January 13, 2012

Legislation Update! My Interview with Sr. SPAC Delegate, Polly Neumann

By Michelle Hostrup, Social Media Assistant Chair, Communications Team

At the last Board Meeting of 2011, Polly Neumann, Sr. SPAC Delegate, presented two federal bills regarding Human Trafficking. Our League usually supports California state bills, but both Polly and Cat Carlton, SPAC California Chair, felt that these two federal bills regarding Human Trafficking were important enough to gain the support of our Board and League.

I reached out to Polly this past weekend to learn more about the two bills. In honor of President Obama declaring January to be National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, I wanted to share with you what I learned from Polly and the outcome of her presentation to the Board.

These bills will help authorities and non-profit groups fight human trafficking internationally and in our own back yard:

1) H.R. 2982 Human Trafficking Reporting Act 

This federal bill would move Human Trafficking (HT) to a Part 1 crime in relation to the Unified Crime Reporting Program that the FBI runs.

Part 1 Crimes: The FBI requires law enforcement to report these to the UCR Program (e.g. murder)
Part 2 Crimes: The FBI requests law enforcement to report these crimes, but it is not a requirement (e.g. hate crimes)

The passing of this bill would make reporting of HT crimes mandatory for law enforcement groups (as long as they want federal funding).
2) H.R. 2830 TVPA Trafficking Victims Protection Act 

The original Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000 was and still is the largest piece of human rights legislation in U.S. history, creating the first comprehensive federal law to address human trafficking both domestically and internationally.

The methods of traffickers are constantly evolving, so the TVPA must be updated and renewed every few years. The TVPA was reauthorized through the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) of 2003, 2005 and 2008. The new TVPRA bill will be voted upon in 2012. Details on the bill’s reauthorization can be found here.

Domestic provisions within the TVPA: 
The TVPA of 2000 follows a three-pronged approach to prevent vulnerability, protect survivors, and prosecute human traffickers. 

Under prevention, it creates an office to monitor and combat trafficking in persons within the state department, enabling the President to impose sanctions on countries that fail to meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; it also creates public awareness programs and partnerships to prevent goods made by slave labor from entering the country. 

Under protection, it expands the types of technical assistance that can be provided to foreign countries, including police training; it requires the Department of Labor to provide a list of goods that may have been made with forced labor; and it provides the T Visa for foreign victims of trafficking in the U.S. 

Under prosecution, it makes human trafficking (and related activities) a federal crime with severe penalties and mandates that restitution be paid to victims. 

International provisions within the TVPA:
Internationally, the TVPRA requires the U.S. government to terminate contracts with overseas contractors who engage in sex trafficking or forced labor; addresses sex tourism with prevention programs; expands federal criminal jurisdiction to trafficking offenses committed abroad, meaning the alleged offender can be tried in the U.S. whether or not the crime was committed in the U.S.; requires the U.S. to cut military aid to countries using children in their national armies/militias; and requires that countries ranked on the Tier II Watch List for more than two years receive the same sanctions as countries ranked on the Tier III Watch List. 


After speaking with Polly and understanding the two bills related to Human Trafficking, I could understand why she sought the support of our League. Our League has demonstrated in the past that we can make a difference in our community and world. I was delighted to learn (and not surprised at all) that our JLPA-MP Board voted to support both of these bills!

Child/Human Trafficking is one of the fastest growing crimes in the world, and the world’s second largest criminal enterprise, after drugs. About 2.8 million children run away each year in the US, and, within 48 hours of hitting the streets, one-third of these children are lured into the underground world of prostitution and pornography. Over 70% of all child and human trafficking in California occurs in the Bay Area. 

No comments:

Post a Comment