Feminists, activists, actors and survivors celebrated the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW)‘s 30th anniversary, and commemorated International Human Rights Day, with a gala at Tribeca 360. The international organization dedicated to ending the trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and girls will honor Aaron Marcu and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, Football Hall of Famer Curtis Martin, Jr., and Rachel Foster and Alain Kodsi for their outstanding commitment to justice and equality for women and girls in New York City and beyond.
Mr. Marcu is a partner at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, a firm that has made significant pro bono contributions to ending online sex trafficking. Marcu also worked with feminist legal scholar Catharine MacKinnon to represent Bosnian victims of sexual violence. Mr. Martin, a legendary running back during an 11-year career with the NFL, is a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist whose work to strengthen marginalized communities is a vital component of ending violence against women and girls. Ms. Foster, campaign director for the New Abolitionists project and a founding co-chair of the national anti-trafficking coalition, World Without Exploitation, and her husband, Mr. Kodsi, founder of Heights Advisors and president of Serenity Pharmaceuticals, have dedicated 30 years to fighting injustice in their own backyard, New York City, and around the world.
“Ending violence against women and girls, like sex trafficking and sexual exploitation, requires that we break cycles of violence, which takes partnership and dedication,” said honoree Curtis Martin. “Tonight we are celebrating partnerships between men and women; families and communities; educators and students; non-profit, public and private sector groups; and dedication to a vision for a better world.”
The program featured performances by Cameroonian singer Kaïssa and singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur. Stage and screen actress Zainab Jah (Buried Deep, Homeland, and Broadway’s Eclipsed) will read an excerpt from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Lynn Nottage’s play “Ruined.” Actress Monica Raymund (Lie to Me, The Good Wife, Chicago Fire), comedian Seth Meyers (Late Night with Seth Meyers, Saturday Night Live) and actor John Doman (The Wire, Gotham, The Affair) will present. Survivor leaders, including Rachel Moran author of “Paid For: My Journey Through Prostitution,” will also speak. Additionally, the evening will feature an exhibition of portraits of New Abolitionists, photographed by Lynn Savarese.
“Looking back at three decades of groundbreaking work to end the trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and girls, CATW is proud to embark on its next 30 years and beyond,” said Taina Bien-Aimé, CATW’s executive director. “Our honorees tonight prove that when we take a stand, with the most disenfranchised and with survivors, we can change laws, policies and culture to pave a future where no human being is bought and sold.”
The event’s host committee, chaired by Catherine J. Douglass and Lynn Savarese, includes Meryl Streep, Gloria Steinem, Cynthia Erivo, Mira Sorvino, Ashley Judd, Audra McDonald, Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Lynn Nottage, and Eve Ensler.