Prominent anti-human trafficking organizations to boycott White House event

Prominent anti-human trafficking organizations to boycott White House event
© Greg Nash

Several prominent anti-trafficking organizations will skip a White House event on fighting human trafficking organized by Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpManufacturers group kicks off campaign to close the industry's skills gap Fed chief issues stark warning to Congress on deficits Rally crowd chants '46' for Donald Trump Jr. MORE on Friday, citing opposition to the administration's policies.

The Washington Post reported that a number of top anti-trafficking groups have indicated that they will not send a delegation to the White House for the summit, which is set to honor a federal law establishing trafficking as a felony.

A spokesperson from one of the eight groups set to boycott Friday's event told the Post that the summit amounted to a "photo op."

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“We have such a chasm between rhetoric and reality,” Martina Vandenberg of the Human Trafficking Legal Center told the newspaper. "I don’t think any of us have the desire to be a part of a photo op."

Representatives from some of the groups pointed to the Trump administration's increased scrutiny of T visas, which allows entry to the U.S. for those who can prove they were trafficked illegally.

“During that time, they are unable to work and unable to get medical care,” one trafficking survivor said of the T visa application process. “We are talking about years where people are just stuck.”

Among the organizations skipping the event are prominent groups at the front lines of the anti-trafficking effort, including Polaris, a nonprofit which runs the national anti-trafficking hotline.

Ivanka Trump did not address criticism of the administration's policies when contacted by the Post about the event, but said she stands with the president.

“I am honored to stand with the president as we convene federal, state, local and tribal leaders, alongside survivors, employers and advocates to ensure that we see the end of the crisis of human trafficking once and for all,” she told the newspaper.