There was an important “first” at the second night of the Democratic National Convention on July 26. A former victim of human trafficking took the podium at the DNC-a first for any major political party’s convention-to describe the years of abuse she endured and to state her support for presidential candidate Sec. Hillary Clinton, who has affirmed her commitment to ending human trafficking.
“Before human trafficking began to capture our attention, before there were laws to identify and protect victims, even before I escaped my trafficker, Hillary Clinton was fighting to end modern slavery,” said Ima Matul in her address to the DNC. Matul shared her story with the convention attendees. She had taken a job as a nanny for a Los Angeles family at age 17 to leave an abusive marriage in Indonesia, but her trafficker confiscated her passport when she reached the US. She was never paid, as promised, and her employer was often violent and abusive. After three years Matul wrote a plea for help to the nanny next door, and the woman took Matul to the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking. They helped her escape and be rehabilitated, and Matul became an advocate for fellow survivors.
According to a Medium op-ed column recently penned by Clinton, Clinton “supported the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which enhanced support for survivors and equipped prosecutors to go after traffickers. As Secretary of State, (she) oversaw about 170 anti-trafficking programs in 70 countries. (She) also ‘insisted’ that the United States be included in the annual Trafficking in Persons Report, so that American would hold itself to the ‘same standard’ as the rest of the world.'” (source: Huffington Post, 7/27)