Friends of the International Justice Mission attended in-district meetings on August 17th, with representatives from both Senator Warner’s and Senator Webb’s offices. We went with the purpose of seeking the support from both Senators for the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA), S.1301, and to encourage the Senators to facilitate the passage by the full Senate as quickly as possible. This landmark, bi-partisan legislation is set to expire by the end of September.
Our first visit was with Ms. Patrice Lewis, Outreach Representative for Senator Warner, followed by a later meeting with Ms. Louise Fontaine Ware, State Director for Senator Webb. Both women were very attentive as we explained first, the magnitude of the sex trafficking issue not only worldwide, but in the United States, as well as here in our own state of Virginia. We then went on to discuss the importance of TVPRA in that it reauthorizes the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, originally passed in 2000. Certain amendments to the original Act were also highlighted. The Act would mandate greater collaboration in anti-trafficking strategy by the State Department regional bureaus and the overseas U.S. Embassies. “Child Protection Compacts” would be authorized for eligible countries so that they would receive additional U.S. assistance to end child trafficking. The Act would also offer increased protection for trafficking victims here in the United States. Additional points that were discussed were one, why U.S. tax dollars should be allocated in the fight against modern-day slavery and two, the importance of the Trafficking in Persons Office (TIP).
We ended our meetings encouraging each of the Senators to become a co-sponsor of the TVPRA. Both offices expressed a genuine concern regarding the issue of sex trafficking, and that they would do what they could to support TVPRA. – Tina Nyczepir