In 2004, CAST launched Resilient Voices, a one-of-a-kind regional leadership development program that trains and organizes survivors in Los Angeles to use the power of their personal stories and experiences to put a face on an otherwise unseen human rights issue. Members of Resilient Voices participate in a training curriculum that includes advocacy, coalition building and grassroots community organizing, public speaking, navigation of the justice and legislative systems and media advocacy in order to inform the public about the existence of this crime and affect legislative change.
Resilient Voices members have been featured in national and international media including Ms. Magazine, Los Angeles Times, Kansas City Star, Univision, Televisa, Telemundo, Marie Claire, The Story with Dick Gordon on National Public Radio news, Larry King Live, El Show de Cristina, The Jewish Journal, La Opinion and Korea Times- among many others.
Their impact has been visible not only in media, but in the creation of laws establishing victims’ rights in the U.S. With training and growing confidence, survivors have begun to transform into powerful advocates for change. The impact of their voices has led to the development of stronger protections for victims in both California and Federal anti-trafficking laws.
RV members have successfully advocated for victim protections (California Assembly Bill 22, California Trafficking Victims Protection Act—model legislation on trafficking), as well as for permanent legal stays in the United States through a successful Green Card Campaign. Survivors championed for the expedited process of securing Green Cards that had been promised to victims since 2000, but that the immigration department had withheld. Caucus members collected over 2,500 signatures and testified before members of the United States Congress. After nearly a decade of waiting, trafficking survivors began to receive Green Cards in 2009. This is a major policy victory which now entitles survivors to seek higher pay, better jobs, full integration into society, and the freedom to travel outside the country. With these new freedoms, the Caucus members can now begin to plan national and international efforts to begin outreaching to and organizing of other survivors, educating women in their home countries about trafficking, and using their powerful experiences and advocacy skills to influence anti-trafficking policies beyond U.S. borders. In 2010, the Caucus was instrumental in passing SB 657, the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act, which requires large manufacturers and retailers in the state of California to disclose their efforts to ensure that their products throughout their supply chains are not manufactured using slave labor.
Up until August 2019, Resilient Voices has welcomed members from 19 countries, including Kenya, Indonesia, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Honduras, Mexico, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, India, Peru, Guatemala, Colombia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Russia, Thailand, and the United States. By incorporating diverse cultures and uplifting inclusive values, Resilient Voices seeks to contribute to the anti-human trafficking movement not only on the west coast, but in the globe.
To Join Resilient Voices or for more information,
please contact Ima Matul, the Survivor Coordinator at CAST.
Phone: (213) 365-0138