Yesterday, the Senate introduced and moved through committee S. 1848: An original bill to amend the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000 to modify the criteria for determining whether countries are meeting the minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking, and for other purposes. While the title is long, the short story is that your voice was heard, asking Senators to renew legislation that prevents trafficking and forced labor, protects victims, and prosecutes traffickers around the world.
Reauthorization of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPRA) is essential every few years to ensure that the law stays up to date with the evolving tactics of human traffickers. This bill is the cornerstone of U.S. legislation to fight human trafficking in the U.S. and abroad.
In 2012 this bill expired, and the road to reauthorization was long. This does not happen because anyone in Congress is against fighting trafficking or for forced labor, but often members of Congress prioritize other things first. This session the reauthorization of this bill is moving quickly in part because nearly 14,000 messages from World Vision advocates have made it a priority. Earlier in the year, this bill passed through the House, and last week the Senate passed a companion version of the bill that addresses domestic trafficking. Where does the bill need to go from here?
- The Senate must vote to pass S.1848. Call, email, or tweet your Senator and ask them to cosponsor and vote yes on the bill.
- Once passed, the House bill (international and domestic) HR. 2211, Senate bill S.1848, which covers international components of the TVPRA, and two other bills that have passed through the Senate with components of the TVPRA, will go to conference so these four bills can become one bill that both the House and Senate agree on.
- World Vision believes that it is important to make sure the final bill does all it can to fight trafficking and forced labor with the knowledge we currently have. This includes –
- Acknowledging the strong role that the International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB) plays in preventing and responding to human trafficking and forced labor. Currently, the House bill does this, but this has not been acknowledged by the Senate.
- Strengthening the Child Soldiers Prevention Act. Currently, the Child Soldiers Prevention Act stipulates that no countries knowingly using or recruiting child soldiers may receive U.S. military assistance – unless the President provides a waiver. World Vision believes that in these cases there should be a certification that countries are working to address the issue of child soldiers.
We expect voting to happen on this bill soon, so contact your Senators now. Use the forms below to call, email, tweet – or do all three! Then, make sure you follow our blog to receive updates as the TVPRA moves forward and see how you can help influence the bill in conference to make sure protections to fight child labor and child soldiers are included.