Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act Passes in the House
Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First today welcomed the House of Representative’s passage of key provisions included in the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA)of 2015 (S. 178), noting that these measures would enhance efforts to dismantle the criminal enterprise of human trafficking. The JVTA passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 420-3. The JVTA was passed in the Senate last month, and now awaits the president’s signature to become law.
“The passage of this bill is a positive step forward in ensuring perpetrators of human trafficking are held accountable. Currently modern slavery claims an estimated 20.9 million victims annually, and yet the Department of State 2014 Trafficking in Persons Report records only 5,776 trafficking convictions globally. Increasing the risk for traffickers is an essential element towards stemming the expansion of human trafficking, the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world,” said Human Rights First’s Annick Febrey. “We urge Congress to continue to advance legislation to disrupt the business of modern slavery.”
The JVTA includes important provisions that will enhance the capacity of the U.S. government to tackle human trafficking and will further empower survivors in the context of criminal proceedings, especially in the area of restitution. The bill codifies important provisions related to training for law enforcement personnel on the identification and investigation of human trafficking. The JTVA will also improve law enforcement reporting on the incidence of trafficking across the United States—an essential step for determining the scope of this crime and for designing effective policies to tackle it.
As 2015 marks the 150th anniversary of passage of the 13th amendment to the Constitution abolishing slavery in the United States, Human Rights First has joined together with prominent leaders from the business and financial sectors, law enforcement, the military, federal, state and local government, and civil rights community to urge the U.S. government to develop common sense policies to disrupt the business of human trafficking.