After unanimous votes in Congress, President Bush signed into law in early January the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005, drawing praise from human rights and religious groups. The act’s provisions include investigation of domestic trafficking and protection of vulnerable groups in post-war and humanitarian situations. According to the legislation, up to 800,000 individuals each year—80 percent of whom are women and girls—are internationally trafficked or commercially exploited for sex or labor.
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Melissa Snow, deputy director of communication for Shared Hope International, an anti-trafficking organization headquartered in Vancouver, Washington, told Sojourners that the bill represents a shift in focus, “addressing the client—the pedophile, the sex offender—as well as going after the ones exploiting the women—the pimps.” Snow, who was present at the White House signing of the bill, said the bill addresses the problem of trafficking in the United States. The bill states that 100,000 to 300,000 U.S. children at a given time face the risk of being exploited for sex or work and may be trafficked for that purpose.