The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2011 (TVPRA) is on its way through Congress as I type this. This crucial bill will renew the original legislation of 2000 which first established the State Department Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, as well as authorized the annual Trafficking in Persons report (TIP or G-TIP). The 2010 TIP report can be read here. (Thank you to Hillary Clinton for making 2010 the first year in which the U.S. reported on trafficking domestically!) Generally speaking, the State Department follows a four-pronged approach to trafficking worldwide: prevention, protection, prosecution and partnership. The TVPRA of 2000 was initiated to combat human trafficking in the U.S. by establishing it as a federal crime. The Act also provided programs for survivor protection. Over the years the bill has been renewed and provisions have been added.
What does the TVPRA do domestically?
- It creates a federal office to monitor and combat trafficking.
- It creates public awareness programs.
- It provides victim support programs including T-visas.
- It makes human trafficking a federal crime resulting in severe penalties and mandates that victims be paid restitution.
- It enables the President to impose sanctions on countries that fail to meet the minimal standards for combatting trafficking.
- It requires the U.S. government to terminate contracts with overseas contractors who engage in human trafficking.
- It expands federal criminal jurisdiction.
- It addresses sex tourism with prevention programs.
- It requires the U.S. to cut military aid to countries using children in their national armies.
- It requires that countries ranked in the Tier II Watch List for more than two years receive the same sanctions as countries ranked in Tier III.
The International Justice Mission – a Christian rescue organization operating in 13 countries – has a great web page dedicated to the TVPRA 2011 as it makes its way through the House and Senate. Follow it here. The IJM has also listed the provisions of 2011 which make the bill all the stronger.
Please tell our legislators that combatting all forms of human trafficking domestically and internationally is a priority. This includes forced labor, sex trafficking, bonded labor, debt bondage, involuntary domestic servitude, forced child labor, child soldiers, and child sex trafficking. It’s nearing 2012 people. We abolished slavery once. But we need to do it again and on a bigger scale.