Advocacy makes a difference in the lives of people who are in desperate situations, but have no voice to speak out for change. Thank you for partnering with us to promote justice for the poor.
With your help, World Vision advocated for the passage of the bills listed below.
The Trafficking Victims Protection Act
On March 7, 2013, President Obama signed the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2013 into law.
The Trafficking Victims Protection Act is the cornerstone of U.S. policies to fight modern-day slavery. It is the largest piece of human rights legislation ever to pass the U.S. Congress and it comprehensively addresses the domestic and international dimensions of human trafficking, positioning the U.S. as a global leader in the fight against modern-day slavery.
The law must be updated every few years. In 2011, the reauthorization stalled because of partisan politicking and inaction in Congress.
For more than two years, World Vision advocates and others called, wrote letters and met with their members of Congress to ensure that critical anti-trafficking programs and funding were protected. In early 2013, Congress finally took up the reauthorization bill as part of the Violence Against Women Act, and passed the TVPRA.
In the 2013 reauthorization, Congress added several important improvements, including the incorporation of the Child Protection Compact Act (CPCA). The CPCA will help eradicate the exploitation of children for slave labor or commercial sex in developing countries by offering additional resources and training for law enforcement, protection of survivors, and deterrence through apprehension and prosecution of traffickers. The addition of the CPCA provisions is a direct result of citizen advocacy dating back to 2010.
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The Child Soldier Prevention Act
Years of persistent advocacy paid off as Congress passed and President Bush signed into law the Child Soldier Prevention Act on Dec. 23, 2008. Some 12,000 citizen advocates contributed to this success by contacting their members of Congress to express support for this bill. World Vision was a leader in initiating, drafting, and gaining passage of this law.
The law ensures that U.S. taxpayer money will never fund the use of child soldiers abroad.
Here is why this bill is so critical: Some 250,000 children are fighting in about 20 conflicts around the world today. In most cases, it is rebel or guerilla groups that abduct or coerce these children into conflict. However, the national governments in eight countries also use children as soldiers in war. The U.S. government currently provides military assistance to six of eight of these governments. This military assistance is highly coveted.
This new law will restrict all forms of U.S. military assistance to these governments — and any governments in the future — that use child soldiers. To receive any funding, the children must be removed from conflict and demobilized, and the government policies must change. These restrictions will compel culpable governments to stop using children in conflict, thereby saving the lives and childhoods of countless children.
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The Northern Uganda Crisis Response Act
For more than 17 years, the rebel group "the Lord's Resistance Army" (LRA) has been battling the Government of Uganda (GOU) for political power; the war has created a humanitarian disaster that has left generations of children in crisis.
The Northern Uganda Crisis Response Act was signed into law on August 2, 2004. World Vision supporters contributed to the passage of this bill
by voicing their concern for the people of Uganda. The Northern Uganda Crisis Response Act:
- Supports a peaceful resolution to the conflict;
- Calls upon the U.S. to work with the Ugandan government and the international community to provide humanitarian aid and development assistance;
- Calls for increased protection of displaced civilians, particularly women and children.
"This is an important step in recognizing the tragedy taking place in northern Uganda and calling for the action that is necessary to achieve peace," states Rory Anderson, World Vision’s Africa policy advisor, who was actively engaged in advocating for the passage of the bill.
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The U.S. Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Act
Signed by President Bush on May 27, 2003 the Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief approves $15 billion for AIDS prevention, treatment and care. World Vision President Richard E. Stearns expressed hope that the new law will serve as a catalyst for other world leaders to designate more funds for similar efforts as well.
Programs funded by the legislation could prolong the lives of 2 million people infected with AIDS, as well as prevent 7 million additional infections
and care for children orphaned and made vulnerable by the disease.
This is a tremendous victory in the battle against the AIDS pandemic; however, the money still must be appropriated,
so we still encourage you to continue speak out on this very important issue.
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The Clean Diamond Trade Act
Legislation to prohibit the import of so-called "conflict diamonds"
— gems mined in African nations that help to fund human rights abuses — passed the Congress on April 10, 2003.
The Clean Diamonds Trade Act culminates a three- year effort by the Campaign to Eliminate Conflict Diamonds, a coalition of more than 150 human rights, humanitarian and faith-based organizations and a bi-partisan alliance of members of Congress.
The bill, also endorsed by the diamond industry, is designed to choke off a key funding source for rebel groups
in Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola and other nations. The illegal mining and selling of diamonds also has been associated in published reports with the al Queda terrorist network.
The legislation will enforce an international system known as the Kimberley Process Certification System, which will ensure that diamonds entering the United States are legally mined and traded.
Among the bill's provisions:
- Oversight and monitoring of the industry certification process: There will be government oversight and annual audits of the diamond industry's chain of warranties for "clean diamonds."
- Mandated US government coordination: Key administration agencies, including the State Department, the Treasury Dept., US Trade Representative's office, and the Departments of Commerce and Homeland Security, are responsible to ensure full coordination and compliance with the Kimberley Process.
- Comprehensive monitoring and reporting: Annual and semi-annual reports, as well as a General Accounting Office report will provide monitoring on problems with the Kimberley Process and will also include information on countries not participating in the Kimberley Process and yet still attempting to export diamonds to the U.S. Monitoring will also be done on countries attempting to circumvent the certification process through the polishing of rough diamonds.
Countless thanks to World Vision Policy Advisor Rory Anderson, for her tireless effort over the last three years, which helped to make the passage of this bill a reality.
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The PROTECT Act
On April 10, 2003, Congress passed the PROTECT Act (
Prosecuting Remedies and Tools Against the Exploitation of Children Today Act of 2003). This legislation provides a number of new measures that will help protect children from sexual exploitation.
Endorsed by World Vision, the PROTECT Act
establishes the national "Amber Alert" network and "Code Adam" systems to recover abducted children, stronger laws to combat child pornography and exploitation, increased penalties for sex offenses against children (including life imprisonment for repeat offenders) and important enhancements to current "sex tourism" laws.
Of particular interest are the enhancements to U.S. sex tourism laws
that impact many of the children World Vision serves in developing countries. World Vision has advocated for these changes to current U.S. law in order to better protect children abroad from American pedophiles
that travel to poor countries to engage in sex with minors. The PROTECT Act
strengthens existing U.S. law by increasing imprisonment penalties to 30 years for convicted sex tourists, criminalizing persons or organizations that assist or organize sex tours, and better enabling federal prosecutors to convict offenders by modifying burden of proof requirements. In addition, the new law establishes parallel penalty enhancements that apply to the production of child pornography overseas.
"We applaud Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) for their outstanding leadership in creating this new law," said Mettimano. "The sexual exploitation of children is an abomination and should not be tolerated anywhere. The United States has a duty to convict and punish any U.S. citizen that travels abroad to sexually abuse children."
This year, World Vision is launching a sex tourism prevention program
in the United States. This project will utilize the media, Internet and partnerships with the U.S. travel and tourism industry to deter U.S. citizens from sexually exploiting children overseas, and in the United States. This new law will provide a stronger foundation for succeeding in this work.
Each year millions of children are sexually exploited through pornography and prostitution in countries such as Cambodia, Costa Rica, Thailand, India and the United States. Organized "sex tours" for Americans and others traveling abroad exacerbates this problem. A survey conducted in December 2001 by World Vision and the Cambodian Government indicates that Western pedophiles accounted for about 38 percent of all child sex offenders in three principle destinations for tourists in Cambodia. ECPAT (End Child Prostitution, Pornography and Trafficking of Children) estimates that 25 percent of sex tourists worldwide are U.S. citizens.
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The Sudan Peace ActPresident Bush signed the Sudan Peace Act
into law on October 21, 2002. The House approved the bill with only eight dissenting votes on October 7, and the Sen- ate unanimously approved it October 9.
For more than 20 years, Sudan has been embroiled in a civil war between the Islamic Sudanese government based in Khartoum and rebels from the mostly Christian and animist southern regions. The new legislation provides aid to Sudanese citizens, requires the United States to monitor peace negotiations and allows for sanctions if Khartoum interferes with humanitarian efforts.
Serge Duss, World Vision's director of Public Policy and Advocacy, said he is confident the act will make the country safer for aid workers helping those in need. "Lack of security has been the main hindrance to delivery of humanitarian assistance in Sudan," he said. "This legislation could turn things around for the better."
Private organizations supporting the Sudan Peace Act include the American Anti-slavery Group, American Jewish Committee, Freedom House's Center for Religious Freedom, Christian Solidarity International, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Servant's Heart and World Vision.
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