A Few More Steps Towards Implementing the TVPRA: Funding the Child Protection Compact ActIt’s easy to become cynical advocating for changes to laws and institutions. It’s easy to become discouraged when we are moved by injustice and institutions aren’t moving as quickly. But as Christians we are called to push forward and to do so with hope. When we prayerfully commit to tiny steps forward, we have the opportunity to be a part of the work God is doing to build His Kingdom. We don’t need to tell Women of Vision that this work is not glamorous – you know it. We know what it’s like to pray and advocate for years and see incremental progress. We know what it’s like to see processes stall and seemingly grind to a halt. But we also know the joy and hope of seeing laws and hearts change, of seeing more people protected from violence and exploitation, because of those incremental steps.
When the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act passed one year ago, we all knew our work wasn’t over. We worked to make sure that the law was implemented properly, that there was funding to implement the law. In April 2013, seventeen Women of Vision chapters joined over 100 organizations to ask the Congressional Appropriations Committees to fund the TVPRA. And though it took a while for the spending bills to become law, they did, and those of us in D.C. saw something remarkable: increased funding for anti-trafficking efforts!
The Department of Health and Human Services received a 41 percent increase (yes, you read that correctly) to provide grants to care for victims in the United States. Department of Justice funding for victims service providers was increased 6 percent. Imagine what that will mean for victims and survivors in the U.S.! And finally, Congress appropriated money to implement the Child Protection Compact Act (the first piece of legislation Women of Vision ever supported). Congratulations Women of Vision! You have not only passed a law, you made sure it had the funding to be implemented. This is huge! We are excited to see what the U.S. can do to measurably reduce the number of children vulnerable to trafficking and exploitation in partner countries.
Appropriations is an almost constant cycle. Our work is not over. US Government funding to fight international and domestic slavery still only accounts for .003% of the Federal budget. With the new funding levels, the U.S. spends about 11 cents for every $32 a human trafficker makes. But with amounts that small, every cent counts and when those amount are combined with the efforts of organizations like World Vision, they can add up to make a big impact. As we rejoice over the gains of the last year, Congress is starting the process for fiscal year 2015, which will begin in October. Our partners at the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking are once again sending letters to the Appropriations Committees to ask them to keep the needs of trafficking victims, vulnerable populations, and those who support them in mind when creating the budget. If your chapter is interested in participating, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Please pray for Members of Congress and the Obama Administration for wisdom and discernment as they debate funding levels for fiscal year 2015 and determine how best to use funding in fiscal year 2014. Please pray for victims of modern-day slavery, those who are vulnerable to exploitation, and those who support them.