The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is urging Congress to pass the bills, the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (S.3949) and the Abolish Human Trafficking Act (S.3946). Pansy Watson, an attorney for NCOSE, spoke with AFN about the bills. The victims of human trafficking, she explains, will benefit from their passage.
"The main ways are going to be promoting services to trafficking victims," Watson notes. "In previous authorizations there have been grants extended to victims of trafficking. These grants have not only been renewed, but a pilot program is being created to target under-served communities that have higher rates of human trafficking."
The idea is to get these victims off the streets and into recovery, and ultimately back into society. It will also create more coordination of information between state and federal governments. But the bills will also target international trafficking.
Watson also points out another form of trafficking that gets little attention: labor.
"If somebody is coerced into some sort of debt bondage," Watson explains, "like [being] brought over to the States […] to work as a housekeeper and then have their papers taken away and [not be] paid adequately, that person is a trafficking victim. These laws serve to help protect this person."
That depends on whether these victims are in the U.S. legally or not.
NCOSE is urging people to contact their senators to support both bills.
"Sex trafficking survivors must have the full extent of the law available to them in order to seek and secure justice for injustices committed against them," stated NCOSE CEO Dawn Hawkins. "These bills will ensure survivors have access to necessary recovery services. They are designed to help stem sex trafficking and assist survivors, and we urge Congress to pass both of these critical measures."