03.11.15

Anti-Trafficking Groups Call On Senate Republicans To Take Politics Out Of Policy Debate

WASHINGTON (Wednesday, March 11, 2015) –Organizations dedicated to providing vital services to victims of human trafficking are calling on Senate Republicans to cast partisan politics aside and pass meaningful legislation to address a critical issue affecting thousands of Americans.

At issue is controversial language slipped into legislation authored by Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) that would restrict victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation from being able to access needed health services. The language was not included in the comprehensive trafficking package reported by the Judiciary Committee last year under Senator Patrick Leahy’s (D-Vt.) leadership. Anti-trafficking groups and Senate Democrats are calling on Cornyn and Senate Republicans to strip the language so lawmakers can move forward and debate the underlying bill. 

  • “The debate that is emerging over the Justice of Victims of Trafficking Act, S. 178, and the application of the Hyde Amendment to funds collected from perpetrators of human trafficking jeopardize this pragmatic balance in favor of a partisan confrontation that undermines the achievement of our joint goal of ending modern slavery in the United States and around the world. For these reasons, we urge all members of the Senate to turn away from this divisive debate and find a bipartisan approach to this new initiative to protect and serve the needs of survivors.” Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking (statement)
  • “Polaris supports the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act and wants to see it pass. We would prefer the Hyde Amendment language not be included in the bill.  The JVTA includes critical provisions that expand services for survivors and strengthen the criminal justice system's ability to combat human trafficking. The bipartisan support to address modern slavery should not be held up by a separate debate on partisan issues.” Polaris Project (statement)
  • “Human trafficking is a bipartisan and nonpartisan issue. Together, we stand united against modern day slavery, including both sex and labor trafficking… The National Network for Youth is writing this letter with the hope that the U.S. Senate will remove the partisan piece of the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act. This legislation is desperately needed and we cannot let this moment pass us by because of the addition of partisan and divisive provisions.” National Network for Youth (letter)
  • “There should be no doubt that legislation involving the well-being of individuals who have been victimized by the most base of human behavior should be free of partisan wrangling. It’s disappointing and deeply distressing that this isn’t always the case.” Vermont Coalition of Runaway and Homeless Youth Programs (letter)
  • The majority of human trafficking victims are women and girls, and they need access to the full range of reproductive health care services without barriers.” Planned Parenthood Action Fund (statement)

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