Nashotah Resident Tim Bodnar, along with citizens representing various other communities throughout Wisconsin returned from a trip to Washington, DC after having met with Sen Ron Johnson, Congressman Paul Ryan and Ron Kind and key staff as well as the legislation aide from Sen Tammy Baldwin. Tim was among 300 individuals from 45 states who took part in a day of advocacy organized by human rights agency International Justice Mission.
The purpose of the visit was to elevate the need for awareness for action against human trafficking affecting currently over 29 million people in the world. “Several years ago, I first became aware of the human trafficking issue, and was both appalled and heartbroken. It was almost too hard to believe the abuse and hardship that adults and even children experience in this world. Since that time, I have had the chance to see first hand these issues in other countries and even our own Milwaukee area, that have strengthened my resolve to fight this issue”
The main reason for visiting Washington, DC was to ask for support of a bill currently in Congress called the “Human Trafficking Prioritization Act” (Senate bill 1249) which elevates an office within the State Department, called the Trafficking In Persons (TIP) office, to Bureau status. The point of this is to elevate the discussion about fighting trafficking to the same level as other interests in foreign policy discussions. This change can be made with NO COST to the federal government, but would significantly elevate the visibility of human trafficking within foreign policy discussion in DC.
“The congressional office staff were very respectful and listened to our request and promised to follow up on the issue, but at this point neither senator has agreed to sign on as a cosponsor of the bill.”
With the senators in summer recess, Tim and the others who attended the DC session would encourage everyone to contact the Senate offices of Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin and ask then to take the lead on this issue of human trafficking and join the 34 other senators co-sponsoring this bill. The house version of the bill has already passed with the support of Representatives Sensenbrenner, Kind, and Ryan. We are looking forward to hearing from our senators soon on this issue.
Further information is available here: http://freedomcommons.ijm.org/node/13266 or by contacting Tim at SeekJusticeWI@gmail.com.