TVPRA 101: What is it and Why is it Important?

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Its the talk of the town. Cry of the herald. Its the buzzword and in-thing to talk about right now. Okay, maybe not for the average American. But hey, its a big deal in the abolitionists world these days.

So what the heck is it and why is it such a big deal?

This “it” is a law. A very important law which is going to be on the forefront of our government’s legislation very soon, once again. Why? Because on September 30th, 2011 this act expires.

TVPRA stands for the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. It was originally passed in 2000, and since then it has thankfully been passed once more every time it has expired. When it first passed, it was a pretty big deal.  It still is a big deal.

This act makes human trafficking, or modern day slavery, a federal crime. It created a State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, along with other agencies, task forces, and good stuff to fulfill its goals of “Protection, Prosecution, Prevention, and Partnerships.” The beloved National Human Trafficking Hotline- what to call when anything trafficking comes up- was also put in place because of this act. BTW, that number is 1-888-3737-888.

Because of TVPRA, which hopefully will be upheld by both the Senate and House of Representatives at the end of the month, human trafficking illegal in the United States of America. And it should be.

But we can’t take that for granted. I mean, this law was only passed for the first time a little over ten years ago! Not even all our states in our country have laws affirming that human trafficking is illegal and are prepared to assist victims of trafficking (Check out how your state rates). Ideally, our states will continue to step-up their game. Only this year, my state of Virgina covered essential grounds so that human trafficking might actually be recognized and enforced as a major “no-no.” Considering, in some parts of our country this federal act is the only thing which protects victims of trafficking! It would be major back-pedaling if this law was not passed!

This year, there are a few improvements which are supposed to be added to this law. You can look at them in more detail by checking out this post here. They are hard to describe, but its a bunch of random things which help protect children and victims better while prosecuting the bad guys more effectively.

As human trafficking is an international issue that is also in our own backyard, I hope Americans realize how important it is to do something about it. Just like we don’t want our kids to be in danger from pedophiles and believe our kids have the right to ride in cars which have high safety standard, we should also ensure they grow up in a country where human trafficking isn’t an issue.

Actions to help Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act Pass:

 

The easy thing to do is to sign a basic petition and encourage your friends to do the same. It blows my mind that even with all the abolitionist organizations promoting this petition, there are so far less than 3000 signatures for this petition from around the country! Surely we can bump that up!

You can also use this website to write a letter like this to your representative.

Participating in the TVPRA call-in day on September 27th (a Tuesday) is another great way to take action. Use this link to find your representatives and then call them saying “Representative, please support this TVPRA thing. Thanks!” which takes about two minutes tops. You can ghetto-fy or country-fy that phrase if you want. Because whether you are from the hood or from red-neck America, these representatives claim to care about your opinion. If you’re brave enough to call, come back here and post about it!

If you call on the 27th of 2011, a bunch of other people from around the country will be calling with you. In fact, the act:s website has resources for a call-in mobilizing kit and posters and banners and live streaming of other callers, and pinatas and balloons galore! Well, maybe not all of that, but most of it! That is, only if you really want to get crazy!

Thanks for taking action! I know its hard to do something like this, not so much because it takes time or money, but because its somewhat uncomfortable. Still, at least in our country you voice counts. I encourage you to take a step forward and use it, believing you are a small, but important part of helping someone oppressed who might otherwise never be helped. Again, thanks!

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