Michele Garnett McKenzie
The Advocates for Human Rights
We had a really great experience over the course of the last year , working on one component of a human rights approach to ending trafficking of our children in our state. It’s something that human rights language has helped us bring into our state or open up the dialogue… but that language change allowed us to really start reframing the issue of prostitution of kids in our state. Over the course of the last maybe 18 months we were able to assemble a coalition of people who work on juvenile justice issues, on prostitution reform, on rehabilitative services, law enforcement, police, prosecutors, judges, to reframe our approach to kids in prostitution, and we successfully did that in the face of a hugely polarized legislative climate. And we now are moving forward on implementation, and the key piece coming out of that is that we have to look at what the rights of the kids who are being prostituted are. And as long as we keep that in focus, everything is falling into to place—so it really makes a difference. We didn’t ever have to tell anybody we were using a human rights approach to use a human rights approach.