IN OUR BACKYARD has been active with both state and national legislative advising since 2012 concerning sex and labor trafficking. While we do not endorse candidates or political parties, we raise awareness and encourage legislative actions that help stop human trafficking, by encouraging the prevention of human trafficking, advocacy for victims and survivors, and prosecution of perpetrators. We are often called upon by elected officials to advise about the language of bills and real-life situations that occur in human trafficking.
Two bills are directly attributed to IOB’s Freedom Stickers:
- House Bill 3143 – 2015 (1)(2)(3)(4) (https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2015R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/HB3143/Enrolled):
- Senate Bill 375 – 2017 (5)(6) (https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/SB375)
(1) Freedom Stickers originated with In Our Backyard, in collaboration with survivors of human trafficking in 2011. In 2014, Founder and Executive Director of IN OUR BACKYARD, Nita Belles, was approached by the Oregon Legislature to advise on a human trafficking bill (HB 3143) that passed in 2015, requiring that Freedom Stickers go out with every renewal of a liquor license in the state through a partnership with the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC)¹. The partnership and support of the OLCC continues.
(2) Due to the nature of constant abusive control and manipulation by traffickers, survivors note that one of the only safe places for them to ask for help is inside of a public restroom stall. In 2016 more than 4,600 calls to the National Human Trafficking Hotline came directly from survivors. An all-time high for the organization, this signals that more survivors are calling directly and are successfully receiving the appropriate resources on both a local and national level. https://www.forbes.com/sites/toriutley/2017/01/31/3-nonprofit-leaders-speak-on-their-top-priorities-in-the-fight-to-eradicate-human-trafficking/#3eadf9413f6e
(3) Freedom Stickers also increase public awareness of the realities of human trafficking in our backyard and provide a way of reporting potential trafficking situations they may observe. According to a 2016 study from Northeastern University, the most effective way to increase human trafficking arrests is to post the National Human Trafficking Hotline in public places.Bouche, V., Farrell, A. & Wittmer, D. (2016). Identifying Effective Counter-Trafficking Programs and Practices in the U.S.: Legislative, Legal, and Public Opinion Strategies that Work
(4) In 2017, Founder and Executive Director, Nita Belles was once again called to meetings at the state capitol to advise on signage for the rest stops throughout Oregon. Senate Bill 375 was eventually brought before the legislature and passed unanimously.
(5) As of 2017, Freedom Stickers are in all 50 states in locations including hospitals, schools, convenience stores, parks, bars, government buildings, and more.
(6) Belles has advised on similar laws for other states as well as advising in general human trafficking bills.