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Olivia Explains the Trafficking Victims Protection Act: a Critical Human Trafficking Law

Which human trafficking law is vital to helping human trafficking victims? Olivia Wilson Esq. from our Anti-Trafficking Program explains why you should know about the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA).

Olivia Explains the Trafficking Victims Protection Act: a Critical Human Trafficking Law

April 25, 2017
By Olivia Wilson

Human trafficking is one of the world’s fastest growing criminal enterprises. The Safe Horizon Anti-Trafficking Program (ATP) assists victims of this crime including men and women, adults and children, foreign nationals and U.S. citizens in cases of both labor trafficking and sex trafficking. While some victims of trafficking are hidden behind locked doors in private homes or brothels, others are in plain sight in restaurants, hotels or retail stores. Traffickers use a variety of tactics to control their victims including physical restraint and psychological coercion.

Since 2000, the U.S. has taken a global, holistic approach to combating human trafficking by enacting and reauthorizing the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), the first comprehensive federal law to address human trafficking. After its initial passing, every several years the law has to be reauthorized, the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA), to maintain core measures and increase protections to ensure we continue the fight against an evolving crime. In this post, I will explain the important components of this law and how it enables our ATP to help human trafficking victims.

Explanation of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act

The three arms of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act are prevention, protection and prosecution.

  • The preventative branch of the TVPA focuses on building awareness of trafficking and provides for international initiatives to deter and prevent vulnerability to trafficking as well as establishing the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons in the State Department, responsible for publishing an annual report describing and ranking the efforts of countries to combat human trafficking
  • The TVPA’s protection initiative enables human trafficking victims to receive critical public benefits and creates immigration protections for foreign national victims of human trafficking who are involved in the investigation and prosecution of their traffickers
  • The TVPA’s prosecution arm creates several enumerated crimes for human trafficking and mandates that traffickers pay restitution to their victims

Every few years, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act is reauthorized with amendments that reintegrate findings from past efforts. This process furthers protections that are vital to helping human trafficking victims.

How the Trafficking Victims Protection Act Enables the Safe Horizon Anti-Trafficking Program to Help Human Trafficking Victims

The TVPA allows ATP to provide critical assistance to victims of trafficking so that they may heal from the trauma of their experience and build a stable life free of abuse and coercion. Because of the TVPA, our team of intensive case managers and attorneys can assist victims of trafficking with accessing public benefits and in applying for immigration relief crucial to their stability and healing process. The overall prevention efforts of the TVPA fuel our advocacy efforts to continue supporting trafficking victims on their road to healing.

If TVPRA is Not Reauthorized: The Consequences

TVPRA is a major reason why ATP is able to help human trafficking victims overcome their trafficking situations. Reauthorizing the TVPRA is crucial in allowing programs like ATP, to continue to provide protections and critical services to victims of this horrible crime, and in bringing traffickers to justice.

That’s why it is critical to take action in powerful advocacy, today.

Join us in support of the reauthorization of TVPRA. You can save someone’s life.

  • Olivia Wilson

    Olivia Wilson Esq. is a staff attorney at our Anti-Trafficking Program (ATP). She represents victims of human trafficking in pursuing various forms of immigration relief, accompanies clients to interviews with law enforcement agents, and provides other criminal justice advocacy and information as needed. Olivia is an integral part of conducting community outreach and participates in anti-trafficking committees and networks. She was previously attorney at STEPS to End Family Violence where she represented victims of domestic violence in the areas of matrimonial law, family law and immigration.