Kembry McNeil-Thompson: Marymount University Senior Pursuing a B.A. in English and a B.A. in Criminal Justice.
The Virginia Coalition Against Human Trafficking realizes that while there will be successes within our legislative efforts, improvements within the criminal justice system will constantly need to be made on behalf of survivors.
Since VCAHT’s main goal is to ensure that survivors of human trafficking are not prosecuted within the justice system. We pursue the introduction of bills and start conversations about changing the perception of trafficking victims in an effort to provide them with the resources they need in order to further their journeys to health and healing. Although my time interning with VCAHT is temporary, I hope to aid in making as big of an impact as possible by helping them in their efforts.
Regardless of my time with VCAHT ending, I will still help with anti-human trafficking efforts as much as possible after. There are a number of ways in which myself and others can make a difference within the lives of survivors. We can advocate for survivors who are underserved within our justice system by signing petitions and reaching out to legislators, and we can express the need for change in legislators and those alike to decriminalize crimes committed by victims of trafficking. Advocacy efforts do not have to end there, however. Educating others on the issues and myths surrounding human trafficking can go a long way too, and volunteering time with anti-human trafficking organizations can ensure that one is able to use their advocacy efforts in more than one area of the anti-human trafficking effort.
Although I sometimes feel small and powerless in this big world and when fighting against the large, complex system that is human trafficking, I have learned that my efforts and my voice—like those of others and like those of VCAHT– can and does make a difference. I will not stop helping survivors, and I challenge you to do the same with us here at VCAHT.