Washington, D.C.–Today, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) joined with Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), John Kerry (D-MA) and Scott Brown (R-MA) to introduce the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2011, which seeks to combat human trafficking and improve protections for victims both in the United States and abroad.
On the international front, the bill requires the State Department to develop regional strategies for combating trafficking in persons and requires that regional trafficking officers be put in place to help fulfill the strategies. On the domestic front, the bill will improve cooperation among federal agencies providing victim services as well as offer law enforcement additional tools and resources to investigate human trafficking crimes.
The bill includes a provision based on Boxer’s Child Protection Compact Act, a bipartisan bill introduced earlier this year by Senators Boxer, Richard Burr (R-NC), Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) and Scott Brown (R-MA) that would give the State Department additional tools to combat child trafficking, exploitation and enslavement across the globe.
Senator Boxer said, “We must send a clear message that human trafficking and the exploitation of children will not be tolerated. I am so pleased that the legislation introduced today includes my bipartisan bill – the Child Protection Compact Act – which will give the State Department new, innovate tools to help protect vulnerable children around the globe.”
According to the International Labour Organization, 1.8 million children worldwide are exploited for pornography and prostitution, with many more exploited through trafficking and enslavement. But even when less developed countries wish to combat such practices, their governments often lack the resources, infrastructure and expertise to tackle these problems. The State Department currently provides grants to non-governmental organizations to combat child trafficking, but that funding is often dispersed widely and stretched thin.
The Child Protection Compact Act (S. 185) aims to facilitate a more targeted approach to child trafficking by authorizing the Secretary of State to enter into three-year “Child Protection Compacts” with countries that are eager, but currently unable, to combat the high prevalence of trafficking within their borders. Countries that violate the requirements of the Compact could see their funding terminated.
Senator Boxer’s bill is supported by the International Justice Mission (IJM), World Vision, Freedom House, Equality Now, Sojourners, the Not for Sale Campaign, the Polaris Project, the SOLD Project, and Catholic Relief Services (CRS).