Rachel Moran

Rachel Moran

Co-presented by Equality Now

Rachel Moran was prostituted for seven years in Dublin and other Irish cities, beginning at age 15. At the age of 22, she managed to extricate herself, got on the path to higher education, and gained a degree in journalism from Dublin City University. Moran speaks internationally on prostitution and sex trafficking and works in conjunction with Equality Now, the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, the European Women’s Lobby, and the Women’s Front of Norway to end the violent exploitation of women and girls. She is the author of Paid For: My Journey through Prostitution.

The program includes a panel with Rachel Moran, Sandra Fluke, and Shelby Quast. A Q&A follows the panel.

Equality Now works for the protection and promotion of the human rights of women and girls around the world. Learn more at equalitynow.org

Shelby Quast, Equality Now

Shelby Quast joined Equality Now in 2010 as the Washington, D.C.-based Senior Policy Advisor working with the US government, international organizations and NGOs to advance human rights for women and girls and inform US policy. Prior to joining Equality Now, she worked with the International Legal Assistance Consortium (ILAC), which she co-founded in 2001, on global post-conflict legal reform. She also founded the Partners for Gender Justice, a network of the UN member states, NGOs and civil society organizations, which works to facilitate dialogue on gender justice among key stakeholders in conflict-affected societies as well as the UN Security Council. Ms. Quast has worked internationally for nearly three decades in a broad range of disciplines and earlier in her career, practiced international commercial transactions at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering in Washington, DC. She participates in numerous coalitions and working groups, including the Civil Society Working Group on the National Action Plan for Women, Peace and Security,  Anti-Trafficking advocates; Girls Not Brides USA; IVAWA; and is the Advocacy, Education and Media chair of the Coalition for Adolescent Girls, lead by Nike and the UN Foundation. Ms. Quast has spoken widely on human rights and authored numerous reports and tool kits on Gender Justice for the UN and OECD. Ms. Quast is the recipient of a Fulbright award and has taught at CUA Law School, American University’s School for International Service, Jagellonian University in Krakow, Poland and the Indian Institute of Management in Lucknow. She holds a J.D. from the Columbus School of Law at The Catholic University of America and a B.A. in International Business from the University of Oregon.

Sandra Fluke, Attorney, Activist, and Candidate for California State Senate

Sandra’s career has always been devoted to the public interest, whether representing victims of human trafficking and domestic violence or advocating for social justice legislation. In February of 2012, she was unexpectedly thrust into the public eye when she testified before members of Congress regarding the importance of comprehensive insurance coverage for reproductive health. As the media attention and the personal attacks grew, Sandra believed it was her responsibility to stand up and use the microphone she was given to advance the policies she has always fought for. 

Sandra has lived and worked in California for years, building coalitions, advocating for legislation, and securing the passage of bills that will change lives for the better. Now, Sandra wants to bring a fresh perspective and a new generation of leadership to the California State Senate. She has the legislative experience to hit the ground running but isn’t a career politician beholden to special interests.  That’s why she can effectively create change in Sacramento and fight for her community.

Growing up in a middle class family shaped Sandra’s perspective on jobs, education, veterans’ issues and economic security. Her father worked in manufacturing and saw plants open and close, union jobs come and go, for decades, and her mother works in a public school as a teacher and guidance counselor. Sandra’s grandfathers served in the Army, one in Korea and one in World War II, and her grandmother was a parachute packer in World War II. Because Sandra’s family was willing to make sacrifices for her, she was the first person in her dad's family to earn a bachelor's degree. 

While most known for her advocacy for affordable access to health care and other reproductive justice concerns, those are far from the only issues Sandra has advocated for. She has fought for a myriad of progressive issues to improve the lives of others, including helping pass legislation ending discrimination against LGBTQ folks in family court. In 2010, funded by the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, Sandra produced an informative film to help victims of domestic violence obtain restraining orders in LA courts and represented those victims at Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles. For more than two years, Sandra worked with a grassroots coalition to pass the California Domestic Worker Bill of Rights, which was signed into law by Governor Brown in 2013 and is designed to ensure domestic workers have the same protections afforded to them that other workers enjoy.  At the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking in Los Angeles, Sandra is one of the longest running volunteer attorneys representing victims of human trafficking. She has advocated for student loan debt relief, access to early childhood education and for raising the minimum wage.  

Nationally, Sandra is frequently recognized for her powerful address to the Democratic National Convention in 2012.  She served as a surrogate for President Obama in his reelection, and she campaigned for more than a dozen Democrats running in competitive U.S. House and Senate races, including U. S. Representatives Bera, Brownley, Capps, Peters and Ruiz of California and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

Sandra graduated cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center as a Public Interest Law Scholar with a Certificate in Refugee and Humanitarian Emergencies. In 2003, she received a B.S. from Cornell University in Policy Analysis and Management, as well as Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Sandra and her husband, Adam, live in West Hollywood with their dog, Mr. President.

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