Big news came last week, as the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) has passed both houses of Congress and is on its way to President Obama’s desk, where it is expected to be signed forthwith. The TVPRA, which is an amendment to the Violence Against Women Act, reauthorizes key federal anti-trafficking programs for the next four years, funding law enforcement as well as providing support for survivors. As Mary Ellison, Director of Policy at The Polaris Project stated, this legislative “action helps fill critical gaps in our nation’s response to human trafficking and builds on the impact of the original law passed in 2000.” Provisions include, among other things:
- The U.S. will work with key governments and agencies to ensure that U.S. citizens do not use any products extracted from the labor of trafficking victims.
- Measures to establish and uphold minimum standards & best practices for the elimination of trafficking.
- Measures to prevent child marriage.
- A Child Protection Compact Act, which authorizes the State Department to partner with cooperating overseas governments to stop child trafficking in key areas.
- An emergency response provision which will help the State Department respond quickly with teams of experts into crisis areas, such as disaster areas, where the breakdown of civil society and sudden increase in impoverished circumstances can leave children or others especially susceptible to trafficking.
- New tools to help prosecute traffickers and people who exploit the poor, such as: enhanced state & local collaboration and law enforcement efforts.
- Continued support for existing programs that support survivors of trafficking both in the U.S. and overseas.
The full text of the bill can be found here. We express our many thanks to our friends at IJM for rallying national support at to friends of The SOLD Project who have joined in countless ways, from supporting our Stand 4 Freedom campaign to contacting representatives, to continue the fight for freedom, in the defense of justice. Thank you!