Hunter College High School
Started 2 petitions
Crack Down on Money-Laundering to End Human Trafficking
Human trafficking is modern-day slavery. And while slavery is legal nowhere, it happens everywhere. In the United States alone, 14,500 to 17,500 foreign trafficking victims are trafficked across borders every year. Globally, there are over 40 million slaves today. 1 in every 200, a slave. Today, slavery often takes the form of forced prostitution, labor, and organ removal. Since the anti-trafficking movement’s push in 2001, the U.S. has adopted its position as a world leader in the fight against human trafficking. With its annual Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP), the U.S. government provides a moral and policy standard for countries across the globe to follow. The TIP is often hailed as trafficking’s biggest setback. Ever since its initiation in 2001, TIP has helped secure protection and prevention for millions of victims and would-be victims around the world and persecuted many traffickers. It encouraged the creation of prevention, protection, and persecution programs. In short, TIP was a great first step. More has to be done. Despite all the progress made by TIP, trafficking still ranks as the third largest organized crime in the world. Governing trafficking’s proliferation is money. At its core, trafficking is an extremely profitable industry whose business model thrives on the sale of human life. According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), trafficking accumulates over $32 billion annually. The real issue is that while many laws are passed that enable protection, prevention, and persecution programs, too few adequately address trafficking’s root problem: it’s lucrative. To stop human trafficking, we need to specifically target the ways in which traffickers earn and transfer money: money-laundering. As Mary Goudie of The Guardian writes, “Until the profits of this business are monitored and confiscated, no real progress can be made towards ending human trafficking. Ultimately, it's only by cutting off the money that we will stop it.” H.R.2219 - End Banking for Human Traffickers does just this by targeting the financial lifeline of traffickers. If this bill passes in the Senate and becomes law, the government will review and improve the procedures that institutions like banks have to take to catch and report any money-laundering or transactions related to human trafficking, to make sure that they're thorough and effective. Within 180 days, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Financial Institutions Examination Council, and the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (OTFI) will begin working together to check that public and private financial institutions' requirements are effective at detecting and deterring transactions linked to the trafficking industry. It also requires the government's own anti-trafficking agencies to report on their efforts to combat these kinds of transactions, with help from the OTFI. Within 270 days, the Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking will submit a report to the House on the progress made by this bill, as well as suggestions for any further action, based on investigations and input from anti-trafficking organizations and victims of trafficking. What’s more, it adds that the US won’t give or lend money to any foreign governments that aren’t doing enough to prevent and punish any transactions related to trafficking in their country. It strengthens the criteria of 22 USC 7106: “Minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking” by adding that all other countries must either have or be taking steps to make a framework for investigating, prosecuting, convicting, and sentencing people who attempt or conduct such transactions. The US won’t provide any non-humanitarian or non-trade related money to countries that fail to meet these standards for preventing human trafficking. Today is the age for fighting trafficking--the time for us to advance more legal action against traffickers. In the end, the more we push for laws aimed at cracking down on trafficking and its roots, the harder it will be for slavery to still exist. Sign today to support America’s legal efforts to end human trafficking!
Support H.R. 2200 Against Human Trafficking
Human trafficking is modern-day slavery. And while slavery is legal nowhere, it happens everywhere. In the United States alone, 14,500 to 17,500 foreign trafficking victims are trafficked across borders every year. Globally, there are over 40 million slaves today. 1 in every 200, a slave. Today, slavery often takes the form of forced prostitution, labor, and organ removal. In the past couple of decades, human trafficking has become increasingly deadly. With society’s increasing focus on human rights and equality, traffickers have banded together to create more organized, undetectable methods of terror, the trafficking industry now ranked as the most lucrative business of all criminal affairs. H.R. 2200: Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act of 2017 reauthorizes and updates the previous measures taken against modern slavery. Among the initiatives provided by its reauthorization are strengthened laws against trafficking, programs that provide support and care for victims, and protection services from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Below is a detailed summary of TVPA’s initiatives: Before 2000--and the signing of the first Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA)--the United States had no bill aimed at protecting trafficking victims and prosecuting traffickers. In beginning the fight against trafficking, the TVPA of 2000 enacted a three-step plan: 1) Prosecution--laws against trafficking with a detailed list of what constituted a trafficking crime. With such a definition, it promised that abusers were thrown behind bars; 2) Protection--helping victims rehabilitate to the United States by allowing them temporary citizenship (T-Visa), and by providing a process by which they could become permanent citizens, enter the Witness Protection Program, and receive care from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. As a first step towards victim rehabilitation, giving a path towards citizenship was especially critical since victims had previously been deported as aliens. 3) Prevention--raising awareness about trafficking. In 2003, the TVPA was reauthorized, and under it, trafficking was added as a crime that could be charged under the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) statute, a law that provides more extensive penalties for organized criminal acts. Following the law, the Bush administration forwarded $200 million to strengthen the programs that continued to fight trafficking. In 2008’s reauthorization, TVPA expanded to establish more programs to track down trafficking scheme, to require the government to include workers’ rights information to all seeking employment, include more benefits to the T-Visa, and screen all unaccompanied alien children coming into the States to ensure they are victims. The TVPA of 2013 strengthened programs to prevent child marriage and to prevent the U.S. from buying products made by slave-labor. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act has now expired, but we must renew it to ensure the protection of victims today, as well as the prevention and prosecution of trafficking. With its renewal, we allow those programs, instrumental to anti-trafficking efforts, to persist. Today is the age for fighting trafficking--the time in which we should all push for even more legal action against traffickers. In the end, the more we ostracize trafficking, the more we refuse to purchase from companies that use slave labor, the more we push for laws aimed at cracking down on trafficking, the harder it will be for slavery to still exist. Sign today to support America’s legal efforts to end human trafficking!