WASHINGTON D.C.- In honor of Juneteenth, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), an internationally recognized leader in the fight to combat human trafficking, joined trafficking survivors and top anti-trafficking organizations at a press conference on Capitol Hill urging members of Congress to take immediate action and advance the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act of 2022 (H.R.6552) to the House floor for a vote. The bill would reauthorize the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000.
Though America celebrates Juneteenth as the day all slaves were officially free, the anti-trafficking field and legislators continue to fight for freedom. Historically, trafficking, which is considered modern day slavery, has disproportionately impacted black and brown communities. According to Snapshot on the State of Black Women and Girls: Sex Trafficking in the U.S, “57.5% of all juvenile prostitution arrests are black children and 40% of sex trafficking victims identified as black women.”
Dr. Marlene Carson, trafficking survivor and founder of Black Leaders Against Sex Trafficking, said “The lack of resources that survivors of color have access to is a disgrace to our country. Until Congress works together to truly support and pass the TVPRA we will remain, free-ISH.”
“The reauthorization of this Act moves to not only support those who have already fallen victim, but also to prevent future risks of trafficking by adding preventative measures to online grooming and trafficking and bringing perpetrators to justice,” said Representative Bass. “It is our duty to protect these vulnerable populations and to stop this crime when and where it is discovered.”
Winning unanimous support from the House Foreign Affairs Committee, H.R. 6552 would provide approximately $1 billion over five years to strengthen and expand education, restorative care, and other critical programs that protect victims, prosecute perpetrators, and prevent trafficking.
“Human Trafficking is the most heinous form of exploitation,” said Douglass Leadership Institute Chairman, Dean Nelson. “This crime disproportionately impacts the African-American community where over half the victims of the domestic sex trade are our black women and children. It is time for Congress to work together to reauthorize vital resources for getting our families off the slave block to surviving and thriving.”
“Every day that Congress fails to reauthorize the TVPA, hundreds more women, men, and children fall victim to human trafficking…we must link arm in arm to see real human-based solutions that address the root of the problem,” said Brittany Dunn, Safe House Project COO. “If Congress fails to act, we are allowing this victimization of marginalized communities to go unseen and without response.”
About Safe House Project
Safe House Project (501c3) is a nonprofit combatting domestic sex trafficking by increasing victim identification of trafficked individuals through survivor-informed training, supporting victims in their escape, and increasing the number of restorative care opportunities for child trafficking victims. To learn more about Safe House Project visit www.safehouseproject.org.