The power of social work was proven in South Carolina as the NASW South Carolina Chapter celebrated the passage of a state’s bill against human trafficking (H. 3757), which was signed into law in June.
The law is a victory for state social workers who championed the bill, working for the chapter’s Government Affairs Committee.
Chapter Executive Director Carla Damron said members did their part by attending hearings and committee meetings, and the bill was a major focus of the chapter’s March Legislative Day.
“We networked with the University of South Carolina College of Social Work and with other advocates, including Appleseed Legal Justice and the League of Women Voters, and joined forces when numbers were needed to make our point,” Damron said in her newsletter column.
The chapter also sent letters and called on key legislators to express the chapter’s endorsement of the bill.
“When the House failed to pass the bill and sent it to a joint conference committee scheduled for June 5, NASW-S.C. issued a blast email to social workers and advocates all across the state and contacted every legislator assigned to the committee,” Damron said. “When it was time for the conference committee to convene, a crowd of concerned social workers and advocates swarmed the corridor, ready to fill the hearing room. A message came to the crowd that said the meeting had been canceled. It also said, essentially, ‘Never mind. We get it now. It’s going to pass.’”
Gov. Nikki Haley signed the bill into law on June 18. Damron said the journey does not end there. She alerted members to an October workshop titled “Break the Chains: Helping Victims of Human Trafficking.”
Damron said when H.B. 3757 becomes law in January, the chapter will do its part by educating social workers and other professionals about it.
From the November 2012 NASW News.