The Ritz Herald
Former White House Czar and Special Advisor for Human Trafficking, Heather Fischer, and Human Trafficking Survivors: Julie Whitehead, Coco Berthmann and Elizabeth Frazier. © Malouf Foundation

The Malouf Foundation Hosts Successful Inaugural Trafficking Policy and Education Summit

Keynote speaker for the event was former National Security Advisor Robert C. O’Brien

Published on April 19, 2021

The Malouf Foundation hosted their inaugural Human Trafficking Policy and Education Summit on April 17, 2021. As part of its mission to provide education, promote healing, and ensure justice for trafficking survivors, the Malouf Foundation invited political leaders, industry experts, as well as trafficking and abuse survivors to share how they are working to make a difference against one of the fastest-growing criminal enterprises in the world.

Six separate panels covered many facets of trafficking. Sam and Kacie Malouf welcomed guests and introduced the day’s moderator, Lanhee Chen, director of Domestic Policy Studies and lecturer in the Public Policy Program at Stanford University.

Keynote speaker for the event was former National Security Advisor Robert C. O’Brien. Ambassador O’Brien shared a global perspective on trafficking, discussing the international implications of an industry worth billions and adding topical context to help distinguish labor and sex trafficking.

“I want to thank the Malouf Foundation for having me today. Forums like these are essential to build awareness on these violations of human rights, and it’s our moral responsibility to continue having these discussions,” said O’Brien, after the event. “It was especially moving to hear survivors of trafficking speak.”

Directly following Ambassador O’Brien’s keynote address, Coco Berthmann, Julie Whitehead, and Elizabeth Frazier—three survivors of sex trafficking—shared their stories. These women are passionate activists who use their experience and first-hand knowledge to inform policy and affect change. The panel was moderated by Heather Fischer, who served as the first-ever White House Czar and special advisor for human trafficking.

Whitehead said, “The Summit was an amazing platform to share our insights on the different aspects of our experiences and how that knowledge might help current and future survivors, as well as help spread awareness to everyone from law enforcement, politicians, and the general public.” She continued, “It was a very validating experience and left me feeling empowered. Using my story in a positive and impactful way is important in helping me cope with my trauma, so I am very grateful to have been a part of the Summit.”

Fischer said, “It was an honor to facilitate this conversation with survivors. I know from experience that prioritizing survivor voices is absolutely essential for this cause, and I was glad to see the Malouf Foundation make that a focus of the event.”

Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), then added his insights on domestic trafficking and the important role of bipartisanship in effective policy. Senator Lee reported a success story of public-private partnership, where he was able to partner with the Malouf Foundation to assist an aftercare initiative that brought ten Venezuelan women recently rescued from sexual servitude to the United States. These survivors are now able to pursue healing in a safe house.

In the afternoon sessions, Representatives Blake Moore (R-Utah), Burgess Owens (R-Utah), and John Curtis (R-Utah), narrowed in on trafficking in Utah—and why they’re committed to education and awareness. Topics included planned legislation and how to achieve authentic bipartisan support and long-term success.

Elizabeth Smart, founder of the Elizabeth Smart Foundation, and Deondra Brown, a member of The 5 Browns and founder of Foundation for Survivors of Abuse, discussed their experiences and initiatives. Survivors of child sexual abuse and sexual assault, Smart and Brown communicated the stigmas, setbacks, and misconceptions around cases like theirs, and how attendees at the Summit could help empower survivors.

“Deondra and I had the privilege to discuss child sexual abuse and how to best help anyone recover from past trauma,” Smart shared. “Abuse, trafficking and exploitation are difficult topics, but it’s important to discuss these issues so as a community we can all heal and move forward together. This Summit promotes both healing and actionable solutions. Together, we can make a difference.”

The closing panel focused on the public-private partnership, a major avenue for many of the guests to get involved in the cause. Panelists were Ambassador John Cotton Richmond from the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, Sam Malouf, co-founder of Malouf™ and the Malouf Foundation, David Stirling, co-founder and CEO of doTerra and the Healing Hands Foundation, and Steve Young, co-founder of the Forever Young Foundation. Conversation centered on how government and businesses can work together to affect change.

Sam Malouf said, “Today’s event accomplished more than we could have ever imagined. Kacie and I were so grateful to host these initial conversations at our headquarters, but we know that this is only the beginning.” He added, “There is so much more work to do. During periods of open questions with panelists, two attendees came forward as survivors of abuse. The goal of the Malouf Foundation is to continue creating spaces like today’s Summit to empower survivors.”

Deputy Editor