Eight Groups Boycotting Trump Event on Trafficking

On Friday, President Donald Trump is expected to attend a White House summit organized by his daughter Ivanka on human trafficking, an issue he frequently calls a top priority. Some of the most prominent anti-trafficking organizations and advocates will boycott the event, reports the Washington Post. The group includes Polaris, the nonprofit organization that runs the national human-trafficking hotline, and the leader of Freedom Network USA, the largest U.S. anti-trafficking coalition. Their decision comes after months of anguish over what they call public deception. They say that although the president frequently mentions human trafficking, his administration is endangering a significant portion of trafficking victims: immigrants. “We have such a chasm between rhetoric and reality,” said Martina Vandenberg of the Human Trafficking Legal Center, a network of attorneys handling trafficking cases. “This administration is undermining protections carefully built for trafficking victims over two decades.”

The advocates are especially alarmed by increased scrutiny of T visas, which provide temporary legal status for immigrants who can prove they were trafficked in the U.S. At least eight organizations declined invitations to the summit because of their opposition to the administration’s policies. Three of those groups said they feared backlash for their decision, so they cited conflicts with other events. Trump is scheduled to be joined at the event by Vice President Mike Pence and Attorney General William Barr. This month, Ivanka visited two residential facilities for trafficking victims in Atlanta. She praised her father’s dedication to the trafficking issue, calling it a modern form of slavery. Ivanka has advocated for anti-trafficking legislation, including a law intended to strengthen prosecutors’ ability to go after websites that host advertisements for commercial sex.

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