Van Nuys, CA – House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard L. Berman (D-CA) released the following statement about the signing into law today of his bipartisan legislation to help end the scourge of trafficking in persons worldwide:

“This law renews America’s commitment to combat modern-day slavery. With it, we will step up prosecution of fraudulent labor recruiters, promote multilateral solutions to human trafficking, help victims escape from the traffickers and providing new tools to law enforcement to smash trafficking rings. And for the first time, the law provides for sanctions against countries that use or tolerate child soldiers, a horrible human rights abuse. The disgrace of human trafficking is not limited by age, race, gender or nationality; this new law will move us several steps closer to ending the blight of slavery in our time.”

The William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (H.R. 7311) will strongly enhance U.S. leadership in preventing human trafficking, protecting its victims, and prosecuting traffickers world-wide. It reauthorizes existing U.S. programs to combat human trafficking and establishes new requirements and programs regarding trafficking into both sexual exploitation and forced labor. The bill establishes new programs to prevent trafficking from occurring in foreign countries where it begins, widens U.S. assistance programs and provides additional protections for survivors who are threatened by trafficking perpetrators, as well as for children who are at risk of being repatriated into the hands of traffickers or abusers. The House and Senate passed this legislation on December 10.