Message from Ambassador John R. Miller:
The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill last night to reauthorize the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which was first approved in 2000 and strengthened in 2003. The bill, HR 972, was sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith, and co-sponsored by 103 other House members.
The path-breaking legislation reaffirms U.S. commitment to combating trafficking in persons, and it includes new provisions to address, and end, the demand for sex slaves in the U.S. as described in the article in today's Washington Post [see the 12/15/05 Washington Post article].
This legislation is an important step forward in the movement to abolish modern-day slavery. It would give police support to investigate and prosecute sex buyers, brothel owners, and pimps. The U.S. estimates that every year, some 600,000 to 800,000 men, women and children are trafficked across international borders. The majority are women and girls who end up trafficked for sexual exploitation. Millions more people are trafficked within their own country.
If H.R. 972 is passed by the U.S. Senate, it will help us fight trafficking at home and reinforce and advance efforts to confront slavery abroad. As President George W. Bush memorably said in his second inaugural address, "America will not pretend that...women welcome humiliation and servitude, or that any human being aspires to live at the mercy of bullies."
Ambassador John R. Miller, Director
Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
U.S. Department of State
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