TVPRA Funding Success: The Child Protection Compact ActOne of the things that make the US a global leader in fighting human trafficking is that we pass good laws and then we work hard to implement them. A law is only as good as its implementation and implementation takes money.
In April, seventeen Women of Vision chapters joined over 100 other organizations from around the United States to voice their support for vital anti-trafficking funding in a letter to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, which oversee the spending legislation. This critical funding goes to fight human trafficking both internationally and domestically. It funds programs and training that protect survivors, prevent vulnerable men, women, and children from becoming enslaved, and prosecute traffickers. In February, we put the numbers in perspective: the U.S. spends about 68 cents per American taxpayer. 68 cents is not a lot of money, but it makes a big impact.
Over the last few weeks, the House and Senate Committees have approved almost all of the spending bills that include anti-trafficking funding. Here’s the exciting news: buried in the House spending bill for foreign assistance there is $5 million for implementing Child Protection Compacts! This funding would allow the U.S. Government to partner with countries that are trying to enforce their own anti-trafficking laws and eradicate the exploitation of children for slave labor or commercial sex by tackling root causes. Child Protection Compacts will allow the U.S. and its partner countries to make a major (and measurable) impact on child trafficking through strengthening countries’ ability to protect children and prosecute traffickers.
It’s been four years since you first spoke up and brought the CPCA to the attention of the Senate. You were the reason it was reintroduced at the beginning of 2011. And you were the reason that it was included in the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2013, which you ensured passed with bipartisan support. Your voices aren’t just a soft echo in the halls of Congress, they are a resounding voice that is making an impact for children around the world.
So what’s next?
The House and Senate still need to give a final vote on their spending legislation. Because they are significantly different bills, the two chambers will need to resolve the differences and approve a unified bill. As you can imagine, this will prove difficult. This is where we need your prayers and your voice. Over the next several months as Congress moves forward and the process becomes weighed down in politics, pray and speak. Pray for Members of Congress and their staff who have been advocates for robust anti-trafficking funding. Pray that they may feel supported and strengthened in their efforts. Speak up for the vital funding for programs that protect survivors of modern-day slavery, strengthen communities to prevent vulnerable men, women, and children from being enslaved, and seek justice for victims. We believe in responsible Federal spending but also believe that cuts should not be made on the backs of the most vulnerable. Your voices have ensured that this critical funding is not overlooked, is not cut, and is not diminished. Now it’s time to ensure it makes into the final bill.
Call your Members of Congress today. Here’s a helpful call script to use:
“My name is ________ and I’m a constituent from ______. The State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, which recently passed the Appropriations Committee, contains critical anti-trafficking funding. I am calling to ask the Congressman/woman to support this funding when the bill is voted on. Thank you!”
And for your Senators:
“My name is ________ and I’m a constituent from ______. The State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, which recently passed the Appropriations Committee, contains critical anti-trafficking funding. However, it does not have funding related to the Child Protection Compacts, authorized in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2013. I am calling to ask the Senator to support strong anti-trafficking funding and the inclusion of this funding in the final bill. Thank you!”