On March 7, 2013, America’s most powerful tool to fight human trafficking was restored. President Obama signed the reauthorization of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA). The TVPA, which has been amended four times since its creation in October of 2000 was the first federal law to systematically address trafficking with the intent to include an international facet.
The law offers three P’s to tackle the problem: prevention, protection and prosecution. Prevention involves raising awareness through public programs of the inhumane practices linked with human trafficking. Protection involves ensuring the rescued victims a safe shelter, medical care, education and other social service programs. In the U.S. a T-Visa is available to trafficked victims who agree to assist law enforcement in bringing justice to the perpetuators. And lastly, prosecution involves the passing of laws that will punish and sentence abusers and those who exploit other humans so that they severe penalties under a federal crime. It also identifies forced labor, slavery, and sex trafficking to be recognized as a federal crime.
On June 19, Secretary Kerry issued the annual Trafficking in Persons report (TIP). The report identifies countries according to four different tiers. Tier 1 pertains to countries that meet the minimum standards of TVPA and who are actively fighting human trafficking. The U.S. was generously granted Tier 1 status. The United States government estimates that between 14,500 and 17,500 individuals are trafficked through our borders annually. However, it is also reported that since 2001 only 1,168 foreign nationals have been granted a T-visa, which indicates a failure by the U.S. to implement the TVPA effectively enough to protect all those who are trafficked into the country.
Tier 2 contains those countries that do not meet the standards but are making significant efforts to do so. In addition to Tier 2, there is Tier 2 Watch List, which includes countries that have major trafficking problems, and/or a slippage in their most recent efforts. India and Cambodia, where Nomi Network operates, were both ranked on the Tier 2 Watch List and are in need of your continued support.
At times the world’s woes and collective crimes against humanity can seem daunting – a place where change takes too long or can’t happen to the scale of which it is needed. The reauthorization of the Trafficking Victim Protection Act is one step toward the world we want.
You can also take part in the change and accept responsibility to help make a difference: 1) sign up for our newsletter 2) join the Lets End Trafficking Together Campaign 3) purchase a product – we’ve got campaign t-shirts and slogan totes – perfect for the summer! 4) nominate an Artist Abolitionist!
- Bethany Hennigh, Nick Lauda & Alissa Moore