Shared Hope International is grateful to Congressmembers Smith and Bass for introducing the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act of 2021, and for their longstanding commitment to combatting human trafficking and promoting trauma-informed responses to trafficking survivors. This critical legislation reflects that commitment by highlighting the importance of prevention through education, training and research as well as appropriate accountability for offenders, while also advancing trauma-informed approaches that better meet the needs of trafficking survivors. Additionally, by furthering efforts to reduce vulnerabilities to trafficking and build resiliency factors by improving access to mental health services and housing, this legislation takes important steps toward preventing survivors from returning to exploitative situations. And by encouraging consistent trafficking definitions at the state level to increase identification of child sex trafficking survivors and improve their access to resources, this legislation will also prevent child victims from falling through the cracks of systems designed to assist them.
As Shared Hope International has seen over the past 23 years, human trafficking is a complex problem that requires long-term solutions; by extending authorizations until 2026 to create greater continuity for human trafficking programs and enforcement efforts and by ensuring that trafficking survivors voices continue to be at the forefront through the Advisory Council on Human Trafficking, this legislation truly takes the long view. Shared Hope is pleased to support the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act of 2021 as it creates needed infrastructure for improving responses to trafficking survivors while advancing effective approaches to ultimately prevent the egregious harms that trafficking survivors should ideally never have to experience in the first place.