Given our own nation’s history, fighting modern slavery is an issue that resonates deeply with Americans, and it has been a rare point of bipartisan cooperation in Washington. This Congress, however, has thus far failed to pass a critical piece of anti-trafficking legislation: The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA). This bill renews the landmark Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, which made human trafficking a federal crime and established the State Department Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons to combat trafficking internationally and monitor progress through the annual TIP Report.
The Senate version of the TVPRA was introduced a year ago this month, and has garnered the support of 45 Senate co-sponsors. Although the bill cuts spending and passed out of committee in the fall, it has yet to be voted on by the full Senate, and has likewise stalled out in the House. The stalemate has bewildered activists and veteran lobbyists alike; as a New York Times editorial stated, “[p]assing a law to fight human trafficking and slavery is one of those bipartisan no-brainers that Congress used to be able to accomplish…”