Dr. Sandie Morgan and Dave Stachowiak discuss Dr. Morgan’s time with the Public-Private Partnership Advisory Council to End Human Trafficking. They examine the annual report that the council released, and how it came to be. Dr. Morgan considers the impact that has been made by this council and topics that are still wanting to be addressed by a future council.
Dr. Sandie Morgan
Dr. Sandie Morgan is recognized globally for her expertise on combating human trafficking and working to end violence against women. She is the director of the Global Center for Women and Justice at Vanguard University in Southern California. She is passionate about the role of education in fighting human trafficking. She launched a 12 unit Anti-Human Trafficking Certificate that is totally online. She believes everyone can do something. But first, they need to study the issue. Then they can be a voice and make a difference.
Dr. Sandie Morgan was appointed Co-Chair of the Public-Private Partnership Advisory Council in December 2019.
This council was legislatively mandated to submit a report by Sept. 2020. In the midst of Covid.
This council had representatives from nonprofit groups, academia, non-governmental organizations, including faith-based to advise the federal government and make recommendations on federal anti-trafficking policy and programming efforts with a specific focus on prevention and victim services.
Prevention can be very difficult to measure, and funding is data-driven. This means that not much funding goes into prevention efforts.
The Public-Private Partnership Advisory Council was able to make recommendations about legislation that should be put in place to address human trafficking; however, they did not have enough time to address every topic and facet that comes with human trafficking. Because of this, they hope that this council will be reinstated in order to address these issues.
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Dave [00:00:00] You’re listening to the Ending Human Trafficking podcast; this is episode number 240: Public-Private Partnership Advisory Council.
Production Credits [00:00:09] Produced by Innovate Learning, Maximizing Human Potential.
Dave [00:00:30] Welcome to the Ending Human Trafficking podcast. My name is Dave Stachowiak.
Sandie [00:00:35] And my name is Sandie Morgan.
Dave [00:00:37] And this is the show where we empower you to study the issues, to be a voice, and make a difference in ending human trafficking. If you’ve listened to the show before, you know, often we have guests on talking about the importance of all the work we’re doing in partnership around the world to end human trafficking and Sandie we get the pleasure of talking with so many experts around the world. And of course, I get the pleasure of talking with you, the expert that I know, who has just done incredible work all over the world and most recently through this Public-Private Partnership Advisory Council. And for those who don’t know and didn’t hear our previous announcement about your leadership on this, I’m wondering if you could tell us a bit about what the advisory council is and about your experience as co-chair because this is a presidential appointment from the White House.
Sandie [00:01:31] You know, it was an opportunity at a level to have an impact on policy. And if you’ve listened to the previous podcast with the folks from Arise, policy is a really important part of how we expand what we’re doing. So, for instance, for me, an attractive part of this invitation to be on this inaugural Public-Private Partnership Advisory Council to End Human Trafficking was that the emphasis was on prevention and protection, survivor care, and a little bit of the history for this, the Public-Private Partnership Advisory Council to End Human Trafficking, which I’m going to reduce to P three after this was established by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2017, which the whole process when we pass legislation, it’s like you have to go back to your civics class, Dave, and remember that it doesn’t happen the minute you push the vote button, it takes some time. So, it was enacted in December 2018 and it provided a formal platform for the development of a council with representatives from nonprofit groups, academia, non-governmental organizations, including faith-based to advise the federal government and make recommendations on federal anti-trafficking policy and programming efforts with a specific focus of prevention and victim services. So, the members of the council came from faith-based communities, from academia. I was very privileged to be asked to be co-chair of the council and our job was to submit a report by September 30th, 2020, when the act was passed in 2017 and enacted in 2018. It took some time to vet the council members and make that final appointment. So, our actual council began in December 2019 and we were by legislation mandated to submit a report by September 30th and our council would end. That was a challenge because after our first meeting in January, shortly thereafter, everything shut down because of covid. So, we produced that report in the midst of a global pandemic, all by virtual meetings. Talk about the amount of time we’ve spent on Zoom and in phone calls and other avenues to be able to meet and produce this report. But I’m really proud of it. I think the opportunity to hear from grassroots experiences from all over the nation, the members represent people from California and Iowa and Kansas and of course, Washington, D.C. as well, New York and in other countries in Scotland and India, to be sure. So that’s how it started. And I think my experience was very different than anything I had ever expected, which probably as a result of doing this during the pandemic.
Dave [00:05:29] Indeed, it’s really when you think about the timeline from December 2019 to September 2020, that’s only really nine months effectively and under any circumstances, that would already be a very accelerated process. And then, of course, covid-19 threw such a wrench into all of our plans on everything this past year. And what I mean would a remarkable piece of work that you all were able to do to put this together in the midst of all of that. And so, I’m curious, having not read the report yet, what are some of the highlights that came out of the report?
Sandie [00:06:05] Well, our mandate was to work on prevention and survivor care. And so, we divided into two committees. And some of the really important aspects of our hopes for the future in prevention is to incorporate prevention education in schools across the board. One of the things that I’ve experienced is the way that our school system works. The school districts may or may not have resources to dedicate to prevention education, and in some states it’s mandated. In other places it isn’t. But there is no evidence-based prevention curriculum that’s available across the board for every school in America. And so, one of the recommendations that I was particularly invested in is to recommend that we produce a prevention curriculum that will be available to every school at no cost. The discrepancies or the disparities, actually, in our schools here in California, I work in one county where they didn’t have the thirty-five thousand dollars that one curriculum developer needed in order to implement in their county. And then in another county, they implemented a program that cost close to a million dollars. So, it becomes an issue of do we need to provide materials that are just available to everybody? We also made recommendations to use prevention education as one of the data markers in our tier rankings for the annual Trafficking in Persons Report. We want to develop better prevention efforts aimed at high-risk groups internationally as well as in our own communities. And those are often identified by the communities themselves. We want to provide better resources for protecting people from being recruited online. In one community meeting here in California, law enforcement advised us that 80 percent of the current trafficking was being done online. And of course, in the midst of the pandemic, that’s not hard to imagine. As we moved and pivoted, our events, our classes to online traffickers did the same thing. And we want to prioritize anti demand efforts. It’s really hard to measure prevention and we want to do a better job of data collection. And in the previous podcast with our friends from Arise, you can go back and listen to some really hopeful news about how we’re developing better data markers for evaluating prevention. One of the problems with prevention has been that it is hard to measure and we are a data-driven decision-making machine. And so, then most of the resources end up in prosecution or protection of survivors and those recently recovered. So how do we begin to demonstrate prevention? One of the things that we discovered while we were evaluating the president’s interagency task force, which is 20 federal agencies, one of my biggest joys of the entire council experience was that we were able to submit questions to any of those 20 agencies and learn what they were doing. Well, one of the things that we discovered is that prevention is on everybody’s mind. And so, they all had some form of prevention effort, whether it was a conference, a workshop, focused on children in at-risk communities, so one of our final recommendations was that the president’s interagency task force and the senior policy operating group actually put together a prevention working group to break down silos and solidify a more concerted effort at prevention. The second area was for survivor care. And our Survivor Care subcommittee also wants more data collection to improve how we follow survivors in some areas when their benefits run out. We don’t know where they are. So then how do we know that they didn’t fall back into a category where they would be easy to exploit? We want to know how much resource is necessary to take a survivor from rescue to restoration, all of those kinds of things in our data collection. And we began to understand because these were grassroots experiences and expertise that were totally bipartisan representatives, that the problems that survivors face are often not at all related to just being rescued. But it’s that long, hard journey to restoration. And sometimes they ended up with criminalization. They were charged with crimes that were committed while they were under the control of the traffickers. So how do we undo that in their records and find ways for restoring them financially? In one particular case? That’s in the written report. And we’ll put a link to the report in the show notes the survivor was forced to get a credit card that the trafficker then used and ran up to the max. And then even though she was rescued, she still has a credit card debt that she’s required to pay. So how do we develop efforts at reducing that kind of financial exploitation that seems to continue? How do we help survivors become financially resilient, have empowerment and other of our council members work with foreign nationals who have been trafficked here and are now trying to obtain legal status and employment, so they don’t want to stay in the place of having to be taken care of. They want to work, but they can’t work until they get the legal documents to be able to work. So, it becomes a vicious cycle. So, we want to eliminate those barriers and improving identification to services for male victims. We recently interviewed an expert researcher on male trafficking victims. And so, I was really pleased that in our Survivor Care subcommittee, we focused on improving identification and access to services for male victims, not only of labor trafficking but also commercial sexual exploitation. And finally, our Survivor Care subcommittee focused on increasing trauma-informed training along the continuum of care. That just means that everybody from the very first person that engages with a victim is trauma-informed and understands what that means. And we can put some links to trauma-informed interviews that we’ve done along the way. We actually did a public release of the report, Dave, that is on YouTube. And I’ll put the link here. It’s about 30 minutes. Senator Scott, Ambassador Richmond, a survivor that we interviewed Bella Hounakey, they all congratulated us, acknowledged the challenge that we faced in putting this together. And I think that the report is a great way to get a good handle on what happened and what needs to happen.
Dave [00:15:03] Thank you for all this of it’s really incredible all that came together. And I’m thinking about the process of doing all this and I’m thinking about all the different kinds of stakeholders, as you detail, like so many different kinds of leaders and organizations came together to make these recommendations. And I would imagine that there was a lot of process of figuring out how to prioritize.
Sandie [00:15:25] Oh, my goodness, Dave, you just hit the nail on. The head, it was 11 independent NGO leaders, and so we all have been doing something the way we’ve always done it, and now we’re all around the same table or in the same zoom meeting. And now we have to figure out how to have a concerted approach. And I love the word concerted because it comes from the root of concert and it has to have harmony. Doesn’t mean we all play the same note. Our varied experiences are really valuable to the final product. And if you read this report, you’ll see how varied our experiences are. But I, many times during the almost year that we worked on this, I went back to the Coaching for Leaders podcasts and listened to some of your experts on negotiation and compromise. And I would be really interested in your viewpoint on how critical in collaboration, communication, and compromise even may be to finishing in the best interest of those who are survivors.
Dave [00:16:52] Yeah, well, it’s interesting to say the word compromise. I think about while we are often talking to an international audience, this console, of course, very much us focused and of course, our government was founded on compromise. Right. So, such an important part of any time we get together. Yeah. For those who don’t know, I host a show also called Coaching for Leaders, Helping Leaders to get Better through conversations and learning from other leaders. And one of the folks who I’ve had on my show before, Kwame Christian, who is really a leader in negotiation, and he has a podcast for those who are interested, are called Negotiate Anything, which is one of the top podcasts out there on negotiation skills. And I think there are two things that he’s taught me Sandie that that come up for me in the context of this. One of the analogies that he uses is and I forget if he uses a lantern or a candle, but he says, you know, going into a negotiation often is like going into a room with a lantern. And you really are best to spend some time walking around the room and lighting it up. And so, he likes to use that analogy of if he went into a room that was completely dark with a lantern and just kind of walked around and lit up and just saw what was there, that that’s a wonderful way to start a conversation where there’s going to need to be compromise, that we begin our interaction with the other person of spending time listening, asking questions and discovering what’s important to them and what’s important to their organization. And I think that leads into the second point from him that I really appreciate, which is a big part of compromise, is finding out what’s really important to each party. And oftentimes, if you’re willing to take the lantern out and do some exploring and some listening, that you’re able to often find that there are things that really are critical to the other party or other organization that maybe are not as critical to you to compromise on. And also, ideally, you find things that are very critical to you and your organization that maybe aren’t as important to the other organization. And so, the point he makes to me often is a good negotiation is about exchanging things of unequal value and being able to identify those things so that, you know, this is really important to us. This is really important to you. How can we both get a little bit of what we want so that we contribute to the larger good? And I suspect there was probably a bunch of that that happens in this process for you and the other members on the council.
Sandie [00:19:39] I love the analogy of the lantern because I did have this sense like I was in a master class this entire time, learning from the other perspectives around the table. And we figured out how to combine our voices for the good of those that we represent, those being exploited, those who are more vulnerable to being exploited. And at the same time, we actually put in our report that obtaining consensus among the council members with diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise was not an easy task. And we didn’t always completely find 100 percent agreement, and yet it was critical to stay at the table and get this report done. Hmm.
Dave [00:20:40] I am curious about one other thing, too. Well, maybe a couple other things are you use the word recommendation a few times. And I’m conscious, of course, that there is a transition happening here in our government presidential transition in the coming month or two. What happens now, given the transition happening at the highest levels of government, but also for the council and what’s next and what’s the next iteration of the console through the legislation that’s already there? Or I’m also curious, I shouldn’t say or, and I’m also curious what now happens with the recommendations that have been made as our new government comes together?
Sandie [00:21:21] I am so glad you asked that question. So, when I said sunset, I didn’t explain what that meant. That meant we submitted all of our recommendations and it’s about 50 pages. So, it’s pretty extensive to Congress and to the president’s interagency task force. So, every federal agency has access to see the recommendations for agency implementation. And then Congress has access not only to see what we recommended to our president’s interagency task force but also recommendations for legislation. And that is all available in the report. The problem with having a truncated council term instead of the legislated two years, only less than a year means that when this transition happens, there will be the hope that Congress will reauthorize the council and that the new council will be quickly appointed so that they can begin to work to address gaps that this council totally put right up front. We did not have enough time and available resources to really focus on labor trafficking. We just touched it. Sustainable housing was another important item on the list that we had wished we had more time to address. And then, of course, now we put in a brief overlook at the impact of covid. But the rapid changes occurring to the pandemic really needs more exploration and then building a stronger private sector collaboration. When we begin to see the importance of that input from people on the ground who have the culture at their fingertips in their community, whether it’s in Arkansas or Nebraska or Washington, D.C., they bring a unique perspective that is really important in producing this report.
Dave [00:23:50] How does this experience impact your view for the future?
Sandie [00:23:54] I am excited about the future. As this movement in anti-trafficking matures, this concept of public-private collaboration has to grow. And even though our council ended, I’m connected to networks that I wasn’t connected to before. And if you can imagine a safety net, because ultimately, we want to eradicate human trafficking, we want the most vulnerable not to be trapped. So, we want a safety net. And those new network connections are like strands to strengthen that safety net. And I know, Dave, you and I have talked about the impact William Wilberforce had on me and serving on this council was an inspiring opportunity to see how that top-down, intentionally built, overlapping networks of legislators, public sector leaders, corporate leaders, academics, faith-based leaders and nonprofit leaders. This is the way that we will eradicate human trafficking. I am very honored to have served on this council. I’m wishing the very best to the next council. They have a lot of work to do, and I’m hopeful that Congress will move quickly in the next legislative agenda to reauthorize the council.
Dave [00:25:42] Well, Sandie, I’ve said this to you before privately, but thank you so much for the work that you and all the other members of this council did. I know how difficult and challenging it was, not only for all the normal reasons, but in the midst of the pandemic, and especially you and your other co-chair of being able to step in and to lead this inaugural effort. What a wonderful gift you have given our country and to all the people around the world of doing this work and helping to continue to raise the profile of the conversation at the highest levels of government, but also to provide recommendations that will serve all of us and make the work that we’re doing easier for all of us and more effective. I’m just so grateful for you having done this and everyone in the council doing this. Thank you.
Sandie [00:26:32] We all become stronger when we work together. And you’ll begin to notice as the Ending Human Trafficking podcast grows that more and more of those connections to guests come from that network that began to grow out of my experience being on that council and even it’s almost, I don’t know, maybe cross pollenization, that sort of thing. I was invited to do someone else’s podcast. In fact, I’ll put a link. The New Activist podcast interviewed me, and I thought, how fun to be the one being interviewed, not just the one doing the interview. And there is a lot we can learn from our colleagues, whether we agree politically. This is a bipartisan issue. And I want to really recommend that those of you who are trying to build stronger coalitions and build trust to work together, go back and listen to Dave’s Coaching for Leaders episodes on compromise and collaboration.
Dave [00:27:45] Yeah. Thank you for the recommendation. We will get links to all of those in the episode notes, of course. In addition, Sandie mentioned earlier the YouTube presentation and we have links to the report and the slides all in the episode notes. So, this episode in particular is a great one to go track down online so that you can really dive in on all of those resources. And the very best place to go for that is Endinghumantrafficking.org. That is our hub for everything on the site and also for all of our past episodes. And while you’re there, we’d invite you to take the first step, go online and download a copy of Sandie’s book, The Five Things You Must Know: A Quick Start Guide to Ending Human Trafficking. It’ll teach you the five critical things that Sandie has identified you should know before you join the fight. You can get access by going to Endinghumantrafficking.org. And if you have questions that have come up from this conversation today, we’d invite you to send us a message. Feedback at Endinghumantrafficking.org is the very best place to do that. And I think that that is going to do it for us today. Sandie, thank you so much for your work, and looking forward to our next conversation in two weeks.
Sandie [00:28:59] Thank you, Dave. After doing this. One more thing I’m going to have to add at least two more things to the five things eBook.
Dave [00:29:10] Very good, will watch.
Sandie [00:29:11] Yeah, OK.