In our work to prevent human trafficking, we continue to see the harms of racism, the legacies of slavery, and challenges within our criminal justice system. Many Black and Brown victims of human trafficking have reported a distrust of police and the criminal justice system. For too long, they have gone unseen, and many have been criminalized by the justice system, rather than receiving the protection and assistance they need.
BEST has been honored to work alongside survivors who bring their lived experiences forward to create change. BEST has also been privileged to work with individuals in the criminal justice system to shift tactics away from arresting Black and Brown victims and toward prosecuting their exploiters--who are disproportionately White. We have hope that change is possible. But there is still much more work to be done. We have failed to adequately amplify the voices of Black and Brown survivors and we have failed to ensure that the justice system protects and serves Black and Brown communities.
Therefore, BEST is committed to anti-racism and to accelerating change in concrete ways:
- BEST commits to amplifying the voices of Black and Brown trafficking survivors throughout our work and to advocating for exploiters to be held accountable through workplace policies, education, and criminal justice reforms.
- BEST commits to updating our training courses (a) to more explicitly address bias and discrimination and (b) to help trainees decouple implicit bias from decision-making by recommending more structured decision-making processes on when to involve law enforcement and how to involve survivors in decisions that impact their safety.
- BEST commits to submitting articles addressing implicit bias and human trafficking for publication in trade journals that can reach thousands of people.
- BEST commits to caring for our staff and board by addressing biases and racism within our organization, by recruiting more minorities for leadership positions and opportunities, by taking the time to involve our staff and board in the writing of this statement, by providing additional PTO to our staff this week, and by continuing anti-racism work over the long term.
- BEST commits to supporting minority-owned businesses.