ATEST Applauds Senate Passage of Trafficking Victims Protection Act

For Release: February 12, 2013

The U.S. Senate voted today 93-5 to reauthorize the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), the United States’ most important tool in the fight against human trafficking and modern-day slavery. The TVPA expired in September of 2011, placing critical anti-trafficking initiatives at risk, including support to law enforcement and services for survivors.

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) offered the TVPA reauthorization as an amendment to the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), critically important legislation that is expected to pass the Senate by a large margin later today.

ATEST experts are available for interviews (see contacts below.)  ATEST quotes:

“Today’s Senate vote was an important and welcome step toward renewing the United States’ cornerstone anti-trafficking law. Twenty-seven million people worldwide are trafficked each year including thousands trafficked into the commercial sex industry, farm and domestic work and other low-wage industries here in the United States. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act is our nation’s best tool for providing services to trafficking survivors, putting perpetrators behind bars and preventing future crimes. We applaud Senators Leahy and Rubio for their bipartisan leadership and commitment to ending modern-day slavery, and we urge the House of Representatives to show similar bipartisan cooperation to move a bill quickly to a vote and onto President Obama’s desk.” — David Abramowitz, Director of ATEST and Vice President for Policy & Government Relations, Humanity United

“Reauthorizing the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) sends important signals worldwide. It says that the United States is still committed to ending human trafficking at home and abroad. It tells those in slavery that they have a partner in the American government and the American people. It tells traffickers that we haven’t lost our resolve. We’re delighted that the TVPA and Violence Against Women Act could pass the Senate together, because gender-based violence and modern-day slavery are often closely related.”  — Maurice Middleberg, Executive Director, Free the Slaves

“Foreign governments pay close attention to the U.S. leadership on trafficking and slavery.  We needed this legislation to keep the lights on at the Trafficking in Persons Office, which is our country’s greatest asset in fighting slavery.  Thank you, Senators Leahy and Rubio for proving that leaders can cross party lines when it comes to protecting the least of these – children and adults in slavery.” — Holly J. Burkhalter, Vice President, Government Relations, International Justice Mission

“Vital Voices applauds the bipartisan effort in the Senate to pass the reauthorization of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. Now we look to the House of Representatives to come together to introduce and pass the reauthorization so it reaches President Obama’s desk as soon as possible. Survivors in the United States and overseas deserve no less than our concerted efforts to ensure the reauthorization becomes law.” — Melysa Sperber, Director, Human Rights, Vital Voices Global Partnership

“This was a time to lead in the fight against modern-day slavery and the US Senate rose to the occasion. At a time when it seems impossible to move important legislation, the Senate vote not only gives hope to millions of exploited men, women, and children around the world, but also to the thousands of advocates around the country who’ve worked tirelessly to push this legislation through. We now implore the House to take notice and follow suit so this life-saving bill can renewed.” – Jesse Eaves, Senior Policy for Child Protection, World Vision

“Polaris Project welcomes the passage of both the Trafficking Victims Protection Act and the Violence Against Women Act. These two critically important laws protect the human rights of millions of women, girls, men, and boys and hold accountable the perpetrators of violence, exploitation, and enslavement. This historic, bipartisan legislation provides vital funding for the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline, protects survivors, and gives law enforcement new tools to prosecute traffickers. Because of this legislation and those who work to use it each day, more survivors are finding their way back to freedom and dignity.” — Mary Ellison, Director of Policy, Polaris Project

“ECPAT-USA applauds the Senate for passing the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) as an amendment to the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The TVPRA and VAWA work to define our nation’s commitment to ending egregious human rights violations and serving those harmed by human trafficking and gender-based violence.  ECPAT-USA is also pleased to see the new and enhanced provisions that focus on identifying and responding to the needs of child trafficking victims. Now, it’s time for the House of Representatives to exercise the same level of leadership and bi-partisan cooperation to pass this important legislation without further delay.”– Marina Colby, Director of Public Policy & Government Relations, ECPAT-USA

“California is known as one of the main destination points in the U.S. where trafficked victims are forced to suffer unimaginable exploitation. The TVPRA is one of the most important laws in this country that provides for emergency and comprehensive services to survivors of trafficking, services that will help them rebuild their lives after years of abuse. Under this law, more survivors will have the support they need to be effective witnesses and bring their traffickers to justice.” — Kay Buck, CEO of Los Angeles-based Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking