WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 20, 2014) – Polaris Project, a leading organization in the global fight against human trafficking and modern slavery, released a statement on the series of bills the U.S. House of Representatives considered today on human trafficking. The bills included H.Res. 573, H.R. 4058, H.R. 4573, H.R. 3530, H.R. 3610, and H.R. 4225.
“Polaris Project is pleased that Congress is rightfully focusing its attention on helping people who are being exploited for profit against their will every day in America. The House Leadership and numerous legislative champions on both sides of the aisle are demonstrating a desire to prevent sex trafficking and help survivors rebuild their lives,” said Bradley Myles, CEO of Polaris Project. “However, we are disappointed by the lack of interest to support all victims of human trafficking in these bills. Moving forward, we encourage Members of Congress to include labor trafficking victims in their legislative efforts because these victims have also faced abuse, sexual assault, threats, and other forms of coercion to perform labor or services against their will.”
“These bills are a step in the right direction in our collective effort to support victims, especially child victims of sex trafficking. The bills seek to protect teenagers in the foster care system with new screening and identification methods and encourage states to treat trafficked children as victims instead of charging them with crimes they were forced to commit,” added Britanny Vanderhoof, Polaris Project’s Policy Counsel. “We are hopeful that bipartisan legislation, such as the bills put forward by Congressman Royce to curb fraudulent labor recruiting practices or Congresswoman Bass to strengthen the child welfare system for child victims of both sex and labor trafficking, can gain similar attention in Congress.”
Polaris Project released a fact sheet on a number of the bills under consideration by the U.S. House, which can be accessed here.
Human trafficking is a thriving criminal industry, with traffickers making billions in profits by using force, fraud, or coercion to rob victims of their freedom. The International Labor Organization estimates that there are 20.9 million victims of human trafficking worldwide, with hundreds of thousands of victims forced to provide commercial sex, labor, or services against their will in the United States. The National Human Trafficking Resource Center, operated by Polaris Project, has received reports of more than 15,000 cases of human trafficking in the United States.
People can receive help or report a tip of suspected human trafficking by calling the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) at 1-888-373-7888 or by sending a text to Polaris at “BeFree” (233733).
Polaris is a leader in the global fight to eradicate modern slavery. Named after the North Star that guided slaves to freedom in the U.S., Polaris acts as a catalyst to systemically disrupt the human trafficking networks that rob human beings of their lives and their freedom. By working with government leaders, the world’s leading technology corporations, and local partners, Polaris equips communities to identify, report, and prevent human trafficking. Our comprehensive model puts victims at the center of what we do – helping survivors restore their freedom, preventing more victims, and leveraging data and technology to pursue traffickers wherever they operate. Learn more at www.polarisproject.org.