Washington, DC –The House today voted 405-2 for bipartisan legislation by Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, that will extend protections worldwide against human trafficking.
“I am proud to take the lead in defeating the scourge of modern-day slavery,” Lantos said as his bill, which the committee approved unanimously last month, passed the full House of Representatives. “This legislation addresses the fundamental right of every human being to live in freedom and safety.”
The William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (H.R. 3887) reauthorizes programs established by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 to protect victims and to prosecute perpetrators. Englishman William Wilberforce was a Member of Parliament and social reformer who led a decades-long effort to abolish slavery in the British Empire. The legislation that bears his name establishes new programs to combat trafficking at its source, requires foreign labor recruiters to provide better information to persons they recruit to come to the United States and subjects them to penalties if they fail to do so, and offers additional protections to victims in the United States.
The legislation requires a comprehensive analysis of trafficking data to yield new information about where victims are going and how to free them. It also provides help for countries to inspect locations where forced labor occurs, to register vulnerable populations and to give foreign workers more protection. It ensures that U.S. assistance programs are both transparent and effective, and it urges the Administration to work with other countries to reach agreements between labor exporters and labor importers so that vulnerable workers have more, rather than less protection.