Call Congress on January 11th: Human Trafficking Awareness Day
Share your vision for a slave-free world!
In Lesotho, a small country in southern Africa, Nela (name changed to protect her identity) lost her parents to AIDS and was kicked off her own land by her aunt and uncle. It comes as no surprise that orphans are vulnerable in their community because they must find ways to care for themselves and any siblings they may have under their care. This exposes them to neglect, abuse, and exploitation. Without her land, a potential source of income, and without safe family care, the Nela became extremely vulnerable. Her chances of living life in all its fullness were all but extinguished.
However, a woman from Nela’s village, who is part of the community watch group, discovered the girl’s case and reported it to the police. Together with other community members, they ensured that the Nela’s land was returned and she was placed in a safe foster care family. Because of advocates in her community, Nela’s vulnerability was addressed before the situation became even graver. The community watch group believes in a community where children are protected from abuse, neglect, exploitation, and violence. Across the world, from the Lesotho to the Dominican Republic, from Bangladesh to Romania, from California to Washington D.C., we share this vision: A world where every child is protected and no one is enslaved. On January 11th, share this vision with your elected leaders.
Last year Congress failed to reauthorize the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), the cornerstone of the U.S. fight against modern-day slavery. This failure has left support for crucial programs that protect vulnerable men, women, and children, provide survivors with services, and prosecute human traffickers, in jeopardy. In short, it has weakened U.S. leadership in the fight against modern-day slavery and left millions of people vulnerable and millions enslaved. Congress needs to know that partisan bickering and inaction cannot be excuses for failing to recognize the enslavement of men, women, and children as a serious and urgent issue.
January 11th is Global Human Trafficking Awareness Day; call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to support the bipartisan reintroduction and immediate passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act.
The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) is the centerpiece of all U.S. laws against human trafficking. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) created the first comprehensive federal law to address human trafficking and modern-day slavery, targeting both the domestic and international dimensions of this crime. Because the methods of these perpetrators are constantly evolving, the law must evolve with them. That is why the TVPA must be renewed every few years. The TVPA was reauthorized through the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) of 2003, 2005, and 2008. Each time the bill was reauthorized, innovations and improvements were added to the TVPA of 2000.
The current TVPRA of 2008 expired on September 30, 2011. Though the laws stay on the books, without a current, authorized law the programs, taskforces, and projects do not have to receive any funding from Congress. This means that Congress could cut funding at any time, leaving the crucial programs and structures that make up the U.S. fight against trafficking at risk.
Over the last year and half, Women of Vision have been tireless advocates for the TVPRA. In March 2012, over 100 women arrived in Washington D.C. for the Women of Vision conference. In one day, these advocates covered 1/5 of Congress and 22 states. When they arrived, there were 32 cosponsors on the bill, by May there were 39 and by the end of December 2012, there were 56 cosponsors. The determination, hard work, and creativity of Women of Vision advocates from California, Texas, Illinois, Connecticut, and North Carolina paid off. In a year when it was difficult to move anything in Congress, the TVPRA had the most bi-partisan cosponsors of any bill in the Senate. Despite this wide bi-partisan support and hopeful signs in December, the TVPRA failed to pass the Senate due to inaction and partisanship. A new Congress is being sworn in today and the TVPRA will need to be reintroduced in both the Senate and House. Because of the solid foundation built in the Senate by advocates, like Women of Vision, we are not starting over, but starting anew.
On January 11th, raise your voice with advocates around the world and ask Congress to reauthorize the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act immediately. Call your Senators and Representative to ask them to support the reintroduction and immediate passage of a bipartisan Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act.