Prosecuting human traffickers and providing after-care for their victims are both critical, said Dr. Sandra Morgan, Director of the Global Center for Women and Justice at Vanguard University.
But there is a third area of importance she said often gets overlooked, and that is preventing the crime from occurring in the first place.
“I want to know that you found kids who were homeless or living in homes with drug abuse, which increases their risk of getting into the lifestyle,” Morgan said. “Real prevention has to look at the forces that push kids into this. That is one of the things I really want to address.”
Morgan — a former administrator of the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force, pediatric nurse and host of the “Ending Human Trafficking” podcast — is one of nine new appointees to the White House’s Public-Private Partnership Advisory Council to End Human Trafficking.
The appointments were announced on Oct. 31.
Morgan was nominated by John Richmond, ambassador-at-large of the U.S. State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.
She has advocated for victims of exploitation and trafficking in Europe, South America, the Middle East and Africa. She also serves on the Orange County Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) Steering Committee.
The council will advise the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, which includes approximately 15 federal agencies and departments focused on public health and social services.
Established by Senate Bill 1312, a bipartisan legislative mandate to reauthorize the Trafficking Victims Projection Act, the Public Private Partnership Advisory Council ensures U.S. government policies and programs use best practices in their victim prevention, rehabilitation and aftercare efforts.
Derek Marsh, the assistant director of the Global Center for Women and Justice who helped start the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force (OCHTTF) in 2004, said Morgan’s background and expertise will make her a force in the advisory council.
“She knows just about everyone there is to know in the local communities here in California and throughout the United States,” Marsh said. “She has seen things from their fruition to what we have today.”
Deidre Pujols — who, along with her husband, Los Angeles Angel and future baseball Hall of Famer Albert Pujols, received the 2019 Humanitarian Award from the United Nations for their work with their organization Strike Out Slavery — said the “wealth of information” Morgan will bring at a national level will “help to improve lives of those around the world.”
Morgan also wants to use her seat on the advisory council to address labor trafficking, which she said is three times more prevalent than sex trafficking.
“It’s just as awful,” Morgan said. “This generation needs to learn to understand that any kind of slavery is a loss of dignity and human rights. We just have to communicate that it is just as egregious as being sold for a commercial sex act.”
Morgan anticipates that the council will begin to collaborate in January.