The Junior League of Tampa has a long history of advocating for the betterment of the community.   Our Public Affairs Committee informs and educates League Members about legislation that affects our issue areas on both a local and state level.  Additionally, they are active members of the Junior Leagues of Florida State Public Affairs Committee (SPAC), which represents 24 Leagues and over 11,000 women from across the state. The group has monitored legislation and advocated for issues of importance to our members for over 40 years.



SPAC advocated and tracked the passing of the following bills in 2014:

• SB 260 – allowing unaccompanied youth to consent to medical, dental, psychological, substance abuse, surgical diagnosis and treatment for themselves and their children
• SB 242 – KIDS Act (Keeping I.D. Safe) prevents an estimated 10,000 children from falling victim to identity theft each year
• HB 225 – revises the child restraint device (CRD) requirement, and the safety belt authorization, for children ages 4 through 7 who are being transported in a motor vehicle
• 5 other State and House Bills in the area of Human Trafficking including clarifying the offense of human trafficking, eliminating the statute of limitations for prosecutions, increasing the minimum and maximum for sexual offenses, increasing the information offenders must provide at registration, and more.

2013 Community Advocacy and Awareness Reception

Advocacy1The Public Affairs Committee invited local and state elected officials, members of the judiciary, community partners and JLT’s Executive Board to a reception focused on our advocacy efforts in Tallahassee. In addition, community projects were highlighted, as well as our efforts to fight child sex trafficking.

2014 Berta Blecke Award

Advocacy2Active Mary Ellen Collins was awarded the 2014 Berta Blecke Award by the Junior Leagues of Florida State Public Affairs Committee for her work as the Public Affairs Chair, SPAC Board Member and tireless advocacy efforts on behalf of Human Trafficking.


The committee focuses on advocacy and training that bring awareness to the issue of human trafficking in Tampa Bay. In 2016, The Junior League of Tampa provided volunteers for the local candlelight vigil and the Human Trafficking Summit, hosted a free screening of the documentary In Plain Sight and volunteers created Easter baskets for human trafficking survivors. A training event was held to educate League membership and the community on prevention and awareness of this issue, featuring a detective of the Tampa Police Department who has worked in the human trafficking field for decades.


During the 2013-2014 year, The Junior League of Tampa accomplished:

  • Assisted in the planning of The Department of Juvenile Justice’s second statewide Human Trafficking Summit, providing 32 volunteers
    and sponsoring the Post-Summit Reception
  • In partnership with WEDU PBS, sponsored the premier of their documentary, “Too Close to Home”, which explored the prevalence of human
    trafficking in Tampa
  • Served as a panelist at the “Human Trafficking: A Lesson in Modern Day Slavery” program which was supported by a variety of local legal
    associations, including the Hillsborough County Bar Association
  • Attended multiple meetings of the Community Campaign Against Human Trafficking, now known as The Free Network– Tampa Bay and the Clearwater Tampa Bay Area Task Force Against Human Trafficking
  • Advocated for 6 State and House Bills
  • Proclamation by Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn recognizing January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month
  • Spearheaded the development and launch of the ABOLISH Movement in partnership with Ad 2 Tampa Bay and The Free Network

In January, in conjunction with the national Human Trafficking Awareness Month, The Junior League of Tampa and Ad 2 Tampa Bay launched the ABOLISH Movement on behalf of the Community Campaign Against Human Trafficking Tampa Bay, now known as The Free Network. The mission of the ABOLISH Movement is to bring an end to the child sex slavery epidemic in the Tampa Bay area through education, prevention, support services and legislative advocacy.

The movement kicked off with a rally that brought together over 100 civic, nonprofit and faith based agencies, plus Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Florida House Representative Ross Spano. The campaign included guerrilla-style advertising materials with billboards, public service announcements, print ads, social media, a robust website, and awareness and training events.
JLT continues to move the needle on this issue, and in an effort to scale the campaign statewide, the Public Affairs Committee presented it to the Florida Stands Against Human Trafficking abolish_1Legislative Working Group, the Office of the Attorney General, the Department of Children & Families, Department of Juvenile Justice and the Office of the Governor. It was also presented to the Hillsborough County Commission and Tampa City Council, as well as the Association of Junior Leagues International at their annual conference.

Thank you Ad 2 Tampa Bay for selecting The Junior League of Tampa as your 2013-2014 Public Service Client on behalf of the Community Campaign Against Human Trafficking, now known as The Free Network!