The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) sent a letter, signed by Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin, to congressional leaders today urging them to pass the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) by the end of the year in order to adequately fund programs to combat human trafficking and modern-day slavery. Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal industries in the world, generating over $32 billion in profits to traffickers annually, according to some estimates.
In December 2008, Congress reauthorized the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), and it has been renewed three times since, but it needs to be reauthorized by the end of this year or it will expire. The NAAG letter, signed by 46 state and territorial attorneys general, offers specific funding recommendations for programs within the U.S. Dept. of Justice, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, and U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security to curtail the human trafficking industry and provide the resources necessary to rehabilitate survivors, both U.S. citizens and foreign nationals.
"We understand the tremendous fiscal challenges the nation faces. However, during this time, we cannot lose sight of the needless human tragedies that are occurring within and beyond our borders," reads the NAAG letter.
"Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery, where victims often experience the inability to extricate themselves from the situation," said Attorney General Kilmartin, who co-sponsored the Rhode Island's human trafficking statute in 2007 when he served as a member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives. "It happens every day in our communities across America to young people, particularly young women, who are lured from their normal lives and made into sex slaves by predators. Human trafficking strips victims of their freedom and dignity."
NAAG has made anti-human trafficking efforts one of its major initiatives starting with a 2011-2012 Pillars of Hope presidential initiative and continuing with a NAAG Human Trafficking Committee.