Laura Tufon Receives TIP Award from Secretary of State John Kerry
The Coordinator for the Justice and Peace Commission, Ms. Laura Anyola Tufon was honoured by the United States Department of State, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP) for her work with the fight against human trafficking. As a result of this honour, she participated in a ten-day program in the United States from June 16 to June 26, 2013. This included the “Trafficking in Persons” Report roll out on July 19, 2013 and the handing over of awards to TIP heroes from Croatia, Guyana, Iraq, Nicargua, The Phillipines and Cameroon from Secretary of State John Kerry.
Ms. Laura Anyola Tufon has had an exceptional commitment to fighting child trafficking and forced labor. Justice and Peace has established community-based protection mechanisms to identify trafficking victims, prevent them from being re-trafficked, and other vulnerable people from leaving their communities. Ms. Anyola and Justice and Peace Commission have provided assistance to hundreds of victims, including shelter, legal assistance, school fees, placing them in foster families, as well as helping recover the money traffickers promised in order to lure their victims. Many of the “returnees” have resumed formal education and are being used as peer educators.
During the program Ms. Laura Anyola Tufon visited Washington, DC. She met with a number of officials; His Excellency Luis CdeBaca, Ambassador-at-Large Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons and Ms. Soumya Kanatmnei, Report and Political Affairs Officer for Cameroon and other Central African countries. The group of TIP heroes visited the Whitehouse where they met with Ms. Tina Tchene, who is the Executive Director of White House Council on Women and Girls, Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and Chief Staff to the First Lady. They participated in a round table discussion with the American Bar Association to combat human trafficking worldwide, barriers against the effective enforcement of anti-trafficking law and policy and best practices in addressing issues related to trafficking. They also conducted interviews with CNN (Cable News Network).
On June 19th the TIP heroes met with Secretary of State John Kerry for the launching of the TIP Report and the Hero Award Ceremony. His Excellency For Atagana, the Cameroon Ambassador to the United States was also in attendance. The recipients received the TIP Hero Award which spells out efforts to end modern day slavery and contributions to the TIP Report.
The group of TIP heroes then travelled to Cincinnati where they met with End Slavery Cincinnati and Cincinnati FBI and were presented with the “Human Trafficking 101 Curriculum and training guide. They visited a shelter, Cincinnati Union Bethhel where they heard testimonies from 2 young ladies who benefited from the shelter’s programs and Crossroads which provides shelter and aftercare to victims of sex trafficking. They had a panel discussion and dinner with Bert Lockwood of the Urban Morgan Institute, University of Cincinnati College of Law.
They also travelled to Dallas, Texas where they visited the North Texas Anti-Trafficking Team (NCATT) and participated in a round table discussion with representatives of U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI and the Dallas Police. They met with Salbre Holdings, a major multinational Travel Industry and learned about the “Passport to Freedom Project”. They also learn from Sergeant Byron Fasset of the Dallas Police Department, a member of the Child Protect Squad. Serena Simmons Connelly, the director at the Harold Simmons Foundation hosted a hospitality dinner where they spoke to other University Professors about their work.
Congratulations on this tremendous honour!