The 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 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.


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 on 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