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Let’s Call an End to Human Trafficking partners with VS. 

The Women’s Leadership Initiative of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft creates an innovative website.

Dr. Holly Atkinson, Norma Abbene and Ambassador Luis CdeBaca

Created by the Women’s Leadership Initiative of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, VS.:  Confronting Modern Slavery in America, is an innovative pro bono website.  Hon. Luis CdeBaca, Ambassador-at-Large in the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, delivered the keynote speech at the launch of VS. “In order to fight and end human trafficking, we have to have the courage to call it what it is: modern slavery,” said Ambassador CdeBaca in his remarks.
“The Mayor’s Office has long been at the forefront of the fight to end modern day slavery,” said Deputy Mayor Carol Robles-Román. “Engaging all parties and forming public-private partnerships like these both help to raise the public’s consciousness and strengthen the overall effort against this crime.”

Norma Abbene and Taro Yamasaki
The night featured compelling photographs by Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Taro Yamasaki from his “Black Heart, Red Heart” project, which challenges the myths and misperceptions about human trafficking.
“We welcome innovative partnerships from all disciplines to coordinate separate anti-trafficking efforts into a unified front to end this devastating crime.  When we come together, join forces and collaborate, the best ideas and practices emerge,” said Deputy Counsel to Mayor Bloomberg, Norma Abbene.
 

Debra Brown Steinberg rings the NASDAQ opening bell.

As part of the launch, NASDAQ featured VS. in its January 30, 2013 Opening Bell Ceremony.  Gregory Markel, Co-Chairman of Cadwalader's Litigation Department, and Debra Brown Steinberg, Chair of the Cadwalader Women's Leadership Initiative Pro Bono Committee, did the honors of ringing the bell at 9:30 am in front of a crowded, enthusiastic room. “Together, today, we reaffirm the XIII Amendment: ‘Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude…shall exist within the United States…” said Debra Brown Steinberg.
 
The NYC Mayor’s Office is partnering with VS. to end human trafficking through raising awareness and training. VS., a virtual roundtable for frontline organizations, is an initiative dedicated to raising awareness and fostering collaboration to combat domestic human trafficking.  Its mission is to heighten public awareness of human trafficking in America by disseminating critical information on best practices and providing a platform for anti-trafficking organizations and agencies to work collaboratively and innovatively, outside their organizational silos, toward common goals.
 
In May of 2010, the NYC Mayor’s Office launched its multimedia anti-human trafficking public awareness campaign and website, Let’s Call an End to Human Trafficking, the first-of-its-kind in the nation.  The campaign was generously supported by Somaly Mam Foundation, Emma Thompson, the Helen Bamber Foundation, Estée Lauder, Grey New York, Grey Digital and in-kind donation by the Katie Ford Foundation.

Since the launch of this effort, the NYC Mayor’s Office partnered with many grass roots organizations, service providers, private entities and city agencies to bring awareness to the many forms of human trafficking.  The New York City Family Justice Centers, the Administration for Children’s Services, the Taxi & Limousine Commission, and the Health and Hospital Corporation’s 11 hospitals received anti-human trafficking training.  Partnering with Safe Horizon, and in collaboration with the Mayor’s Office Survivors of Human Exploitation Working Group (Working Group), an introductory training tool specifically for medical and mental health professionals (Recognizing Human Trafficking: Guidelines for Health Care Providers) was created.

In keeping with the collaborative mission of the campaign, the NYC Mayor’s Office has shared its anti-human trafficking efforts with other jurisdictions, recently sharing the campaign and giving technical support to King County, Washington for their anti-human trafficking initiative.

The Working Group, in partnership with the Frederick Douglass Family Foundation, introduced a modern day slavery and abolition curriculum to the Department of Education.  The curriculum was taught as part of IS 229’s participation in the Frederick Douglass Family Foundation’s national “100 Days to Freedom” project.  IS 229 is located in the Bronx, NY.