Founded in 1983, The Advocates for Human Rights is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing human rights principles in the United States and around the world. The Advocates adapts traditional human rights methodologies to conduct innovative research and generate human rights reports and educational trainings designed to bring laws, policies, and practice into compliance with international human rights standards.
In 2007, The Advocates for Human Rights conducted a needs assessment for the State of Minnesota to determine the services available to victims of sex trafficking and the barriers they face when seeking protection. The assessment, requested by the state’s Human Trafficking Task Force, used the same documentation and fact-finding techniques developed by The Advocates when monitoring human rights in countries around the world.
Sex Trafficking Needs Assessment for the State of Minnesota, published in September 2008, examined the government’s response to victims at the local, state, federal, and tribal levels. The report identified services available to trafficking victims, assessed their effectiveness, and made recommendations for coordinating services and enhancing legal protections to better meet the needs of sex trafficking victims in the state.
Following the report, The Advocates for Human Rights worked with the state’s Human Trafficking Task Force to draft legislation based on the report’s recommendations that would provide stronger tools for prosecution of sex trafficking. Connecting domestic legal protection with international human rights standards, the bill strengthened Minnesota’s sex trafficking law and sent a strong message that Minnesota does not tolerate sexual slavery or involuntary servitude and that perpetrators of such acts will be held accountable. The Minnesota Legislature unanimously passed the Act to Combat Trafficking in Minnesota, which the Governor signed into law on May 21, 2009. Through monitoring and legislative advocacy, The Advocates helped the state government meet its human rights obligations to protect victims of sex trafficking.