Douglass Trafficking Bill Will Help Victims, Punish Traffickers

Apr 26th, 2017 | By | Category: Candidates, News Flashes, House of Representative

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Almost 200 years ago, Frederick Douglass began his astonishing life dedicated to educating others on the horrors of slavery. On Thursday, April 27, 2017, Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), Rep. Karen Bass (CA-37), Rep. Ann Wagner (MO-02) and Kenneth B. Morris, Jr., the great-great-great grandson of Frederick Douglass and the Co-Founder & President of the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives, will be holding a press conference to highlight the introduction of a new bill that aims to end modern slavery created through Human Trafficking. This bill bears the great American abolitionist’s name, the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Act.

This legislation will build on Smith’s landmark Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPRA), strengthening penalties against traffickers and reauthorizing $130 million in funding for the prevention of human trafficking, protection of victims and prosecution of traffickers.

“When I introduced the Trafficking Victims Protection Act in 1998, it was met with incredulity and indifference—we were told that we had a solution in search of a problem,” said Smith. “We were blocked at high levels of government. The wheels of justice turned slowly, but they have carried us to a place in the United States, and internationally, where the fight against human trafficking cuts across political parties and borders, national and international institutions. Victims are being rescued and rehabilitated. Traffickers are being imprisoned in record numbers. Those alongside us will soon outnumber those fighting against us.”   

“As we continue to tackle the growing epidemic of child sex trafficking in the United States, it is important to focus on the special housing needs of young girls in the foster care system,” said Bass. “The majority of underage trafficking victims are girls in foster care, where the average age of a girl entering into sex trafficking is twelve years old. One of the major reasons girls cannot escape is because they do not have housing. The government has failed them by allowing them to fall through the cracks. Young girls and disconnected youth have unique needs as trafficking victims. It is our responsibility to eliminate barriers to safety and to prevent further victimization and exploitation of young girls under the care and protection of the government. This bill is a good step forward in raising awareness of the collective and coordinated efforts required at every level of government to stop and prevent child sex trafficking.”

“I am delighted to be an original cosponsor of the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act,” said Wagner. “The TVPA makes momentous steps toward combatting trafficking at home and abroad, and it reiterates congressional expectations that the Department of Justice prosecute buyers of trafficking victims. These horrific crimes happen because predators are able to purchase innocent women and children in a supply-and-demand market. Prosecuting these buyers and undercutting demand are imperative to putting an end to this form of modern-day slavery and should be one of the top priorities of Federal law enforcement.”


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