Latest News from Equality Now - July 2013

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Action Updates

Equality Now New York Director Lauren Hersh speaks at the 2013 Legislative Lobby Day in Albany, NY

US -- TRAFFICKING VICTIMS PROTECTION & JUSTICE ACT: While unfortunately, due to political grandstanding within the New York State legislature, the TVPJA did not pass during this session, one of our petition calls did. On 22 June, a bill was passed to extend the “Safe Harbor” law to cover all prostituted individuals under the age of 18 in New York (previously only victims aged 15 and under were covered). Now, 16 and 17 year-old victims who are arrested for prostitution will be classified as trafficking victims, thereby allowing them to access treatment services rather than jail time. Their criminal records will also be sealed.

Over the next few months, Equality Now and our partners will strategize on a plan to secure passage of the TVPJA during the next legislative session. As there was significant support for it in both the NYS Senate and Assembly, we are optimistic that the bill will ultimately pass during the next term. Thank you to our thousands of supporters for petitioning the New York legislature in support of this campaign, and we hope we can count on your continued support in 2014.

SAUDI ARABIA - PROTECTING WOMEN'S RIGHTS ACTIVISTS: Women’s rights activists Wajeha Al-Huwaider and Fawzia Al-Oyouni are in the process of filing an appeal of their unjust conviction, which is due 12 July, after which the Appeals Court will make a decision whether to uphold the prison sentence and travel ban. Equality Now has added a public social media push to our existing advocacy efforts. If you have a Twitter account, please take part.

UK launches national helpline dedicated to fighting FGM
"For the first time in this country we are giving a voice to the young people from these communities who have not been able to speak out. The government, the police and health professionals have been frightened and this is bringing it out into the open at last." – Efua Dorkenoo, Advocacy Director - FGM Programme, Equality Now

On 24 June the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) launched the UK’s first helpline dedicated to protecting girls from Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). The 24/7 helpline will be a direct resource for children and for anyone who suspects a girl may be at risk of FGM or wants to know more about how to prevent FGM. As the summer holiday has historically been the time at-risk girls are most likely to be taken abroad to be mutilated, the timing of the launch is particularly beneficial. The helpline is supported by the Metropolitan Police and operated in association with a number of organizations, including Equality Now, Daughters of Eve and FORWARD, who are providing training. Helpline: 0800 028 3550 and/or email: fgmhelp@nspcc.org.uk [Read more]

Europe creates a Platform to address human trafficking
Equality Now's Andrea Matolcsi & EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator Myria Vassiliadou

Equality Now became a member of the new European Union (EU) Civil Society Platform against Trafficking in Human Beings which officially launched on 31 May in Brussels. The Platform will provide civil society organizations, working at European, national and local levels on trafficking and exploitation, with a rare opportunity for collaboration and information-sharing. Equality Now was pleased by the emphasis placed by several policy and NGO representatives on combating demand, taking a gendered approach to trafficking and not losing a focus on sexual exploitation, while also addressing other forms of trafficking. At the launch, Trafficking Program Officer Andrea Matolcsi was the rapporteur on a working group addressing the internet and trafficking.

Mandy's Corner: Women's Rights in the News

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