Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy On President Obama’s Announcement Of New Initiatives To Fight Human Trafficking

[TUESDAY, September 25 -- Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is the lead sponsor of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA).  Leahy introduced the bipartisan legislation last June, and last November he moved the bill through the Judiciary Committee with a bipartisan vote.  The legislation currently has 52 cosponsors, including 14 Republicans. The latest proposal is the fourth reauthorization of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which was first passed in 2000 with overwhelming bipartisan support.  The law was reauthorized three times during the Bush Administration, each time with unanimous support in Congress.  Leahy commented Tuesday after President Obama’s address on human trafficking and other humanitarian issues at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York.] 

“I applaud President Obama’s announcement today at the Clinton Global Initiative of several new administration initiatives to help end human trafficking at home and around the world.  We must do all we can to end this abhorrent practice which affects millions of people every day.  

“One vital step that Congress can take is reauthorizing the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which expired a year ago this month.  This targeted legislation, which President Obama rightly said sparked a global movement, seeks to cut off human trafficking at its roots by supporting international and domestic efforts to fight the causes and punish the perpetrators of trafficking.  I am encouraged that the reauthorization bill I introduced now has the support of more than half of the Senate, including 14 Republicans.  I hope that we can build on this momentum and pass this life-saving legislation swiftly. 

“Trafficking is an affront to human dignity and a generator of human suffering that we cannot ignore.  The United States is a beacon of hope for so many who face human rights abuses abroad. We cannot further delay action while this injustice continues not only elsewhere in the world, but also here at home.  As President Obama said today, passage of this bipartisan bill is a ‘no-brainer.’”

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