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 CONTACT: Lacey Hanson
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TEXAS MEMBER OF CONGRESS REP. TED POE NAMED “ABOLITION CHAMPION” IN NEW ANTI-SLAVERY ONLINE ACTION CENTER

FreedomCommons.org provides first-ever ratings of members of congress and anti-slavery support; equips Texas residents to connect and take action in their communities

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 22, 2012)—International Justice Mission (IJM), a human rights agency that brings rescue for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression, launched The Freedom Commons (freedomcommons.org), an online destination for anti-slavery advocates to combat modern-day slavery and human trafficking.             

As part of the site’s congressional scorecard, a tool that enables Americans to track support of anti-slavery policies by members of congress, Rep. Ted Poe (R-02) from Texas was rated “Champion,” the scorecard’s highest tier.

Rep. Ted Poe (R-02) was recognized for co-sponsoring the End Trafficking in Government Contracting Act (H.R. 4259), the International Violence Against Women Act of 2010 (H.R. 4594), the Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Deterrence and Victims Support Act of 2010 (H.R. 5575), among many other actions tied to the support of anti-trafficking and victim protection laws.

On FreedomCommons.org, Texas residents can promote strong anti-trafficking legislation at the federal and state level through engaging in action-based campaigns, find local anti-trafficking events in Texas and connect with others in their local community and around the country.

The site’s first national call to action is directed towards the future U.S. president and calls on 25,000 Americans to urge both President Barack Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney to make ending slavery in the U.S. and around the world a priority in the next term if elected. Other priorities include passing the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, the blueprint for U.S. leadership in the fight against trafficking at home and abroad, and a campaign asking major supermarket chains to guarantee slavery-free tomatoes.

IJM led a critical online movement in the U.S. this year, garnering 73,000 signatures for an anti-slavery petition asking President Obama to exert his leadership and eliminate slavery in the U.S. supply chain. On September 25, one of IJM’s main asks in the petition was met, as the President addressed the issue of modern day slavery and delivered an executive order to eradicate slavery in U.S. government contracts, while also explicitly recognizing IJM as leader in the abolitionist movement.

Already working at the forefront of anti-slavery casework in several developing countries around the world, IJM created The Freedom Commons to amplify the social demand of millions of Americans and empower them to lead the charge to eradicate modern-day slavery.

“Advocates absolutely make a difference—especially today when individuals are equipped with more online and offline tools than ever to create social demand and build political will,” said Holly Burkhalter, vice president of government relations at International Justice Mission. “The Freedom Commons will empower advocates further – to learn more about what their own policymakers are doing about slavery so they can ask the right questions, or get engaged with tangible action and connect with like-minded abolitionists locally.”

Users can take action on The Freedom Commons through:

  • Tracking elected officials’ engagement in anti-slavery policies through the Justice Campaigns Congressional Scorecard –this unique scorecard tracks all U.S. Members of Congress – Senate and House of Representatives – and their activities to support anti-trafficking legislation.
  • National Advocacy –members can engage on national-level anti-trafficking legislation change, take action through various campaigns and learn more about federal bills and programs.
  • State Advocacy –the site provides the latest information on existing laws and pending anti-trafficking legislation in every state, ways to take action to strengthen anti-trafficking policies, and directly reach out to members of Congress.
  • Local Groups –anyone who cares about ending slavery can create or join a local group, finding local events and connecting with other abolitionists in their communities. 
  • Resources – users can learn more about anti-trafficking legislation or downloading tools on how to meet with elected officials.

The site’s name, The Freedom Commons, was inspired by William Wilberforce’s Clapham Common, a group in the late 18th century that gathered to abolish the slave trade. The Freedom Commons was crafted by Domain7—a Washington, DC-based digital agency with a passion for sharing human stories through the web. This new resource will empower users to ensure that the U.S. is also a leader in combatting trafficking. Visit The Freedom Commons at freedomcommons.org.

Learn more about International Justice Mission at http://www.ijm.org/who-we-are.

About IJM Justice Campaigns

IJM Justice Campaigns mobilizes people around the country in support of U.S. policies that combat modern-day slavery and promote the development of public justice systems abroad to protect the poor from violent oppression.  Working with individuals, students, churches, and volunteer state advocacy leaders, we encourage national and state policymakers to use their influence to champion the rights of the poor and vulnerable. Learn more at freedomcommons.org.

About International Justice Mission

International Justice Mission is a human rights agency that brings rescue to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. IJM lawyers, investigators and aftercare professionals work in 16 communities in developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America with local officials to secure immediate victim rescue and aftercare, to prosecute perpetrators and to ensure that public justice systems - police, courts and laws - effectively protect the poor. Learn more at ijm.org.            

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