Now, on to the president’s desk!
Today, after more than two years of countless phone calls, frustrating roadblocks, and non-stop prayer, your voices rang through the halls of Congress. The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act passed through the House of Representatives -- only a few weeks after the same provision passed through the Senate!
Now, it goes to President Obama’s desk to be signed into law.
The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000 is the cornerstone of U.S. policies against modern-day slavery around the world. The TVPA created the first comprehensive federal law to address human trafficking by focusing on both the domestic and international dimensions of this heinous crime. It is what makes the United States the global leader in combating modern-day slavery.
One year ago, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act -- the centerpiece of U.S. policies against modern-day slavery around the world -- expired because Congress failed to reauthorize it in time. Since then, concerned citizens and groups who work to protect children have advocated for the reauthorization bill to be passed.
Below is our latest update from Jesse Eaves, World Vision's child protection policy adviser.
Recently, Jessica Bosquette shared how she saw the Trafficking Victims Protection Act make a difference in the lives of children in the Dominican Republic. She also shared that if Americans failed to tell their senators they want the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act to pass, the positive results it has yielded will be gone. Today, Jesse Eaves, WV Policy Advisor on child protection, provides an update on the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. He has news that requires a response-- if Americans want to see results, we must act soon.
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There's no doubt about it – it's been a scorcher in Washington, D.C.
Luckily for us, the heat outside is only matched by the heat inside Congress to take action on the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) S.1301.
But now we can turn up the heat. We have to make it a political necessity for U.S. senators to vote ‘yes’ for this legislation.
June 12 is the World Day Against Child Labor. Globally, at least 2 million children are trafficked annually for child labor and sexual exploitation. World Vision is working in places like Bangladesh, a human trafficking source and transit country, to protect vulnerable children from trafficking and forced labor. Traveling in Bangladesh to see World Vision's child protection programs in action, Jesse Eaves, our child protection policy advisor, reflects on what he sees at the Benapole border crossing between Bangladesh and India.
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I see the trucks long before I see the actual border -- colorful, well-used, laden with cargo and people, lined up one after another on the shoulder of the road.
In fact, I almost don’t even see the border gates for all the trucks and the mass of humanity congregating at the exit point. The Benapole border crossing is the busiest in Bangladesh. More than 5,000 people a day cross this inauspicious boundary with India.
For more than a year, World Vision has advocated for reauthorization of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA). The law, which represents the cornerstone of U.S. policies to fight modern-day slavery, expired on September 30, 2011, because Congress did not vote to reauthorize it in time.
As a result, U.S. efforts to combat trafficking are essentially on hold until the law is reauthorized.
Here is an update from World Vision's child protection policy advisor, Jesse Eaves.
For almost a year, World Vision has advocated for the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVRPA), inviting our supporters to join us in advocating for this bill. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) -- the cornerstone of U.S. policies to fight modern-day slavery -- expired on September 30, 2011, because Congress did not vote to reauthorize the law in time. As a result, U.S. efforts to combat trafficking are essentially on hold until the law is reauthorized.
Here is an update from our child protection policy advisor, Jesse Eaves.
Abdul is 10 years old. While many children his age are in school, Abdul spends his days harvesting a bean that is an essential ingredient to a symbol of decadence, love, and happiness in the western world. But to him, it represents pain, toil, and sadness.
Abdul is a child slave working on a cocoa farm in Cote D’Ivoire -- where 35 percent of the world’s cocoa originates -- to make the chocolate you and I love. Abdul has never tasted chocolate. He says he does not even know how cocoa beans are used.
It goes without saying that this year has been one of the craziest in the history of Congress. Despite all the ups and downs and swings of momentum in moving the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act forward, one thing has remained constant: our advocates’ dedication to stand up and make their voices heard.
It’s safe to say that neither the House nor the Senate versions of this legislation would be where they are without those voices.
As a humanitarian worker, a child protection expert, and as a U.S. citizen, I have certain expectations -- some call them naive ideals -- that the U.S. government will work to reduce the vulnerability of children around the world and here in the United States.
Laws like the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, the PROTECT Act, and the Child Soldier Prevention Act have all set in place strict policies that made America the global leader in working to prevent and respond to vulnerability among children.
That’s why, on October 4, I was angry, and, to be honest, feeling slightly betrayed. On October 4, the Obama administration announced the latest round of guidelines outlining how, for the second year in a row, the federal government will provide military aid to countries whose armed forces recruit and use child soldiers.
Debating the effectiveness of laws is a tradition as old as our nation itself. But I want to share a story that illustrates how one law is accomplishing exactly what it was passed to do.
From 2003 to 2007, the owners of the U.S. company Global Horizons trafficked more than 600 Thai workers to U.S. soil. The company lured the men with promises of high-paying agricultural jobs.
When the men arrived after having paid exorbitant recruitment fees, their passports and immigration papers were taken from them. Instead of receiving high-paying jobs, the men were forced to work on farms in Washington state and Hawaii to pay off the “debt” they were told they incurred.
In 2007, the owners of the company were arrested. The victims were referred to service providers, who handled everything from medical care and legal services to making arrangements for those who wanted to return home. In June 2011, the eight defendants in the Global Horizons case were convicted of their crimes.
Editor's note: Birth registration -- documentation that ensures the government knows you exist -- is a growing issue worldwide, especially in fragile states where governments are either unable or unwilling to implement effective birth registration policies. For more on the importance of birth registration, read "Why registration matters: Children are cared for and protected."
When you think about congressional testimony, you think about big rooms, hot lights, and lawmakers peering over their spectacles to ask the hard-hitting questions about the most pressing issues of the day.
When discussing the importance of child protection, you might expect an array of complex and lofty rhetoric that hints at the largeness of the issue, but fails to tackle the concrete steps that a nation, community, or individual can take to ensure that children are protected from abuse, neglect, exploitation, and violence.
In a congressional hearing that deals with child protection, you can expect to hear lots of statements and suggestions. But do you really expect to hear about birth registration?
It’s the middle of the night in the Albanian capital city of Tirana. Romeo looks into the policemen’s eyes. He tells them his name. They go to look him up. They find no record of little Romeo. They don’t know where he was born, who his parents are, or how old he really is. They ask each other, “Who is this kid?” Do you remember when you got...