The Advocates for Human Rights will give a Special Recognition Award to the Safe Harbors Initiative, a coalition working to protect women and girls from sex trafficking in Minnesota.
The Safe Harbors law was signed into action on July 20, 2011, and includes protections for commercially sexually exploited children and clarifies that sexually exploited children are crime victims, not criminals.
The law will be honored at the annual Human Rights Awards Dinner will be held June 21, 2012 at the Hilton Minneapolis. The award will also honor the Safe Harbors legislative champions, including chief authors Representative Steve Smith and Senator Sandra Pappas.
The Advocates will recognize the many partners who worked on this initiative, including ECPAT-USA, The Family Partnership, Breaking Free, Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center, Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Program for Aid to Victims of Sexual Assault, Women’s Foundation of Minnesota, the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office, and others in the law enforcement community.
Until passage of the Safe Harbors law, Minnesota defined children found to be “engaging in prostitution” simultaneously as victims of sex trafficking and delinquents.
“The Safe Harbors law changes how Minnesotaresponds to the sexual exploitation of children in our state,” says Michele Garnett McKenzie, director of advocacy at The Advocates. “Minnesota will now help children escape their traffickers through effective intervention and focus enforcement on traffickers and those who contribute to the demand for trafficking. The coalition partners who helped pass the Safe Harbors law deserve to be recognized for their valuable contributions to the protection of the human rights of children in Minnesota.”
The Human Rights Awards Dinner is held annually to honor individuals who have made a significant contribution to The Advocates’ human rights work and to the human rights movement locally and globally. The Advocates will also honor actor and activist Mike Farrell and feature the dean of the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs, Eric Schwartz.
The Advocates has chosen Farrell, perhaps best-known for his role as Captain B. J. Hunnicutt in the television series M*A*S*H, as the 2012 recipient of the annual Don and Arvonne Fraser Human Rights Award. Farrell, who is the President of Death Penalty Focus, is committed to ending the injustice of the death penalty.
The Advocates for Human Rights applies international human rights standards to advocate for the human rights of women in Minnesota, the United States, and around the world.
The Advocates for Human Rights is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion and protection of internationally recognized human rights. The Advocates accomplishes its mission by involving volunteers in research, education and advocacy and building broad-based constituencies in the United States and selected global communities. The Advocates for Human Rights holds Special Consultative Status with the United Nations. Learn more at www.theadvocatesforhumanrights.org.