ATEST Applauds New Bills to Protect Trafficking Survivors

February 1st  is Freedom Day, the anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln signing the 13th Amendment to the Constitution in 1865 to abolish legal slavery in the United States. It caps off National Human Trafficking Prevention Month, a time to reflect on that fact that forced labor still exists in the U.S., and to spotlight efforts to end it.

The Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking is pleased that two bills were introduced in Congress during Trafficking Prevention Month to help protect survivors.

  • Trafficking Survivor Relief Act (TSRA): Most states have enacted legislation that allows survivors to expunge their criminal records for crimes committed because of their trafficking, but there is no safeguard in place for federal crimes. The TSRA will change that. It has been introduced by Reps. Russell Fry (R-SC), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Anne Wagner (R-MO), and Robert Garcia (D-CA).
  • Ending Forced Arbitration: Trafficking survivors often find they cannot pursue legal action in court to exercise their rights under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act because of employment or other contracts that prevent them from filing lawsuits and instead require the use of arbitration. The bill would change that. It has been introduced by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Josh Hawley (R-MO).

ATEST endorses both bipartisan bills and we thank their sponsors for taking action. We urge Congress to pass them.

ATEST is a U.S.-based coalition that advocates for solutions to prevent and end forced labor and human trafficking around the world. We advocate for lasting solutions to prevent forced labor and sex trafficking, hold perpetrators accountable, ensure justice for victims and empower survivors with tools for recovery. Our collective experience implementing programs at home and abroad in more than 30 U.S. cities and 100 countries provides our coalition with an unparalleled breadth and depth of expertise.

ATEST member organizations include: Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST), Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), Covenant House, Free the Slaves, HEAL Trafficking, Human Trafficking Legal Center, Humanity United Action (HUA), McCain Institute for International Leadership, National Network for Youth (NN4Y), Polaris, Safe Horizon, Solidarity Center, United Way Worldwide, Verité, and Vital Voices Global Partnership.

Contact: ATEST Director Terry FitzPatrick | [email protected] | 571-282-9913