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Top News Vital anti-trafficking legislation passes U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee

Vital anti-trafficking legislation passes U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee

The Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act, which would provide $1 billion over five years to expand and reinforce key anti-trafficking programs, has cleared a major hurdle. It has won the strong bipartisan support of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and was passed by the Committee members on November 7, moving it an important step forward on the path to becoming law.

Hope for Justice has been closely involved with this Bill since it was introduced last year and we praise Rep. Chris Smith and the other congressional leaders from both parties who have been driving this.

Sarah Butler, our U.S. Program Director, said: “We are thrilled to see the Bill making progress and we look forward to supporting it further as it moves towards a vote on the House Floor. Effective laws like this will protect survivors of human trafficking and also help change the structures and attitudes that perpetuate conditions leading to exploitation.”

You can stand with us and advocate for a future where society does not tolerate human trafficking and modern-day slavery. Take action by contacting your member of Congress and ask them to pass into law the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act (HR 5856).

U.S. Congressman Chris Smith (R, Hamilton Township), who represents New Jersey’s 4th congressional district and who has praised Hope for Justice as a “major anti-trafficking organization”, authored the original Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 and four subsequent anti-trafficking laws. He said: “This critical legislation reauthorizes funding for FY2024 through 2028 – a total of five years – to continue current year enacted appropriation and authorization levels to enhance programs, strengthen laws, and add accountability in our whole-of-government effort to protect women and children from human trafficking.”

The legislation is cosponsored by Susan Wild (D-PA), Michael McCaul (R-TX), Ann Wagner (R-MO), Kathy Manning (D-NC), Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Joe Wilson (R-SC), Amata Radewagen (R-AS), Michael Burgess (R-TX), and Donald Davis (D-NC).

Smith’s office says the Act would:

  • Reauthorize the Department of State Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons; and the Trafficking in Persons annual world-wide review and gold standard for accessing countries’ anti-trafficking efforts;
  • Reauthorize funding for the International Megan’s Law and Angel Watch programs;
  • Encourage the usage of prevention efforts to include accessible, age-appropriate, and trauma-informed approaches for USAID beneficiaries and the further incorporation of counter-trafficking efforts across the development portfolio; and
  • Streamline statutory language for Tier 2 Watch List.

 The Committee’s Ranking Democrat, Gregory Meeks (D-NY), said: “I thank Rep. Smith for authoring the first modern trafficking bill and its subsequent reauthorizations, again tirelessly fighting to do the right thing. We thank you for your leadership and we are proud to partner with you – not only in elevating this issue, but also in making real differences in peoples’ lives, which this is really all about. This is not about politics but about doing the right thing.”

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