Leslie Brier is a member of Main Line Reform Temple - Beth Eloheim in Wynnewood, PA. She is a WRJ North American Board Member and WRJ's United Nations Representative. Leslie is a former sisterhood president and a former WRJ Atlantic District Area Director.
Women of Reform Judaism, under the umbrella of World Union of Progressive Judaism, addressed the international community in collaboration with Ani Zonneveld, President of Muslims for Progressive Values, and Martha Gallahue, the United Nations Representative of
Today is the International Day of Human Rights. Human rights encompasses a wide spectrum of topics. I attended a session at the United Nations called Human Trafficking Through the Lens of Civil Society. The panelists were individuals who represented various non-governmental organizations (NGOs), an investigative reporter, and a non-profit theater group. All of the panelists have had personal experiences with victims of trafficking. This briefing was intended to raise awareness and present NGO’s (including WRJ) with the tools and resources to take a stand against human trafficking. The session began with a performance by Girl Be Heard, a non-profit theater group that empowers young women to become brave and socially-conscious leaders while exploring their own challenging circumstances. It creates a safe space for girls to talk about issues important to them. This performance, entitled "Trafficking," was a dance to highlight that six out of 10 girls are victims of sexual or physical violence. It also illustrated some of the ways a girl can become a victim of trafficking. Often runaways are the primary targets for traffickers. Some girls run away because of abusive situations at home and others run away from a foster home. In both instances, no one comes to look for them. In some cases, the foster parents continue to collect benefits though the child is not in their home. The typical tactic for a trafficker is to befriend the runaway and express interest in them as people and offer help. Often, they will proclaim to be their boyfriend and after a period of time, force the girl into sexual slavery to “repay” all that has been given to them.