Washington—Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) released the following statements after the Senate last night passed their bipartisan bill to support victims of human trafficking. The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPA) will establish and reauthorize critical programs to prevent human trafficking, promote justice for survivors, provide services to victims and increase federal coordination to enhance the federal government’s response to the crisis of exploitation.
“I’m pleased the Senate has passed our legislation to reauthorize and update the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. For more than two decades, this landmark legislation has provided resources to law enforcement partners and nonprofits around the country to better prevent human trafficking and protect survivors. I thank Senator Grassley for his partnership in getting this reauthorization bill passed by the Senate and hope the House will similarly act to send this to the president’s desk this week,” Senator Feinstein said.
“I’m glad that our bipartisan legislation tackling the heinous crime of human trafficking passed the Senate. Human trafficking often occurs right under our noses. Our bill opens more doors to educate law enforcement and high-risk youth on how to detect trafficking, and it aids victims in their pursuit of justice. I hope my colleagues in the House will support our effort to fight against traffickers’ horrendous crimes and find justice for victims,” Senator Grassley said.
The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act extends and updates programs for domestic human trafficking survivors and establishes a wide range of measures to address human trafficking and the needs of victims.
Education and public information are a critical first line of defense against human trafficking. This bill improves training of federal law enforcement personnel by ensuring anti-trafficking information is provided to staff at federal departments and executive agencies. The bill also establishes a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study on accessibility of mental health care and substance use disorder treatment for survivors.
In order to better help victims of trafficking, the legislation takes a survivor-informed approach. It establishes a pilot program where underserved communities may apply for funding to develop and implement treatment models and support services to youth at high risk of being trafficked.
TVPA amends the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act by including the phrases “of victim of child abuse and neglect” and “of sexual abuse” if the child is identified as a victim of trafficking. TVPA encourages state plans to maintain regular communication with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to ensure the safe recovery of missing or abducted children.
This legislation is backed by the Covenant House, Rights4Girls, National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), National District Attorneys Association (NDAA), Shared Hope International and Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN).