From Your Mouth to the President: TVPRA Signed into Law
by Jesse Eaves, Senior Policy Adviser for Child Protection, World Vision
From your mouth to the President’s Desk: One chapter of Our Shared Vision ends and a new one begins
“This is your victory and it shows that when the American people make their voices heard, Washington listens.” – President Obama, March 13, 2013
On March 7, 2013, President Obama signed the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act into law. No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, when the President of the United States gives you a shout out, it’s a big deal. This was no small feat but as we’ve said time and again for the past three years, when we stand together for what is right, our voices make the difference in the fight against injustice.
Joanne Lim never expected to be a voice for change. When she entered the University of Delaware as a first year student, she had no idea that modern slavery existed let alone that there was anything she could do about it. However, after World Vision ACT:S held an event on her campus with InterVarsity about modern day slavery, Joanne knew she had to do something. “I was initially blown away by stories of trafficked victims,” she says. “[I] was honestly overwhelmed by the scope of the problem when I learned there are an estimated 20 million modern-day slaves in the world today.”
It’s a feeling I’m sure many of you felt the first time you heard about modern day slavery. However, just like you, Joanne made the choice to act. In addition to calling her elected officials from Delaware, she also rallied her fellow students to take action as well. In an op-ed to a local paper calling on students to unite against slavery she wrote: “I am not a survivor of human trafficking nor am I on the front lines providing services to survivors or investigating and arresting trafficking perpetrators…I am a person with conscience and a voice and therefore I can help in the fight.”
And that, in one stroke, is what bound all of us together in this journey. Advocates came from across the country and even around the world. We all have different backgrounds. Only a few have any previous policy or advocacy experience or any direct experience dealing with human trafficking. We fall on all points on the political spectrum. And yet every day, Women of Vision advocates lived out the phrase that we repeated time and again in this period of political polarization: this is not a left or right issue but a right or wrong issue. What brought us together is that we are individuals with a conscience and a voice and a Biblical call to seek justice. That’s all we needed. What brought us together was our shared vision.
When we talk about our shared vision it’s not just thinking about what a world free of child slavery or forced child labor or child soldiers would look like. It’s about making that vision a reality through direct action. Joanne is a wonderful example of a simple formula for justice: she became aware of an issue and then took action to address it. Simple actions can have a global impact. It’s a story shared by advocates around the world. We have a shared vision for a world where children are free to live life in all its fullness.
We are not done yet. Laws like the TVPRA still need to be implemented. Children still need to be protected and empowered. Communities and governments need the motivation to keep addressing these evils. Their motivation comes from advocate action – from your voices. Thank you for your action. Thank you for sharing this vision with women, men, and children around the world. We now know what a difference our voices can make. Joanne is going to keep working for more victories. I can’t wait to see what we can do next.