(c) Bonnie Miller
TIP Award Year:
When living in Bosnia-Herzegovina from 1999-2001 when her husband was US ambassador, Bonnie learned about the plight of victims of human trafficking in her conversations with women and girls who had been rescued from slavery and were in a shelter awaiting repatriation. She donated goods and services for these young women while frequently visiting the shelter to provide emotional support. Launching a media campaign, she sought to educate the public about the issue of human trafficking.
While posted in Greece, Ms. Miller facilitated the creation of resources for victims, helped to establish the first shelter for survivors of sex trafficking with the NGO Doctors of the World, and lobbied high-ranking government officials to address the problem of human trafficking by passing and implementing the first anti-trafficking law in the country. She coordinated with various NGOs around Greece and the Balkans, organizing efforts that ranged from public awareness campaigns to resources for victims. In addition to being instrumental in implementing "zero tolerance" policies at US embassies in Sarajevo and Athens, she brought together diplomats from source, transition, and destination countries to discuss the repercussions of human trafficking and to develop action plans for prevention, protection of victims, and prosecution of traffickers. She trained Greek judges and prosecutors on the subject of victims' rights, was a frequent speaker at national and international conferences, and presented sessions on human trafficking to international peacekeepers. A paper she authored which detailed Greek ministry-specific courses of action was translated into the Greek National Action Plan Against Trafficking.
In 2003, the U.S. State Department presented Bonnie Miller with the Avis Bohlen Award, which "honors the accomplishments of a family member of a Foreign Service employee whose relations with the American and foreign communities at post have done the most to advance the interests of the United States." In 2004, she was honored as a "TIP Report Hero Acting to End Modern Slavery" in recognition of her efforts to combat human trafficking.
Since 2005, she has worked as a consultant, assisting numerous international organizations and NGOs that work to prevent child abuse and to aid refugees, impoverished families, young leaders, youth who have survived traumatic experiences, as well as women victims of trafficking. She has published a parenting manual and a teacher manual and created videos that have been translated into 12 languages. Leading workshops using those materials, distributed free of charge, all around the world, she has trained thousands of educators and other professionals on helping children with special needs and preventing child abuse. Ms. Miller made frequent trips to Kosovo to train educators in all parts of the country. In 2008 and 2010, she trained Georgian mental health professionals who were working with displaced populations. She also traveled to Iraq and Kyrgyzstan to train social workers and educators helping youth and adult survivors of war in 2009 and 2010. From 2011-13, she trained professors and trainers in Sri Lanka and Macedonia on conflict resolution through Columbia University's Program on Peace-building and Rights. She traveled to Afghanistan twice in 2014 to offer staff care programs for internationals working in the conflict zone.
Ms. Miller has held faculty positions at universities around the world teaching students in social work and psychology as well as being a Fulbright Senior Specialist Speaker. She has also trained diplomats at the Foreign Service Institute of the United States Department of State and US embassies on topics of adjustment, psychosocial consequences of war, and human trafficking. In addition to working as a licensed psychotherapist for 25 years, since 1990, during each period of time in which she was residing in the United States, Ms. Miller taught social work courses as an adjunct professor at George Mason University. She was also a Faculty Liaison for the Masters in Social Work Program at Virginia Commonwealth University from 2010 to 2011 and now holds that position at the University of Maryland Masters in Social Work program. Ms. Miller also serves as a Red Cross Disaster Mental Health Responder, providing emergency counseling services, and volunteers with various organizations, including a homeless shelter and a reading program for at-risk youth.