November 10, 2008: BPSOS was invited to speak at the White House on October 28 at the Success Against Slavery: Strategies for the Future & Promising Practices in International Programming event sponsored by the White House Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives and the US Department of State Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.
The roundtable event opened with a preview of the movie Call and Response. It is a film that exposes the true nature of human trafficking—that there are more people enslaved now than in any other time, over 27 million people.
This exclusive event showcased six non-governmental organizations (NGOs) whose programs were selected as exemplary programs in legal advocacy, aftercare, and education. Jedd Medefind, Acting Director and Special Assistant to the President, welcomed the guests and introduced Ambassador Mark P. Lagon, who delivered the keynote address.
In his address, Ambassador Lagon emphasized the need for all countries to work on the issue of sex and labor trafficking. The NGO communities are in the forefront of this fight by building capacity and creating economic development to ease the pressures that lead to trafficking. Additionally, Ambassador Lagon highlighted that India is the epicenter of modern slavery, with the numbers in the millions, where the cost of a cow is more than the cost of a child.
Tuyet Duong, BPSOS Board Chairperson, expertly represented BPSOS on the labor trafficking panel. Duong discussed the case of Polar Twin Advance and the effective outcomes of the letter-writing campaign in Malaysia that allowed for justice, compensation, and Polar Twin Advance making changes in its business practices.
Additionally, she outlined the CAMSA Model of protection, prevention, and prosecution, especially in the current case of the 150 workers who are still trafficked in the W&D Apparel factory.
Other speakers included Ruchira Gupta, Apne Aap Women Worldwide; Adeyemi Oshodi, World Hope International; Jess Eaves, World Vision US; Richard Hoffman, Catholic Relief Services-Brazil; and Blair Burns, International Justice Mission.
Following the roundtable, a reception was held and Justin Dillon, producer and director of Call and Response, addressed the attendees. It was an honor and privilege for BPSOS to be invited to participate in this event.