On September 3rd, 2021, the “Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act” (H.R.5150) was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. This legislation most notably reauthorizes the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), which provides critical tools needed to combat human trafficking in the U.S. and abroad. Without Congressional action, the TVPA is set to expire in September, 2021. H.R.5150 also addresses several other issues related to human trafficking, including: implementing prevention education training requirements throughout Federal agencies, encouraging all states and territories to eliminate the requirement for third-party control, and expending legal protections for convicted survivors.
Shared Hope International supports this bill because it is trauma-informed, survivor-centered, and proactive. It is bipartisan legislation with broad support from at least 17 different national and state-based organizations. The passage of this legislation would have a direct impact on victims and survivors, whose needs would be addressed through the allocation of necessary funding and the implementation of training and educational programs in schools and healthcare settings. Overall, this bill ensures the continuation of existing programs, while also increasing transparency and awareness for human trafficking in the U.S. and abroad, and preventing harm to future victims.
Key Problems Addressed in This Bill
- Lack of Victim Identification and Reporting: Understanding the dynamics of human trafficking is required for affected communities and non-profits to properly identify and address the needs of survivors;
- Insufficient Prevention Education and Training Programs: Public and private sector entities can better prevent the exploitation of future victims and prevent re-exploitation of survivors through preventative training programs for various stakeholders and needed services for survivors and those at risk of exploitation;
- Lack of long-term solutions for survivors: Human trafficking is a complex issue that requires long-term solutions to truly address the needs of survivors, including addressing the financial impacts of victimization and promoting survivors’ access to justice.
The “Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act of 2021” (H.R.5150) accomplishes these goals by:
- Reauthorizing and extending funding for several critical acts, including the “Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000” (TVPA). This would ensure critical programs supporting enforcement of trafficking laws and protections for survivors are funded until September 26th, 2026.
- Awarding ‘Human Trafficking Education Grants’, with priority given to local education agencies serving in high intensity trafficking areas and partnering with non-profit organizations specializing in human trafficking prevention education. Additional criteria for selecting includes the ability for engage local partners, provide “culturally responsive, age-appropriate, and trauma informed” training, and create scalable, repeatable programs using “proven and tested best practices.”
- Encouraging the adoption of prevention education training requirements in elementary and secondary schools, amongst healthcare professionals and social service providers, and within federal government agencies.
- Providing legal protections for victims of exploitation by preventing civil retaliation against those who bring a civil case against a perpetrator.
- Setting exceptions for youthful victim offenders to the minimum sentences for violations of the forced labor statute, with extra consideration taken for the effect of trauma on the victim-offender’s conduct.
- Implementing Anti-Trafficking policies throughout Federal Agencies and the Executive branch, including labor and sex trafficking prevention and identification training.
- Encouraging all states and territories to “eliminate the requirement for third-party control to properly qualify a child as a victim of sex trafficking, to aid in the identification and prevention of child sex trafficking, protect children, and appropriately prosecute perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law” and provides and updated definition of a child sex trafficking victim.
- Amends the language in the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act and the Social Security Act to include labor trafficking victims in addition to sex trafficking victims and promote the needs of child victims.
Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Karen Bass (D-CA).
Learn More and Take Action:
- Use this campaign to contact your members of Congress and ask them to support this critical legislation.
- Visit https://sharedhope.org/what-we-do/bring-justice/ to access Shared Hope’s research and advocacy resources.
- For technical assistance, contact Shared Hope at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Text of H.B. 5150, https://www.congress.gov/117/bills/hr5150/BILLS-117hr5150ih.pdf
- Marking the anniversary of Frederick Douglass’ self-emancipation from slavery, Smith, Bass joined by descendent of Frederick Douglass to introduce anti-trafficking reauthorization bill named after the renowned abolitionist, (Sept. 3, 2021) https://chrissmith.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=409642.
- International and Domestic Law, U.S. Dept. of State, https://www.state.gov/international-and-domestic-law/.
- Congress Introduces Legislation Named After Abolitionist Frederick Douglass to Combat Modern Day Human Trafficking, (Sept. 7, 2021) https://www.essence.com/news/legislation-named-after-frederick-douglass/.
- Current Draft of H.R. 5150 (accessed Sept. 7, 2021), https://chrissmith.house.gov/uploadedfiles/smith-bass_fdtvpra_2021.pdf.