Protecting the Victims

The 2007 reauthorization of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) brought together a diverse, bipartisan coalition to encourage Congress to improve the bill. “Virtually the entire political spectrum in the U.S. Congress is revolted by the crimes of forced labor slavery, child labor exploitation, and sex trafficking,” International Justice Mis­sion’s Holly Burkhalter told So­jour­ners. Advocates of the TVPA want to increase protection for victims and the success rate of prosecuting traffickers.

“We know that the modest efforts to expand benefits (including access to visas) for foreign trafficking victims are under fire from anti-immigration forces in the House,” Burkhalter said. “None­theless, it’s clear that this is one human rights issue that has captured the heart and fueled the outrage of the American people and those who represent them.” The U.S. State Department estimates that between 600,000 and 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders annually, with the majority forced into the commercial sex trade. Eighty percent of those trafficked are female, and 50 percent are children.

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