Project Profile: California Against Slavery


We caught up with Daphne Phung, the founder of CAS, and one of their volunteers, Mary Tam, to talk to them about how they got invovled with the fight against human trafficking.

FApdx: What is CAS‘ mission?
DAPHNE:  California Against Slavery is a human rights organization. Our mission is to defend the freedom of every child, woman and man by empowering the people of California to fulfill our obligation to stop human trafficking.

FApdx: What inspired you to start CAS?
DAPHNE:  I left my job at eBay with the aspiration to start a company. But God had a different plan for me.  Soon after, I saw a documentary called “Sex Slaves in America” that left me profoundly angry. It wasn’t because of the fact that human trafficking happens in this country because I was aware of it by then. I was profoundly  angry that our legal and judicial system which is the last resort, the beacon of hope for victims isn’t there to protect and provide justice for victims of human trafficking.

Three years ago, instead of starting a company, I started a human rights organization to unify Californians like me to stop human trafficking in our own backyard.
FApdx: Why did you start volunteering with CAS & what do you do?
MARY: I feel that human trafficking is one of the most disturbing aspects of our world. I found out about CAS when a friend of mine invited me to a small event. It wasn’t until about 6 months later that I actually got involved, and since then I’ve helped out with marketing and campaign activities (managing a G-Team project, coordinating a PSA, signature collection, website layout, language & branding).
FApdx: What is CAS’ biggest accomplishment to date?
DAPHNE: Earlier this year, the campaign collected nearly 900,000 voter signatures to qualify the CASE Act (Californians Against Sexual Exploitation) for the November General Election Ballot. In May, the Secretary of State officially declared that the CASE Act will on the ballot! This is a tremendous accomplishment for us and the entire anti-trafficking movement.

The CASE Act, a partnership of California Against Slavery and the Safer California Foundation, will protect children in California by:
  • Increasing prison terms for human traffickers.
  • Requiring convicted sex traffickers to register as sex offenders.
  • Requiring all registered sex offenders to disclose their internet accounts.
  • Requiring criminal fines from convicted human traffickers to pay for services to help victims.

FApdx: What is your favorite part about volunteering?
MARY:  Knowing I’m contributing to the movement to combat human trafficking, even if it’s in small ways. This movement is filled with inspiring people like Daphne and the coalition of amazingly dedicated advocates – shout out to Kristine and Rosario! – who make the CAS wheels turn.

FApdx: What would you tell someone who is considering volunteering with an organization or project?
MARY: There are problems in the world that seem so overwhelming it can be paralyzing. Sometimes it causes people to turn the other way because it’s easier than facing the ugly truth. If you feel passionately about an issue, DO something about it. Find a group. Write a letter. Sign a petition. Share your skills. Find a way to volunteer your time that is sustainable for you, so that you can engage with a group over the long-term rather than burning out. Justice starts with YOU!

Daphne Phung, founder of California Against Slavery
So who is fighting trafficking in Oregon?
OATH: Oregonians Against Trafficking Humans
SATF Oregon: Sexual Assault Task Force
Catholic Charities: Assistance for Foreign-Born survivors of Human Trafficking
Just Men by SARC: Sexual Assault Resource Center
End Oregon Slavery

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