There is terrific news to report today.
The House vote was 286 in favor to 138 opposed, showing strong bipartisan support for keeping the federal government’s anti-slavery efforts on track.
The Senate passed the bill earlier this month. It now goes to President Obama, who has indicated he will sign it.
“We strongly applaud the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act by the House and Senate,” says Free the Slaves Executive Director Maurice I. Middleberg. “This legislation is the cornerstone of the American effort to combat the horrors of human slavery and trafficking.”
“This action by the Congress and the president’s signature will send a strong message to people in slavery that help is on the way. It restores America’s reputation as a world leader in combating human trafficking at home and abroad,” Middleberg says.
The TVPA was first passed in 2000 to authorize a wide range of federal action to combat slavery at home and abroad — from prosecuting traffickers, to providing shelter for slavery survivors, to preventing vulnerable people from enslavement in the first place. It must be reauthorized every few years.
The bill had lapsed during the 112th Congress, which adjourned in January. Winning reauthorization for the law in the current 113th Congress has been a top priority for Free the Slaves and other organizations that are members of the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking (ATEST).
Advocacy efforts behind the scenes by ATEST and its member organizations — and an overwhelming display of grassroots support for the TVPRA from people who contacted their congressional representatives this month — were critical.
Members of Congress responded. They attached the TVPRA to VAWA, and then shepherded the combined bill to final approval. Combining the two made sense — many of the factors that spark violence against women also lead to trafficking and modern-day slavery.
“This is an important step toward freedom for the millions of women, men and children around the globe who are trafficked into forced labor and sex slavery each year,” says David Abramowitz, director of ATEST and vice president for policy & government relations, Humanity United.
Thanks to all who took a stand by taking action!
Momentum is building to win House approval for reauthorization of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. Our Capitol Hill advocates expect that today will be critical.
They need your help. The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) has been combined with the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The combined law has already been passed by the Senate, and President Obama has indicated he will sign it.
The last step is the House. There is a “substitute amendment” that will come up for a vote first. The anti-slavery movement wants the House to vote NO.
Then, the Senate-passed version of the combined bill will come to a vote. The anti-slavery movement wants the House to vote YES.
If you haven’t reached out to your House of Representatives member, there is still time to do so this morning. Call, e-mail, Tweet or Facebook them now! Calling is best, and here’s what to say:
Hello. My name is ________. I am a constituent from __________.
I am calling to urge Representative _______________ to vote NO on the Substitute Amendment to S. 47, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act and YES on the final passage of S. 47.
The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) expired in September 2011 and unless it is renewed, critical federal programs and the victims they support will be at risk. The S. 47 Substitute Amendment does not include the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA), which was included in S. 47 as passed by the Senate.
Reauthorization of the TVPA must be a national priority. Therefore, I am asking Representative ________ to vote NO on the Substitute Amendment to S.47 and YES on the final passage of S.47.
You can find the contact information for your House member on the upper right corner of the House of Representatives website.
We need your immediate help to bring a major, three-year anti-trafficking action to a successful close – today!
Please call, text, tweet, Facebook or e-mail your representative in the U.S. House.
Ask them to vote NO on any proposed floor amendments to bill S.47 — the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)– that don’t include the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA). Then also ask that they vote YES on the Senate-passed version of S. 47, which also includes renewal of Trafficking Victims Protection Act.
It’s a simple message. The Senate has combined the anti-trafficking act and the violence against women act. We need the House to keep the combination intact, and pass the combined bill.
The Trafficking Victims Protection Act has strong bi-partisan support. It is the U.S. government’s main framework for combating human trafficking at home and abroad. Congress allowed the act to expire at the end of the last session — the first time that has happened since the law was initially passed in 2000.
Your representative must hear from you. Find your representative simply by typing your zip code into the top right corner of the House of Representatives webpage.
Remember the message: Vote NO on any substitute amendments to VAWA (S.47) that don’t include the anti-trafficking legislation. Vote YES on the Senate-passed version of VAWA (S.47), which includes the TVPA.
With quick action on February 12th, you took action to help the TVPA pass the Senate. Now let’s get the job done! Get this vital legislation passed by the House and onto the President’s desk for signing.
This week’s national call-in day to the U.S. Senate was a resounding success. Participation by anti-slavery supporters was so great that it’s taken a few days to add it all up.
Here’s the bottom line: THOUSANDS of people contacted their U.S. senators and asked them to support the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA).
Abolitionists from 48 states reached out to let their elected officials know that fighting slavery is important. The only states not represented in this grassroots groundswell were North Dakota and Wyoming.
It’s not too late. If you live in North Dakota or Wyoming, or you know someone who does, get on the phone. Let’s make this a 50-state unanamous declaration of support!
Actually, no matter where you live, it’s never too late to take part in the democratic process. You can keep the momentum alive by reaching out to your U.S. Senators. When thousands of voters contact the U.S. Capitol, it gets the system moving.
What sparked the call-in campaign is the fact that the TVPRA is bottled up in gridlock. This is the single most important anti-trafficking law in the U.S. It authorizes rescues, support for slavery survivors and prosecution of traffickers. It originally passed 12 years ago, but it must be renewed periodically. The law enjoys bipartisan support, but with the election year crush, the current renewal is stuck.
At least it was stuck until the entire anti-slavery movement lit up the phone lines in Washington this week! Again, thanks for your help if you were able to call your senators. If you didn’t have an opportunity, please take 10 minutes to reach out as soon as you can. Here’s the special website with Senate contact information and talking points for your call:
We’ll keep you up to date on what happens to the bill.
National Call-In Day September 4th
Let your Senators know you want them to fight slavery!
Today is the day to take action, to let Washington know that fighting slavery is something you care deeply about, to let your Senators know that you want them to pass the single most important piece of anti-trafficking legislation in America, and to do it before they adjourn for the election.
Slavery is not a partisan issue, but the law to fight it has been bottled up by gridlock. We have to get the U.S. Senate’s attention. Today.
Please take 10 minutes to contact your U.S. senators. Ask them to support the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, known as TVPRA or S 1301.
Visit this website for your senators’ contact info, and for talking points for when you call:
This landmark law was originally passed in 2000 but must be renewed every three years. It has already expired, and there’s a chance the current Congress will be the first in history to adjourn without renewing America’s signature anti-trafficking measure. The TVPRA authorizes raids on brothels and sweatshops, freeing slaves and prosecuting traffickers. It enables rescue shelters and rehabilitation programs to operate, inside the U.S. and overseas. It helps FTS programs in India and Haiti.
Fighting slavery has always been a bipartisan effort, and this year is no different. But we must let senators know that it’s a priority for voters. The TVPRA ensures the U.S. remains a global leader in helping slaves break free and stay free.
It’s up to each and every one of us to make this happen by contacting our Senators today. Action creates momentum.