Legal Momentum Board member Loria Yeadon moderated an event with Legal Momentum in Palo Alto, California—in the heart of Silicon Valley—on July 21 to raise awareness of online sex trafficking of minors today and address ways to end this growing problem.
The event was hosted by Simpson, Thacher, and Bartlett and featured a panel discussion with experts on the issue. The attendees included a diverse group of executives, government officials, activists, law partners, and others.
The panel served as a catalyst for action. Panelist Michael Maine, Chair of Business Ending Slavery and Trafficking (BEST), emphasized the importance of awareness and education, especially educating yourself and your organization’s leadership; developing policies to protect your company and community from human trafficking, and engaging employees through online education or awareness events. (Several useful educational resources are available on the Best Alliance website.)
Panelist Debra Pembrook, Chair of the Coalition to End Human Trafficking, urged the audience, “Think of the child or children that you care about the most. The children you love and cherish. My request is that you bring to same urgency to this work as you would if you knew that those children were being trafficked.”
Panelist Rosa Revuelta, Advocacy Manager, YWCA of Silicon Valley, echoed the call for education and involvement, saying “We cannot do this work alone, it will take the community coming together to eradicate sex and labor trafficking. Our call to action is for each person to take some time to educate themselves on the issue, attend a training, volunteer at an organization or read up on the issue and then share your knowledge with others. We also need to come together, understand the needs of survivors and finds ways of helping financially support current efforts. Together we can make a difference.”
Cindy Chavez, Member, Board of Supervisors, Santa Clara County, said, “Human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children is a significant problem in Santa Clara County. We as organizations need to design and build systems that are informed and responsive to exploitation. And we need to tackle the issue of online advertising of children for commercial sexual exploitation, considering that 75% of underage sex trafficking victims said they had been advertised or sold online. And for that effort to be successful, we need to build a movement with local, state, national, private and public sector partners.”
Carol Robles-Román, President and CEO of Legal Momentum, who gave the keynote, said, “Legal Momentum is ready to lead the charge against child sexual exploitation. We are working with members of Congress to change the law.”
Photo: Michael B. Maine, Rosa Revuelta, Carol Robles-Román, Debra Pembrooke, Loria Yeadon. (Not pictured: Cindy Chavez)