April 27, 2009
I recently worked as a visiting legal professional on war crimes appeals from Darfur, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Uganda at the International Criminal Court in the Hague. Working on child soldier cases and learning more about crimes against humanity, including mass rapes and sexual enslavement of women and girls, led me to research local human rights abuses when I returned home last fall to Portland, Oregon. The trafficking problem, especially commercial sexual exploitation of underage girls, in my own city and state appalled me. Since then, I have been working on trying to change Oregon's laws on trafficking to bring them up to other states', federal, and international standards. Today, a bill (SB 839) seeking address confidentiality for trafficking victims passed the Senate Judiciary Committee and is now headed to the House Judiciary Committee and the full floor for a hearing and vote. Oregon's legislators need to know we care about protecting victims of organized crime, especially children who are sexually exploited for profit, and I hope you will join me in raising our voices to make our laws stronger for these and other victims of civil rights violations.
I grew up in Washington, DC, graduated from Stanford University, and have lived in Africa and India, working on women's and development issues. I also have worked for disarmament, peace, and environmental non-profits in Europe and in the US. I am an attorney (pursuing my advanced law degree in International Human Rights at Oxford University), a freelance writer, an activist on Global AIDS and health issues, and also work with non-profits creating learning gardens and combatting human trafficking.