For over a decade, the US has been a global leader in bringing attention to the monumental issue of human trafficking, which includes both forced sexual and labor exploitation of people around the world. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) first became law in 2000 to provide resources for international agencies working to prosecute perpetrators, provide services to victims, and prevent further trafficking abuse. This was followed by the creation of the Trafficking in Persons office under the state department that creates an annual report on the compliance of nations with the anti-trafficking standards set by the United Nations.
The TVPA needs to be renewed every three years, and it is up for renewal by September 30, 2011, or it will expire. Non-Governmental Organizations working to end human slavery, such as World Vision, are concerned that the momentum gained in the last few years will end if the bill (TVPRA: S 1301 and HR 2830) is not renewed.
Last week, testimony was heard in the Senate in support of the reauthorization of the TVPA. Luis CdeBaca, President Obama’s Ambassador-at-Large to Combat Human Trafficking with the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in the Persons (G/TIP), presented an overview of the need for this legislation and the process involved in funding international agencies.
See video clip of Lou deBaca’s testimony.
Key points from Ambassador deBaca’s testimony:
- One of the primary responsibilities of the G/TIP office is the administration of foreign assistance funds for international anti-trafficking programs.
- It is not enough to prosecute traffickers if we do not also provide assistance to the survivors and work to ensure that no one else is victimized. Thus, many of G/TIP’s projects are cross-cutting in their approach to combating trafficking, with focus on programs that address victim protection
- Fifty-nine percent of all protection programs (funded by TVPA) include activities to increase prosecutions and convictions,
- Nearly three quarters of projects focus on both labor and sex trafficking to ensure a comprehensive response to all forms of trafficking.
- The final foreign assistance appropriation for this fiscal year was $16.2 million.
- The foreign assistance and programming priorities are strategically linked to the country-specific tier rankings and diagnostic assessments included in the annual TIP Report. To maximize the limited funding, we identify priority countries for funding each year.
- Foreign assistance is targeted to Tier 3 (worst score on annual report), Tier 2 Watch List, and, in some cases, Tier 2 countries, where governments have the political will to improve the response to trafficking but lack the economic resources to address the problem
- Priorities are published and grant proposals are submitted by agencies in the target areas
- Proposals are reviewed by the TIP team from the respective countries
- Nearly 1000 proposals were received last year, requesting a total funding of 30 times the amount available through the TIP office
There is still time to take action on the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2011. International Justice Mission, which sponsored the National Call-in Day, has three action points:
- Email your Senators and Representative asking them to support the TVPRA.
- Commit to the 100 Postcard Challenge and encourage others to raise their voice.
- Stay informed by signing up for the IJM’s Justice Campaigns monthly update.
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(c) 2011 Holly Craw. All rights reserved. You may link to this article or take an excerpt with due attribution to the author and a link back to this original article. Mention your link below to get a shoutout.
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