Freedom Network USA

Paul and Sheila Wellstone Award

The Paul and Sheila Wellstone Award recognizes 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.

2019 Recipient – Ima Matul, Survivor Leadership Program Manager, Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking

Ima is a mother, survivor advocate, mentor, consultant, international speaker and currently the Survivor Leadership Program Manager at the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST). Ima manages multiple projects related to survivor leadership including overseeing the LA Survivor Network “Resilient Voices” and the National Survivor Network (NSN). Together with the survivor network, Ima has made incredible impact in US anti-trafficking efforts and policies. Ima is one of the founding members of this survivor leadership program, and since its inception in 2004 Ima has spoken at local, national and international conferences and trainings, and has met with multiple state and federal legislators, officials, academics and celebrities to advocate for increased protections for survivors, and to promote leadership development. Ima has consulted with multiple organizations on starting and supporting Survivor Leadership Programs, including developing training curriculum with Office for Victims of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center (OVCTTAC) on Survivor Professional Development.

Ima has received multiple awards for her work including recognition by President Barack Obama as a hero in today’s modern abolitionist movement. Ima was appointed to the first United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking to advise and provide recommendations to the President Interagency Taskforce (PITF) and the Senior Policy Operating Group (SPOG) to improve federal anti-trafficking policies.

Past Recipients

  • 2018 – Cindy C. Liou, Esq. (Deputy Director for Legal Services, Kids in Need of Defense (KIND))
  • 2017 – Joye Frost (Former Director, Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice)
  • 2016 – Miguel Keberlein (Director, Immigrants and Workers’ Rights Practice Group, LAF)
  • 2015 – Damayan Migrant Workers Association (New York City NY)
  • 2014 – Sheila Neville (Senior Attorney, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA)
  • 2013 – The Honorable Patrick Leahy, United States Senator (D-VT)
  • 2012 – Martina Vandenberg (Open Society Institute Fellow and Human Rights Advocate)
  • 2011 – Susie Baldwin (Chief of Health Assessment, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health)
  • 2010 – Pamela Chen (Assistant U.S. Attorney, Eastern District of New York)
  • 2009 – Patricia Medige and Jennifer Lee (Attorneys, Colorado Legal Services)
  • 2008 – Susan French (Prosecutor, US Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division)
  • 2007 – Florrie Burke (Former Director of Anti-Trafficking Program, Safe Horizon)
  • 2006 – Coalition of Immokalee Workers (Immokalee FL)
  • 2005 – Luis cDeBaca (Prosecutor, US Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division)
  • 2004 – Thai Community Development Center (Los Angeles CA)