Senate Passage of TVPRA Signals Strong Commitment to Eradicate Human Trafficking

485013_10151783157494097_1707743649_nStatement by Mary Ellison, Director of Policy, Polaris Project  

Washington, D.C. (February 12, 2013) – “Polaris Project welcomes the long-awaited passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. This law is the backbone of the U.S. government’s approach to human trafficking and modern-day slavery at home and abroad. Thanks to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the TVPRA was introduced today as an amendment to the Violence Against Women Act (S. 47). By passing Senator Leahy’s amendment 93-5, and the Violence Against Women Act 78-22, the Senate demonstrated its commitment to providing resources to help survivors of trafficking begin their lives anew with freedom and dignity.

“We strongly urge the leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives to take up the Senate’s bill and ensure that the TVPRA finally becomes law.

“The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), initially enacted in 2000 and reauthorized three times with bipartisan support, has greatly increased America’s ability to protect victims, assist survivors, and prosecute traffickers over the last decade. Nonetheless, 20.9 million human trafficking victims worldwide, including hundreds of thousands inside the United States, need greater support services as well as the opportunity to see their traffickers brought to justice.

“Today’s 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. The legislation encourages the distribution of the Polaris Project-operated National Human Trafficking Hotline number within federal and state agencies, establishes grant programs for states to assist child victims of sex trafficking, helps foreign governments investigate labor recruitment centers where trafficking victims may be recruited, and strengthens the ability to prosecute those who fraudulently recruit individuals in foreign labor contracts.

“We would like to thank Senator Leahy for sponsoring this legislation, as well as Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and former Senator John Kerry (D-MA), who all worked tirelessly to increase support of the TVPRA.”

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