MIPC Joins IJM to Eradicate Slavery

Dear Mercer Island,

Thank you for joining with IJM and calling on President Obama to make the eradication of modern-day slavery a priority for his Administration. Last week, I had the honor of delivering our letter - signed by you and nearly 21,000 other modern-day abolitionists! - to Gayle Smith, Special Assistant to President Obama and Senior Director at the National Security Council. Ms. Smith is responsible for global development and humanitarian assistance issues for the Obama Administration, and has been a leading voice on foreign aid reform. I talked with her about how we can secure more resources for combating slavery around the world, especially in the context of proposed deep cuts in U.S. foreign aid.

Ms. Smith told me, “It is amazing that when there’s so much going on in our own country, 21,000 Americans want the President to know that they care about trafficking victims abroad.” She said that the strong bipartisan support around the country is very important to confronting slavery.

Your help does make a difference. Thanks in part to those of you who supported this effort last year, the President requested an increase of $400,000 more for the Trafficking in Persons office in 2012 over his request for the previous year. Having been active in the human rights field for twenty-five years, I am increasingly aware that building the political will to protect the most vulnerable among us requires an active constituency of people who care enough to speak up to those in power. Thank you for raising your voice on behalf of children, women and men who are living in bondage. IJM greatly appreciates your partnership in this work.

Warmly,
Holly J. Burkhalter
Vice President for Government Relations