It would be difficult to name anyone more qualified to receive Shared Hope’s Lifetime Pathbreaker Award than U.S. Representative Chris Smith (NJ), a man with a long and consistent history of advocating for the vulnerable around the world.
Serving since 1980, Congressman Smith was a lone voice breaking the silence on the topic of human trafficking at a time when most people had no idea the atrocity was occurring. He was the author and primary sponsor of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA), which first clearly defined domestic trafficking, and has been steadfast in promoting its reauthorization over multiple years since that original landmark legislation, working across the aisle to ensure protections for victims of human trafficking. In leading the reauthorization efforts this year, Congressman Smith worked diligently to not just pass the law, but improve it. Through his dedication to understanding all facets of trafficking, he is ensuring the TVPA remains responsive to the changing dynamics of trafficking.
Congressman Smith also championed the International Megan’s Law to further protect children from registered sex offenders traveling internationally. Since his election to Congress, he has cofounded and chaired a number of bipartisan congressional caucuses, including the Human Trafficking Caucus.
Congressman Smith joins Congressman Frank Wolf who was the first to be honored in 2014 as a Lifetime Pathbreaker for his long record as champion of human rights. In total, 20 people have received Shared Hope’s Pathbreaker Award, including Congressman Judge Ted Poe of Texas.
About the Award
In 2000, the U.S. Department of State enlisted Shared Hope International to host Pathbreaking Strategies conferences in six countries to energize the conversation about trafficking and share innovative approaches to combat the problem. During this process, we created the Pathbreaker Award to recognize the pioneering efforts of those who broke the trend of inaction and initiated proactive responses to prevent sex trafficking.