Every three years CAST and its national advocacy partners, The Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking (ATEST) and The Freedom Network, USA, work to reauthorize the Federal Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA). The TVPRA, first enacted in 2000, is the most important piece of federal anti-trafficking legislation designed to address trafficking in persons and provide services to its victims trafficked within the US and across its borders. Since 2016, CAST and its partners helped shape TVPRA’s reauthorization. During the 2017-2018 legislative cycle, the TVPRA provisions were introduced and passed as four separate bills, S. 1311, S. 1312, S. 1862 and H.R. 2200. We are happy to announce that in the final days of the legislative cycle of 2018, this four-bill package passed Congress and is now signed into law by the President.
CAST thanks the dedicated legislators with whom we have collaborated, including Representatives Chris Smith and Karen Bass, and Senators Chuck Grassley, Dianne Feinstein, John Cornyn, Bob Corker, Robert Menendez, and Amy Klobuchar.
CAST provided input on each bill’s final text, most importantly ensuring that many parts of the bills that initially only focused on sex trafficking were enacted inclusive of both labor and sex trafficking, consistent with the federal definition of trafficking.
Other important provisions in the bill that CAST helped negotiate include:
- Ensuring trafficking survivors and nonprofits help develop training for the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security to screen all individuals as trafficking victims before arresting them for crimes their traffickers forced them to commit.
- Provisions prohibiting overseas U.S. government contractors from charging recruitment fees to workers.
- Increasing money authorized for the Department of Justice programs that provide victim services across the country.
Although the passage of the TVPRA package signals an important step forward, it is imperative that we continue our advocacy on behalf of human trafficking survivors. Implementation of the new provisions as well as prior trafficking victim protections by the federal government is essential. In order for the United States to continue to prevent human trafficking in the United States and around the world, CAST will continue its work with administrative agencies to ensure that they recognize the unique vulnerabilities of trafficking survivors and dedicate the substantial resources needed to address this issue.