On October 1, 2011 Congress allowed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) to expire, jeopardizing the U.S. fight against modern-day slavery. On September 4th, call your senators and tell them now is the time for action.
The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), originally passed in 2000, was the first American comprehensive federal legislation to combat modern-day slavery both here and abroad. The law has to be reauthorized every three years so that gaps can be filled and the law can adapt to the evolving tactics of traffickers, strengthening the U.S. fight against human trafficking. The passage of the TVPA and the next three reauthorizations have been examples of bipartisanship and collaboration between people from across the political spectrum, all agreeing that enslaving and exploiting another human being is wrong.
The TVPRA created a three-pronged approach to fighting modern-day slavery: prevention, protection, and prosecution. In 2010, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton added partnership. Prevention of human trafficking is carried out through public awareness campaigns, like the Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Light Campaign and foreign assistance programs which target populations at risk for trafficking with interventions such as poverty reduction and education. Protection refers to protecting victims of human trafficking, ensuring that they are treated as a victim, not a criminal and have access to appropriate services.
Prosecution includes training law enforcement, here and abroad, to recognize human trafficking, training judges and prosecutors, and the creation of taskforces to increase collaboration, strengthen protection of victims and increase prosecution of traffickers. The addition of partnership recognizes we must all work towards an end to modern-day slavery.
So why is this important right now? For the first time since the TVPA passed in 2000, it’s in danger of not being renewed before Congress goes out of session at the end of this year. Because this hasn’t happened before there is concern about what this will mean for the many crucial programs and the legal framework set up by this law. This looming failure by Congress jeopardizes the U.S. fight against modern-day slavery by endangering the progress from the last 12 years and sending the wrong message to the rest of the world about our priorities. Now is not the time for inaction.
Inaction will not stop modern-day slavery. Congress will not act unless you do. On September 4th call your senators and ask them to pass the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (S 1301) immediately. Visit www.passTVPRAnow.org to learn more and download resources, such as senator contact lists and suggested call scripts.