service providers and advocates appreciate the President’s recognition of the importance of this.
I chatted with Senator Leahy and thanked him for all his work and support of the TVPRA. When I told him how much the advocates appreciated his long standing commitment, he squeezed my hand with both of his and said, “thank you, that means the world to me.”
At the Clinton Global Initiative on Tuesday, President Obama gave a major speech on human trafficking as one of the great human rights causes of our time. Thirty of us were invited to join the CGI attendees for lunch and the speech. The president spoke about trafficking in all its’ forms and how the victims are children, adults, men and women and from everywhere around the globe. He did not indulge in alarmist rhetoric or exploitive language when introducing the survivors in the room-he was compassionate and forceful as he said, “we demand dignity.” President Obama issued an Executive Order today and a fact sheet outlining the efforts of his administration that concerns every nation because “it endangers public health and fuels violence and organized crime.” After the speech, President Clinton added a plea for the NGOs-he asked the CGI audience to think about funding as NGOs are doing the important work and have very limited resources!
I was so proud to be there with Ima Matul, a survivor from Indonesia who is now working on staff at CAST! The survivors met privately with both President Obama and President Clinton prior to the speech.
- Click here to read the President’s Executive Order “STRENGTHENING PROTECTIONS AGAINST TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS IN FEDERAL CONTRACTS”
- Click here to read a statement from Senator Marco Rubio
- Click here to read a statement from Humanity United