We are thrilled to announce the recipients for the 2020 Paul and Sheila Wellstone Award, Lynette M. Parker and Ruth Silver Taube of Santa Clara University School of Law. The Paul and Sheila Wellstone Award seeks to recognize individuals who have made a unique contribution to the anti-trafficking field or demonstrated outstanding leadership and dedication in working to combat human trafficking in the United States.
Ruth and Lynette were nominated by a group of their colleagues from across the country. They wrote, “The anti-trafficking movement reflects this dynamic duo’s fierce and ethical leadership: they take on the hardest cases, accomplishing so much, but modeling grace, kindness, and modesty for all. They are a force for good.”
Parker offered the following remarks;
“The work to prevent trafficking in persons and to serve trafficking survivors is never done in isolation. It is a community effort, and is successful when there is seamless team work. Working with Ruth Silver Taube to provide comprehensive immigration and employment rights legal services to trafficking survivors in the San Francisco Bay area has reinforced for me the value in the multi-legal practice, multi-disciplinary approach to serving trafficking survivors. We have been better able to serve our clients because we work together, and because we have the support and assistance of many nonprofit agencies in the South Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking, as well as the agencies and collaboratives throughout the Bay Area and Central Coast.
As Paul and Sheila Wellstone modeled throughout their lives, together we have the power to make a difference. Together we have the power to build a world where workers are not exploited for their labor and services.”
Silver Taube shared;“This award is so meaningful to me because it was named after two of my heroes, Paul and Sheila Wellstone who made a monumental contribution to the fight against human trafficking and advocated for the passage of the Trafficking Victims and Violence Protection Act of 2000 and for the rights and for protections for trafficking and domestic violence survivors. The work we do would not be possible without the continued collaboration with the victim and legal service providers and workers’ and immigrants rights organizations in California and around the country, all of whom are deserving of this award.
We live in harrowing times that call for even more protection for human rights, worker rights, immigrant rights, and the rights of human trafficking survivors. I am hopeful that, in the words of Arundhati Roy, this pandemic will force us to break with the past and will be a portal, a gateway to another world free from exploitation. Since its inception, Freedom Network and its remarkable staff have been in the forefront of efforts to end exploitation and to combat human trafficking. I accept this award with gratitude, with humility, and with admiration for Freedom Network, for Paul and Sheila Wellstone, for all of you who imagine a better world free from human trafficking, and for all who fight to attain it.”
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.