WASHINGTON (JTA) – The National Council of Jewish Women has partnered in an online petition calling on President Obama to fund programs that fight human trafficking and assist victims.
Titled “Fight Human Trafficking in the United States: It Happens Here,” the petition with Polaris, a global nongovernmental organization, implores Obama “to support strong funding to fight human trafficking in our community.” The petition can be found at change.org.
In a statement Tuesday, NCJW CEO Nancy Kaufman said, “A lot of people consider human trafficking something that happens ‘over there,’ in faraway places, to other people’s children and friends. But vulnerable people are being coerced and trapped into modern-day slavery every day in the United States, including an estimated 100,000 sexually exploited children every year.
“Modern-day slavery is growing. Today, there are more slaves in the world than at any other time in history,” the statement said.
This fall, NCJW launched an awareness program called Exodus: NCJW’s Anti-Sex Trafficking Initiative that provides resources, advocacy and programming throughout the country.
With Polaris, NCJW is reaching out to affected people in 11 states that the groups believe have weak victim assistance laws: Arizona, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Rhode Island, Virginia, South Carolina and Florida.
“Taking to heart the Jewish community’s history as slaves in Egypt and our belief that no one should be exploited as Jews once were, NCJW is expanding our enduring mission to improve the quality of life for women, children and families, and to safeguard individual rights and freedom,” Kaufman said.