Legislation to Combat Human Trafficking

We have now talked about a lot of different aspects of human trafficking, and I think that it’s fair to say that we all agree that this is a bad thing. And as bad as it may be, and as much as we feel like we want to help, some of you may be thinking… What are we (as a country) doing about this?

            For everyone who is unsure or who don’t know, one of the first anti-human trafficking laws was the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) that was passed in 2000. The TVPA “established several methods of prosecuting traffickers, preventing human trafficking, and protecting victims and survivors of trafficking. The act establishes human trafficking and related offenses as federal crimes, and attaches severe penalties to them.” (Polaris) This act set a precedent for all legislation about human trafficking.

            Okay, so that was in 2000! That feels like forever ago. What is happening now? After the TVPA was passed there were many other laws passed in the next few years; however after 2008 not much has been passed. The most recent laws that have been passed were in 2013. Those are the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) and the National Defense Authorization Act. The TVPRA was actually an amendment of the Violence against Women Act. The Reauthorization “established and strengthened programs to ensure that U.S. citizens do not purchase products made by victims of human trafficking, and to prevent child marriage” (Polaris). The latter was established with the goal to minimize the human trafficking that is associated with government contactors by allowing governmental agencies to terminate a contract with an organization or person who is involved in human trafficking, with no penalty inflicted (Polaris).

            In regards to current legislation, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act was just signed by President Barack Obama on May 29th 2015. After the bill quickly passed through the House of Representatives (420-3), it was halted in the senate for further debate and analyzation. However the senate ended up passing the pill to the President with a majority of 99-0. This act developed and passed so that victims of human trafficking can get the proper help that they deserve. They now will have access to the services they need and protection under the law (The Hill).

“Survivors of child sex trafficking in the United States will finally receive the vital services and protections they deserve,” Yasmin Vafa,
— http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/243519-obama-signs-anti-trafficking-law

            There are also many other bills that are being discussed in congress now. If you are interested in reading more about these refer to this link. A great aspect of this resource if you can click on different states and a place for the Federal government in order to review state and federal legislation. Also below I have listed my resources and a fun School House Rock video (yes it is for younger viewers but I love School House Rock and it’s always a fun reminder of the basics).