This past week two organizations, each with a long history of working with survivors of human trafficking RESCINDED their prior endorsement of Prop 35!
The SAGE Project (Standing Against Global Exploitation) last Monday informed California Against Slavery / Prop 35 campaign that their board of directors was rescinding their endorsement and requesting that their name be removed from the CAS website. The SAGE Project has a long history of work assisting victims of human trafficking and was founded in 1992 by Norma Hotaling, herself a survivor of human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation.
Chab Dai (“joining hands”) was founded in Cambodia in 2005, and now works also in Canada and the United States to address human trafficking and exploitation through coalition building, advocacy and research. This past Wednesday I received word of their decision to rescind their endorsement and of their request to have their name removed from the CAS website.
When two organizations of this caliber rescind – take back – their endorsements, we must take notice! What possible agenda could they have, if not simply being concerned about the potential negative impacts of Prop 35? Both of these organizations deserve great respect for taking a courageous stance.
We also need to understand that due to the emotional nature of this proposition, a non-endorsement (or taking “no position”) can be a very powerful statement. We must ask ourselves, “Why are some organizations not endorsing Prop 35?”
I cannot speak to these organizations’ reasons for not endorsing, but I do ask myself, why?
CAST (Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking), which has supported prior legislation addressing human trafficking. (CAST is quoted in this article as having concerns about unintended consequences.)
Polaris Project, a national organization, but which also works on legislation and training at the state level.
California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, and California Coalition Against Sexual Assault, collaborative groups which are involved in supporting legislative efforts.
Community Solutions, another long-time provider of assistance to survivors and deeply involved in collaboration with a host of other anti-trafficking organizations has publicly stated their opposition.
Food for thought…
And also this past week, the San Jose City Council decided to take “no position” on Prop 35, when three weeks ago they were prepared to endorse the initiative. They changed their mind after receiving input from anti-trafficking experts with experience in providing services to survivors, civil and immigration assistance to trafficking survivors, and the need for a multidisciplinary, collaborative response.
Finally, as we get closer to election day more newspapers are opposing Prop 35. Again, ask why? Could it be that by waiting to take a closer examination and by reaching out to experienced anti-trafficking organizations for input they realized the harmful consequences buried beneath the emotional response of higher prison sentencing? You decide. (Click here for editorials.)
There can be no agenda in opposing Prop 35. It is opposed because it is NOT a good initiative. Vote NO on Prop 35.