WASHINGTON, D.C. – Statement by Mary Ellison, Director of Policy, Polaris Project
“Polaris Project welcomes the long-awaited passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. This law is the backbone of the U.S. government’s approach to human trafficking and modern-day slavery at home and abroad. Thanks to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the TVPRA was introduced today as an amendment to the Violence Against Women Act (S. 47). By passing Senator Leahy’s amendment 93-5, and the Violence Against Women Act 78-22, the Senate demonstrated its commitment to providing resources to help survivors of trafficking begin their lives anew with freedom and dignity.
“We strongly urge the leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives to take up the Senate’s bill and ensure that the TVPRA finally becomes law.
“The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), initially enacted in 2000 and reauthorized three times with bipartisan support, has greatly increased America’s ability to protect victims, assist survivors, and prosecute traffickers over the last decade. Nonetheless, 20.9 million human trafficking victims worldwide, including hundreds of thousands inside the United States, need greater support services as well as the opportunity to see their traffickers brought to justice.
“Today’s action helps fill critical gaps in our nation’s response to human trafficking and builds on the impact of the original law passed in 2000. The legislation encourages the distribution of the Polaris Project-operated National Human Trafficking Hotline number within federal and state agencies, establishes grant programs for states to assist child victims of sex trafficking, helps foreign governments investigate labor recruitment centers where trafficking victims may be recruited, and strengthens the ability to prosecute those who fraudulently recruit individuals in foreign labor contracts.
“We would like to thank Senator Leahy for sponsoring this legislation, as well as Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and former Senator John Kerry (D-MA), who all worked tirelessly to increase support of the TVPRA.”
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 people escaping slavery 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 (1-888-3737-888), 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.