Conservative human rights groups are increasingly alarmed about a new funding proposal  to combat human trafficking around the world. They are concerned also about the groups that seem to have gotten the ear of the White House, specifically Ivanka Trump, who appears to be quarterbacking the White House position.
The immediate issue is the End Modern Slavery Initiative and $25 million that is now open for groups to apply for. The money available from the State Department is primarily to lure more donors—foundations, foreign governments, businesses, and advocacy groups—in order to create a permanent billion-dollar foundation that would be beyond the influence of U.S. policy makers.
The program came into being during the Obama administration with the support of senior Republican Senators and, critics say, with only limited input from conservative human rights groups that work on human trafficking.
A coalition of human rights groups sent a group letter to President Trump a month ago laying out their concerns. Organized and led by Global Centurion , run by Laura Lederer, longtime advocate against human trafficking, the coalition charges that early meetings for the private foundation were largely carried out in secrecy “with only a few of the largest and most well-funded of anti-trafficking groups invited to participate.” The group charges the board of the nascent private foundation was also created without proper transparency.
On policy questions, the coalition is most concerned with the issues of prostitution and abortion. Many of the large or otherwise well-connected human trafficking groups are soft or accepting of legal prostitution, many of them calling it “sex work” and considering it legitimate. The Global Centurion coalition points out that most prostitution is precisely the kind of human trafficking they are trying to stamp out.
Some of these same groups also support legalized abortion, and the request for proposals issued by the State Department on March 16, may permit a U.S. funded private foundation to skirt U.S. policy against funding abortion groups overseas. In a background memo provided to the Friday Fax by Global Centurion, several groups close to the process openly support abortion including the leftist labor group Solidarity Center, the feminist group Futures Without Violence, Free the Slaves/Freedom Fund, ECPAT International, Coalition to Abolish Slavery, the Hillary Clinton-supported Vital Voices. Critics point out that abortion is a tool used by pimps and other traffickers to keep their sex slaves working.
Other bigfoot groups are silent on prostitution and abortion, a position critics say allows these issues to fester and grow, include the $50 million a year National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and the $30 million a year Humanity United, United Way, Polaris, International Justice Mission, and the new Human Trafficking Institute.
Many of these groups met in the White House with Ivanka Trump and the fear is that they now have the inside track to syphon up more than a billion dollars a year in new funds effectively squeezing out smaller group doing effective work on the ground. More “listening sessions” are scheduled.
The Global Centurion-led coalition is calling for the request for proposals to be withdrawn and for conservative groups to be invited into the process including into the next White House listening session, to ensure that prostitution and abortion are not supported by the new foundation.