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 in the United States. This award is named in honor of US Senator Paul Wellstone and his wife, Sheila, who are both champions of human rights and justice.


Maria Jose Fletcher

Words from her colleagues



She works by herself or with a team equally well. She is unfailingly gracious and patient, while working on horrendously difficult cases of emotional and physical abuse. She is multi-talented, extraordinarily intelligent, and a multi-tasker, yet possesses none of the arrogance that can come with those qualities.  She is funny, compassionate, and astute.  Her workload and accomplishments while working both with individual survivors as well as on systemic change are tremendous; yet, with extraordinary grace, she makes it all seem effortless.


It is not often that one finds a colleague that is as dedicated and hard working as Maria Jose is.  She cares deeply about justice and fairness for her clients. She embodies the service provider who is able to help restore trust and dignity to immigrant clients who have been so brutalized. She sees hope in the bleakest of situations, but is not naive in her optimism. She fights against vicious, violent, twisted human rights violators, and yet maintains hope as she works persistently and collaboratively to assist immigrant victims and seek justice.


Maria Jose’s non-stop commitment to her work and her utter lack of interest in self-promotion means her meritorious accomplishments have gone largely unheralded, a situation that should be rectified.

Past Recipients

  • 2023
    Amy Fleischauer
  • 2022
    Kate Mogulescu
    Associate Professor, Brooklyn Law School
  • 2020
    Lynette Parker & Ruth Silver Taube
    Katharine and George Alexander Community Law Center, Santa Clara University School of Law
  • 2019
    Ima Matul
    Survivor Leadership Program Manager, Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking
  • 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


The Pembrook Award for Survivor Inclusion recognizes those who have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to survivor inclusion in anti-trafficking work. This award is named in honor of Deborah Pembrook, a zealous advocate for survivor voice and inclusion who passed away suddenly in April 2022. This award is generously funded by FNUSA founder, Florrie Burke.


Youth Collaboratory

Past Recipients

  • 2023
    National Survivor Network