Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today introduced bipartisan legislation that 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.
“Human trafficking is often an issue that is right under our noses. The victims of these horrific crimes deserve support as they find their way back to living a normal life. This bill aides victims on their pursuit of justice, and opens more doors to educate law enforcement and high-risk youth on how to detect trafficking. In conjunction with other bills I’ve supported and sponsored, I intend to continue fighting against the horrendous work of traffickers and find justice for victims,” Grassley said.
“The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act is a landmark, bipartisan bill that was first passed more than 20 years ago to support survivors of human trafficking. I’m proud to again join Senator Grassley in introducing this bill to reauthorize and update this important law. This legislation will help ensure that necessary resources are available to law enforcement to prevent trafficking and prosecute perpetrators, while also providing survivors with the best possible support,” Feinstein said.
“We thank the bill’s sponsors for leading the effort to reauthorize the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. Covenant House has identified a direct correlation between youth homelessness and human trafficking. In this bill, the youth we serve will benefit from the dedicated housing grants to secure permanent housing and find employment, including “opportunity jobs” that are projected to grow post-COVID and pay a living wage. All of these wrap-around services are key to survivors finding safety and the space to heal,” Kevin Ryan, Covenant House International President said.
“Rights4Girls applauds the introduction of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2022, a bipartisan effort to extend vital resources to survivors of human trafficking while improving victim protection and identification. We are especially grateful to Senators Grassley and Feinstein for taking steps to ensure better collaboration between the child welfare and juvenile justice systems where we know so many child victims languish without support or services. We thank the bill sponsors for their efforts to reauthorize this critical legislation and for their unrelenting efforts to protect our most vulnerable youth from violence and exploitation,” Yasmin Vafa, Rights4Girls Executive Director said.
The legislation, Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2022 (TVPA), 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 is 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.
This legislation includes the Survivor’s Bill of Rights in the States Act which Grassley reintroduced in August 2021. The Survivor’s Bill of Rights in the States Act promotes justice for survivors by encouraging states to adopt the same protections for survivors of state sex crimes that exist at the federal level, because of separate legislation authored by Grassley.
The 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 modifies state plans for foster care and adoption assistance to assure each state maintains regular communication with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, to ensure the safe recovery of missing or abducted children.
In 2017, Grassley and Feinstein led the Senate’s effort to unanimously pass the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2017, renewing the existing programs that made federal resources available to human trafficking survivors.
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).