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Congress Passes Long-Awaited Anti-Human Trafficking Bill

Statement by Mary Ellison, Director of Policy, Polaris Project:

“Polaris Project is celebrating a major victory today with the long-awaited passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA). After almost two years of urging action on this bill, we are thrilled to see the House of Representatives support this critical tool that provides vital services to survivors and curtails human trafficking at home and abroad. 

“The U.S. House of Representatives passed the legislation in a 286-138 vote as part of the Violence Against Women Act (S. 47), just weeks after the U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly (93-5) to include it as an amendment to S. 47. In 2011, the TVPRA – a bipartisan bill – was allowed to expire for the first time, placing critical anti-trafficking initiatives at risk.

“Across the U.S., men, women, and children in our communities are compelled to work long hours under harsh conditions for little to no pay, or forced into the commercial sex trade. Trafficking victims are both U.S. citizens and foreign nationals who are lured with the promise of better lives. No matter their situation, these victims are trapped and have lost their freedom. Passage of the TVPRA sends a message of hope to all of the 20.9 million human trafficking victims in the U.S. and worldwide.

“In 2000, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act was a landmark bill that greatly increased America’s ability to protect victims and assist survivors, and it was reauthorized three times with bipartisan support. Today’s bill sets important funding benchmarks, encourages distribution of the Polaris Project-operated National Human Trafficking Hotline number by federal agencies, establishes grant programs for state agencies to assist child victims of sex trafficking, strengthens the ability to prosecute those who fraudulently hire individuals in foreign labor contracts, and more.

“We look forward to President Barack Obama signing this bill into law.”

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To report a tip, connect with anti-trafficking services in your area, or request information, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at: 1-888-373-7888.

About Polaris Project
Polaris Project is a leading organization in the global fight against human trafficking and modern-day slavery. Named after the North Star “Polaris” that guided slaves to freedom along the Underground Railroad, Polaris Project is transforming the way that individuals and communities respond to human trafficking, in the U.S. and globally. By successfully pushing for stronger federal and state laws, operating the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline (1-888-373-7888), conducting trainings, and providing vital services to victims of trafficking, Polaris Project creates long-term solutions that move our society closer to a world without slavery. Learn more at www.polarisproject.org.

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