Six days ago in Atlanta, GA, detectives rescued two teenage girls trapped in the nightmare of modern slavery. They had suffered physical abuse, were raped, starved and forced to have sex with strangers while drugged.
Runaway girls forced to sell themselves for sex. Maids locked in the homes of strangers. Farmworkers living in isolated labour camps, forced to work and unable to get away. Thousands of people are living in slavery here in America.
As you know, for the past 12 years, there’s been a growing movement against modern slavery. Survivors have rebuilt their lives through recovery programs. A national hotline has provided tipoffs to free victims and prosecute people who traffic in human beings. These initiatives serve as a literal lifeline for victims of slavery – and now they are at risk.
The last Congress failed to renew the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) – the law critical to America’s efforts to fight modern slavery. But, the US Senate is soon expected to give TVPA another chance, correcting the last Congress’ terrible oversight in not passing legislation to combat slavery in America.
We don’t have much time. Your Senators need to hear from you – slavery still exists in America, and we cannot put critical anti-trafficking initiatives at risk.
- U.S. Senate
Over the past 12 years, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act has greatly increased America’s efforts to protect victims, prosecute traffickers and set important funding benchmarks. Even though the TVPA has been reauthorized 3 times by bipartisan majorities, I was shocked to learn that it was allowed to expire in September of 2011. I urge you to make this bill a priority in 2013 by passing Senator Leahy's amendment #21 to S.47 -- the Violence Against Women Act.
Human trafficking is recognized as one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises in the world. It is of the utmost importance that this bill gets passed to authorize funding for vital services for trafficking survivors and fill critical gaps by building on the impact of the original law.
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