WASHINGTON, D.C. – Polaris, a leader in the global fight to eradicate modern slavery and restore freedom to survivors, issued a statement today following passage of the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, S.178, introduced by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX). Polaris commended the Senate for reaching a bipartisan compromise to pass anti-human trafficking legislation, which would improve the U.S. response to human trafficking. However, the organization was disappointed the Senate did not pass the Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act (RHYTPA), S.262, as introduced by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Susan Collins (R-ME).
Bradley Myles, CEO of Polaris, said:
“In a show of bipartisanship, the Senate passed the JVTA and a number of important amendments that will truly help strengthen services for victims of human trafficking. We are grateful for the Senate’s leadership and the many innovative ideas to fight modern slavery that were generated through this bill.
“Polaris is concerned that by not including the Leahy-Collins amendment, the Senate missed a unique opportunity to combat human trafficking by investing in services that could prevent this crime before it occurs. Runaway and homeless youth, especially LGBT youth, are one of this nation’s most vulnerable populations to human trafficking. Congress must continue the essential services provided under the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act to ensure that all kids receive the help they need. We look forward to continuing our work with Congress to make sure all survivors have complete access to the services they require as they work to rebuild their lives. We urge Congress to make passing the Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act a top priority.”