GOOD NEWS IN VIRGINIA
Governor Northam is signing two bills that our branch has long been supporting. The first will expunge the criminal records of Human Trafficking victims and the other will allow an affirmative defense, showing that they were forced to perform illegal acts.
We have been fighting for this legislation and have brought it up several times and talked to our legislators about it. It is the primary reason Virginia has received a mediocre grade on Human Trafficking. Signing these bills will improve Virginia’s reputation and give extra strength to efforts to end human trafficking. Presently victims are told by predators that they will be arrested if they come forward. This relief will help the victims escape.
Human Trafficking Initiative
Year-end Report May 2019-2020
The Human Trafficking Intervention Team expanded from four members to ten members. Moreover, they recruited numerous AAUW branches throughout Virginia to support the AAUW Angel App and Angel Alerts. In the summer, they spoke at the AAUW of Virginia Summer Leadership Conference. In the fall they spoke at the AAUW of Virginia Northern District Meeting to garner support for the AAUW Angel App and Angel Alerts. The team submitted a grant proposal for the national AAUW Community Action grant in the fall for the AAUW Angel App and online human trafficking awareness conference too. Furthermore, they wrote newsletter articles for the branch and state newsletters.
In the fall and in January 2020, Diane lobbied in Richmond, Virginia for the group and kept the branch updated on pertinent legislation. Diane and Elizabeth presented a two-hour human trafficking awareness session during Human Trafficking Awareness Month in January 2020 along with Dr. Gail Kalin. Ms. Lalitha Mani and Dr. Dev Mani, AAUW of Alexandria Human Trafficking Intervention Team Members, also lead a lobbying table at the successful event, which was well attended. Diane spoke at the AAUW of Springfield branch in February about the branch’s human trafficking intervention efforts and human trafficking educational awareness too. Ms. Sylvia Linke, AAUW of Alexandria Board Member, tracked the human trafficking legislation that Elizabeth discussed at the January event throughout the Virginia legislative session and kept the branch updated on the bills’ progress. Sylvia wrote two newsletter articles about the legislation for branch members as well.
In April 2020, Diane received the news that they were selected as an alternate for the competitive AAUW Community Action Grant. Two local app developers and coders were recruited to create the app with in-kind donations, so the AAUW Angel App could still be developed.