WASHINGTON, D.C June 9, 2022-- A coalition of more than 300 anti-trafficking organizations, corporations, advocates, and survivor leaders organized by Safe House Project delivered a letter to members of the House and Senate today urging them to pass the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA). Co-sponsored by Representatives Smith (NJ) and Bass (CA), passage of this bill will authorize approximately $1 billion over five years to strengthen both the domestic and international response to the second largest criminal enterprise in the world – human trafficking.
This bill will reauthorize the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) - the landmark legislation first authored by Representative Chris Smith (NJ) in 2000. Smith says the new legislation is “both comprehensive and bipartisan. It also prioritizes prevention of child trafficking and empowerment of survivors in addition to reauthorizing and enhancing programs established by the historic Trafficking Victims Protection Act to combat modern-day slavery.”
Representative Bass says, “although global in reach, the new legislation highlights the gravity of trafficking in the United States, which is particularly acute for children and youth in the child welfare system. The new legislation works to correct misconceptions around sex trafficking by ensuring broader awareness through enhanced practices and trauma-informed approaches for authorities and educators, expanding key social infrastructure to support victims – especially housing because girls have a difficult time leaving their exploiters when they have no alternative living options - and providing quicker responses to protect the most vulnerable.
“The TVPA, which requires reauthorization every 5 years, expired September 30, 2021. The TVPRA coalition of anti-trafficking organizations and survivor leaders is urgently calling on Congress to pass this bill. It is essential to continue the work done around the world to prevent trafficking, protect victims, and prosecute traffickers,” said Kristi Wells, Chief Executive Officer of Safe House Project, the convening agency for the coalition. “There are hundreds of NGOs and state agencies combating this evil every day with the help of Government financial support. If that funding is not maintained, the critical work that is done to combat trafficking stands to become immobilized.”
Bill Woolf, former Director of Human Trafficking Programs for the U.S. Department of Justice noted, “This bill is critical in supporting U.S. efforts to combat human trafficking both domestically and abroad. The United States has been a true champion protecting the rights and freedoms of those targeted by traffickers. Passage of the Frederick Douglass Victims Prevention and Protection Act will ensure that survivors are afforded the restorative care that they deserve, while giving frontline professionals the tools they need to prevent human trafficking and prosecute offenders.”
The letter of support has been signed by national and local anti-trafficking organizations, state agencies, corporations, survivor leaders and political leaders, who understand the importance of this bill to continue necessary anti-trafficking initiatives. With $1 billion of federal funding over the next 5 years in jeopardy, the coalition seeks to see this bill passed to continue currently enacted programs at the Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of State to combat human trafficking and support victims.
Safe House Project is a national leader in the fight against domestic child sex trafficking. As registered 501(c)3, the organization focuses on increasing victim identification above one percent through survivor-informed training, supporting victims in their escape, and increasing the number of restorative care opportunities for child trafficking victims. Since 2018, the organization has provided training to more than 200k individuals, leading to marked increase in victim identification, provided escape and emergency services to more than 200 victims, and increased restorative care opportunities by funding 272 new beds across America. To learn more about Safe House Project visit www.safehouseproject.org.
Click below to read the aforementioned letters:
Survivor Leader Biographies
Barbara Amaya is an award-winning advocate, speaker, human trafficking consultant, trainer, and a survivor leader in the movement to end human trafficking and all violence against women. Barbara has dedicated her life to combating human trafficking and violence against women and children. She holds a background in education, a credential in early childhood development, and a PhD in psychology. Barbara has been actively raising awareness of the sexual exploitation of children and domestic sex trafficking since 2012.
CocoEva LuzGuerrero Alcazar
CocoEva Soleil LuzGuerrero Alcazar is an anti-human trafficking and equity advocate
research-consultant, educator as well as an interdisciplinary artist and activist. She is originally from La Paz, Bolivia and has served in various targeted communities through education, community organizing, campaign development, research, arts engagement, and policy development in Latin America and the United States, both in community and non-profit work as well as partnerships with governmental entities. Her art, music and writing have been exhibited and publicized in galleries in the United States and South America. She studies Political Science with a background in Community Advocacy and Social Policy and is pursuing a Master of Arts in Social Justice and Human Rights. She currently works consulting on issues of equity, research, and survivor leadership in various agencies such as Our Voice, CAST National Survivor Network, The North Carolina Coalition Against Human Trafficking, serves as an Appointee in the Department of Justice North Carolina Task Force on Racial Equity and Criminal Justice Victim Advisory Group and has worked with Anti-Trafficking International and Polaris Project.