Bondage Breaking

Bill boosts fight against sex and labor trafficking.

Calling human trafficking "a perverse form of evil," President Bush signed a bill in January that gives law-enforcement officials more tools to combat human traffickers operating in the United States and abroad-an estimated $9 billion industry. The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005 also increases resources and aid for the victims of sex and labor trafficking.

"We have to get angry enough at the slavers and pimps to shut them down," said bill sponsor Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J. "This is modern-day slavery, and some of it is going on in our own backyards."

The law amends and expands the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, also sponsored by Smith and Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan. That bill authorized refugee-type benefits for trafficking victims and tightened domestic trafficking laws.

The 2005 bill provides $361 million over the next two years to fight international and domestic trafficking. Bill language authored by Rep. Deborah Pryce, R-Ohio, establishes a pilot program through the Department of Health and Human Services (hhs) for residential treatment facilities for juvenile trafficking victims. It further authorizes $50 million for grants to state and local law enforcement to prosecute human traffickers and criminals who pay for sex in the United States, in an effort to battle demand.

"This is where there was a major gap in U.S. trafficking efforts," said Joe Mettimano, senior policy adviser for World Vision. The Christian ngo has teamed with the State Department and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to sponsor an aggressive ad campaign targeted at Americans traveling abroad. The ads, run in destination countries, U.S. airports, and on United Airlines in-flight videos, warn travelers that ...

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