Our Advocacy and Policy Program
Solaine is FAIR Girls’ advocacy program. Through Solaine, FAIR Girls seeks to advocate for the legal protections and rights of the survivors we serve. Our priority is to improve the lives of these women and girl survivors as they are actually lived, rather than as they are typically viewed from the outside. With more than half of FAIR Girls survivors, some as young as 13, having been arrested while in their trafficking situation, we realize this advocacy is critical to their recovery.
FAIR Girls is uniquely positioned to advance a transformational and thoughtful shift in protective policies for our clients – both those who are victims of sex trafficking and those who were abused and exploited but do not meet the federal definition of sex trafficking – through its experience, leadership, and critical relationships with key stakeholders.
FAIR Girls believes that full human rights and dignity should be afforded to all sex trafficking victims. We envision a world where all survivors have the legal rights, protections, and resources they need to be free and thrive. FAIR Girls believes all of these individuals have the right to reach their full potential as they transition from a life of exploitation and abuse to one in which they are truly free and have full agency.
FAIR Girls believes that the current political climate is ripe for this discussion. Everyone from Washington, D.C. city council members to presidential candidates are discussing a growing consensus that (1) mass incarceration does not solve America’s social problems, (2) policies that have led to mass incarceration have a disproportionate impact on people of color and the poor, and (3) decriminalization of certain “morality” crimes can be part of the solution. Although these conversations have centered primarily on young men and drug policy, a fair and convincing parallel can be drawn to policies that criminalize sex trafficking victims, whether out right or de facto. For example, approximately 90% of FAIR Girls’ clients are young women of color. Thus, as is true of amending drug policy, protecting victims of commercial sexual exploitation could benefit society as a whole.
During the next twelve months, FAIR Girls will advance four key areas of practice and policy while working toward the creation of a 501c4 initiative, Solaine. Solaine will be co-led by FAIR Girls’ Executive Director, Andrea Powell, and a legal professional with experience in protecting the rights of sex trafficking. By utilizing FAIR Girls’ resources and experience (including EMPOWER and the direct advocacy of FAIR Girls’ Survivor Leaders), Solaine will ensure that all policy and legislative efforts are informed by survivors’ experiences.
FAIR Girls is a direct services program that has served over 1000 victims of sex trafficking over 12 years. The stories of these survivors have taught us that the line between coercion and choice is not always clear, and that whether an individual is a victim of sex trafficking or a consensual sex worker can be similarly unclear and may in fact change over the course of her lifetime. In addition to advocating for trafficking victims, our priority is to improve the lives of these women and girls as they are actually lived, rather than as they are typically viewed from the outside. Accordingly, our policies and goals will be carefully framed to protect, rather than inadvertently harm, the rights of consensual sex workers. To ensure that we achieve this goal, our policies and practices will be informed by a survivors’ advisory board comprised of FAIR Girls’ survivor-leaders.
1. Advocate for effective policies to stop the arrest and prosecution stemming from sex trafficking.
2. Advocate for policies permitting adult victims of sex trafficking and child victims of commercial sexual exploitation to expunge their records or vacate sentences related to their victimization.
3. Promote policies to connect at-risk youth to services rather than detention and neglect.
4. Advocate for policies and support systems that allow anyone who would like to exit commercial sex work to do so with full agency and allow anyone who chooses to remain to do so safely and with dignity.