The U.S. Senate Passes the TVPRA!
At last! On February 12, the U.S. Senate finally passed the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. Originally made law in 2000, this Act has been the foundation for all U.S. anti-trafficking efforts at home and abroad, extending protections to millions affected by the global slave trade and empowering enforcers to prosecute traffickers and help prevent these crimes from occurring.
The TVPA requires reauthorization every few years and has passed unanimously three times previously, but fell victim to partisan politics and was allowed to expire in September of 2011. The 112th Congress ended in early January without passing the TVPRA, and it was disheartening to see our lawmakers fail to prioritize the needs of those in bondage and at risk of exploitation in our own country and around the world.
Leading the efforts to pass the TVPRA this year were Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), who introduced the Act as an amendment to the Violence Against Women Act, another important piece of legislation up for reauthorization this year.
The bill must now pass in the House of Representatives.
In the meantime, our friends at IJM, who have helped rally national support (including from many of you!) for the TVPRA for years, have written to encourage all of us to take a few minutes to follow up with our Senators*, thanking them for supporting the bill and expressing our disappointment to the handful who voted against it. How each Senator voted has been recorded below.
Thank you all for the significant ways—from joining our Stand 4 Freedom campaign to writing your representatives—that you help defend the oppressed and prevent injustice!
*Note: Senators’ contact information can be found online at Senate.gov
YEAs — 93
NAYs — 5
Not Voting — 2
Gillibrand (D-NY) McCain (R-AZ)