Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, was honored Saturday as one of eleven Women of Courage by the University of Washington (UW) Women's Center at its annual gala held in Seattle.
Kohl-Welles' selection was based on her work to eliminate human trafficking, a cause she has pursued legislatively since 2002, with10 of her anti-trafficking bills having been enacted into law. Many of her bills were the first of their kind in the United States, addressing labor trafficking and sex trafficking, including commercial sexual abuse and exploitation of minors.
“It’s gratifying to be recognized for my efforts, but it’s even more validating that the need to eliminate human trafficking is now recognized as an urgent priority,” Kohl-Welles said. “As I redouble my efforts in this area, it’s good to know others support this vital mission.”
Kohl-Welles has worked closely with the Women’s Center, former Rep. Velma Veloria and the Chaya/Asian-Pacific Islander Center on her and others’ legislation. She also is a member of the UW Women’s Center’s Anti-Trafficking Task Force which is planning for a Jan. 2013 conference, “Human Trafficking in an Era of Globalization: Forced Labor, Involuntary Servitude and Corporate & Civic Responsibility.”
Under the banner “Woman of Courage: Braving New Horizons,” the center based its selections on detailed criteria:
* Women who are braving a new horizon, either through younger generations or by inspiring new ways of thinking;
* Women who are pushing the envelope, creating new, non-traditional or unconventional ways to approach or solve social and political issues;
* Women who are bettering society beyond their personal selves;
* Women who have found alternative ways to advancing the “cause;”
* Women who are changing the political or social landscape with respect to gender, human rights, discrimination, injustice, socially accepted norms and customs, and personal liberty; and
* Women who are demonstrating significant courage or bravery.
The UW Women’s Center is committed to providing a place where men and women partner to build a culture of gender equity campus-wide, locally and globally.