Introducing the Spotlight Series
This is the first in our new Spotlight Series of blog posts featuring leaders in the anti-demand and abolitionist movements. Across the world, people are doing powerful, innovative work to end prostitution and sex trafficking. We want to provide a showcase for these essential contributions to the fight against sexual abuse. The idea is simple: we’ll be asking people a few questions and print their verbatim responses.
In turn, we ask you to suggest interview candidates and questions you’d like to have answered. Send ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Q &A with Marian Hatcher
A national pioneer in the fight against the demand driving sexual exploitation is survivor leader Marian Hatcher, senior project manager and human trafficking coordinator at the Cook County Sheriff’s office. Marian has been the spark behind the National John Suppression Initiative (NJSI), among other innovations. This year’s Super Bowl John suppression push resulted in 723 arrests of buyers across the country by 30 law enforcement agencies. In January, Marian received the prestigious Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award from President Obama. And her work has just been lauded in a lengthy Wall Street Journal profile (subscription required).
A well-respected expert on sex trafficking, Marian travels across the country to facilitated meeting on sex trafficking and prostitution for various law enforcement groups including the F.B.I. and U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Marian speaks to us about her work and what keeps her going.
Q: The National John Suppression Initiative (NJSI) is a nationwide effort that includes more than 90 arresting agencies with more than 200 partners, and has led to 6,617 johns arrested in 13 sting operations. What your role in the NJSI?
Hatcher: On behalf of Sheriff Thomas J. Dart, I have the privilege of coordinating all aspects of NJSI. I manage all aspects of recruitment, data collection, reporting and analysis used for media purposes. This includes law enforcement collaboration, education, training and technical assistance.
Q: On January 21, you were one of 20 people who received a lifetime achievement award from former President Obama for your leadership fighting sex trafficking, prostitution, and domestic violence. What can you tell us about the award?
Hatcher: The award is given to philanthropists and community leaders who consistently give their time and service to make a difference in the lives of others. Recipients must have completed 4,000 or more hours of service over a lifetime.
Q: What does the receiving that award mean to you?
Hatcher: Receiving this award from the first African American President of the United States was surreal. Such a brilliant, caring and humble person, he served our country with great humility and that is what leadership and service mean to me. I will always hold this honor close to my heart as a “well done my good and faithful servant” from God.
Q: How do you think that you best serve the movement?
Hatcher: I can best serve the movement by striving to do what I can, when I can, for those I can. It’s simple really; I have been blessed to use my struggles to help others in an unexpected and miraculous way. The best thing I provide the movement is hope and the assurance that a person can overcome adversity and contribute to human kind in their own special and unique way. No limits.
Q: What are you most proud of in your life?
Hatcher: I’m most proud of finally acknowledging the need for God as head of my life and allowing my spiritual belief system to guide my actions. This has allowed me to understand the importance of being of service to others as Christ was when he sacrificed his life for me.
Q: For this movement to go forward, what’s the most important thing that we have to know?
Hatcher: The most important thing to know is a statement from an article I wrote a few years ago.
“…the desire for harmony has overridden the ability for rational decision in modern day slavery efforts. We must avoid at all costs being overly concerned about those who disagree with us. For it is in that very disagreement that history will be made.”