U.S. anti-trafficking policy draws praise

World Vision applauds the new USAID counter-trafficking policy and urges Congress to immediately pass legislation to continue the U.S. fight against modern-day slavery, such as child labor and sexual exploitation.

Edited by Shawna Templeton. Photo by Sopheak Kong.
Published February 28, 2012 at 12:00am PST

This week, The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) released its first Counter-Trafficking in Persons policy. 

New policy helps U.S. fight child slavery more effectively 

“This is a huge encouragement for us as an organization, and it presents a tremendous opportunity to speak out on behalf of the millions of people around the world ensnared in the vicious cycles of trafficking,” says Jesse Eaves, World Vision’s policy advisor for children in crisis.

The newly created policy follows several years of discussion between World Vision, the U.S. government, and other anti-trafficking organizations eager to establish a policy that enables the United States to pursue a more effective counter-trafficking approach. The new policy is based on best practices from the past decade.

Estimates vary, but there are anywhere from 12 million to 27 million people enslaved in the world today; in fact, there are more slaves today than during any other time in human history. Human trafficking grosses an estimated $32 billion per year through forced child labor, commercial sexual exploitation, and debt bondage, among other forms.

Congress still not acting on anti-trafficking legislation

While the new USAID policy is a great step forward on the international development front, its reach is limited. On the legislative side, Congress is making little progress toward reauthorizing U.S. anti-trafficking law. Eaves says this inaction will limit the potential of the new policy.

For more than a year, World Vision has advocated for passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVRPA). This law is the cornerstone of U.S. policies to fight modern-day slavery, and its previous version expired on September 30, 2011, because Congress did not vote to reauthorize the law in time. Because the law has not yet been reauthorized, U.S. anti-trafficking legislative efforts are essentially on hold.

“The State Department and USAID are showing how even limited funds can be used in a targeted way for the greatest impact around the world,” says Eaves. “Now, if only Congress would stop playing politics with slavery, we could see some real progress on this issue.”

World Vision urges Congress to pass the TVPRA, allowing U.S. diplomatic and development efforts to work hand-in-hand to fight the exploitation of children and adults around the world.

Three ways you can help

Thank God for the cooperation that resulted in a new policy to protect those vulnerable to enslavement. Please pray that Congress would pass the TVPRA so that the United States can continue to be the global leader in the fight against child slavery.

Contact your members of Congress to voice your support for the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act.

Make a one-time gift to help support girls and women in crisis. Your donation will help World Vision provide protection, counseling, education, vocational training, and more to girls and women who were formerly subjected to abuse or exploitation.