The Christian relief organization World Vision applauded the U.S. Senate passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act on Tuesday, but said the bill remains at risk unless the House also acts.
"This was a time to lead in the fight against modern-day slavery and the U.S. Senate rose to the occasion," said Jesse Eaves, senior policy advisor for Child Protection at World Vision. "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 have 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."
Officials at World Vision said that at a time when bi-partisanship appears non-existent, the Senate "came together" to pass the bill that helps combat human trafficking. "However, the success in the Senate is still marred by partisan gridlock in the House of Representatives, and World Vision calls on both parties to put politics aside and pass this crucial bipartisan bill before the end of this Congress."
Originally passed in 2000, this legislation and the laws and programs it created have made the U.S. a global leader in the fight against modern-day slavery, World Vision stated.
The renewed legislation makes some important gains in the fight against human trafficking around the world. Some of the new aspects of the bill include:
• Allows survivors of trafficking in the U.S. better access to services
• Strengthens law enforcement efforts to crack down on American child sex tourists living abroad
• Allows the U.S. to form strategic partnerships with countries trying to crackdown on trafficking in their own country
"The partisan gridlock in the House only serves to take away from trafficking victims and gives solace to traffickers," said Eaves. "This is not a left or right issue. It's a right or wrong issue and it's time for the House to follow the lead of the Senate and allow the U.S. to remain a global leader combatting modern- day slavery."
The White House made last January, National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month and urged businesses leaders, religious organizations and citizens to become aware of how to get involved in preventing innocent children from becoming victims of trafficking.
"We will continue to take action by empowering investigators and law enforcement with the training they need, and by engaging businesses, advocates, and students in developing cutting-edge tools people can use to stay safe," the White House said in a statement.
"We will invest in helping trafficking victims rebuild their lives. And as one of the world's largest purchasers of goods and services, the Federal Government will keep leading by example, further strengthening protections to help ensure that American tax dollars never support forced labor," officials added.
World Vision is a Christian relief, development, and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.