WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 27, 2017)—Polaris, a leader in the global fight to eradicate modern slavery and help survivors restore their freedom, today hailed the U.S. Congress for taking the first steps toward reauthorizing the United States’ cornerstone anti-human trafficking legislation. The Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act (FDTVPPRA) of 2017 was introduced today by Representatives Chris Smith (R-NJ), Karen Bass (D-CA), Ed Royce (R-CA), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Susan Brooks (R-IN), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Ann Wagner (R-MO), Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), and Ted Poe (R-TX). This bill reauthorizes the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), including critical funding for both domestic and international anti-trafficking programs. The TVPA, which has been reauthorized four times by overwhelmingly bipartisan votes, expires in 2017.
“We applaud the Members of Congress who are introducing legislation to reauthorize the vital Trafficking Victims Protection Act for their continued leadership on anti-human trafficking efforts. We look forward to working with them to continue the long tradition of bipartisanship surrounding legislation combating modern slavery in America,” said Keeli Sorensen, Polaris’s Director of Government Relations and Public Policy. “As this legislation moves forward, it is critical that funding is protected for anti-human trafficking programs so victims and survivors are able to receive the help and services they require along what can be a long road to recovery.”
“It’s essential that we continue prioritizing the four pillars of the original TVPA: prosecution, protection, prevention, and partnerships,” said Corban Teague, Polaris’s Policy Counsel. “To successfully fight human trafficking, Congress must ensure we are able coordinate across numerous sectors to identify and disrupt entire trafficking networks, and connect victims and survivors to assistance.”
Along with reauthorizing funding to combat trafficking, the FDTVPPRA contains a number of new provisions aimed at addressing current policy gaps. In particular, it strengthens the Department of State’s Trafficking In Persons Report by ensuring countries are more accurately analyzed and ranked. It also exempts restitution for trafficking survivors from federal taxes, bolsters efforts to keep goods made from forced labor from entering the United States, and increases support for the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking.
Polaris is a member of the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking (ATEST), a coalition of anti-human trafficking nonprofits that advocates for policy solutions to prevent and all forms of modern slavery, which also supports this reauthorization legislation.
People can receive help or report a tip of suspected human trafficking in the United States by calling the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or by sending a text to Polaris at “BeFree” (233733).