On September 7th, government agencies and representatives from 13 NGOs met in Capitol Hill offices for a roundtable meeting on H.R. 8672, the Trafficking Survivors Relief Act (TSRA). The working group was called to discuss the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) in the Senate and to discuss new goals and priorities for the 118th Congress.
The Trafficking Survivors Relief Act (2022) is a piece of bipartisan legislation to give survivors a path to clear their criminal records of non-violent offenses committed as a direct result of having been a victim of trafficking.
This is a critical development that will encourage victims of modern slavery and human trafficking to come forward. Criminal records can create barriers for victims to access higher education, to rent or buy a home, or access job opportunities, all of which can increase a victim’s vulnerability and make them a target for re-trafficking. With over 90 percent of victims reporting having some kind of arrest or conviction on their records as a result of their trafficking experience, it is essential for survivors of trafficking to be cleared.
Eight bicameral and bipartisan Capitol Hill offices representing both the House of Representatives and Senate and both parties were present, illustrating how the issue of human trafficking and modern slavery is an urgent and pressing issue for all. In a world of division, this was an act of great unity. We must work together to create an end to modern slavery.
These organisations were present:
- Shared Hope
- National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE)
- Freedom Network
- Covenant House
- McCain Institute
- International Justice Mission (IJM)
- 3 Strands Global
- Hope for Justice
- National Trafficking Sheltered Alliance (NTSA)
- Ambassador John Richmond
- Anne from Ascend Consulting DC