A message from Jesse Eaves, World Vision’s Senior Policy Advisor for Child Protection, on the closing of the 112th session of Congress and the failure to renew anti-trafficking legislation.
Last night the 112th Congress came to an end. You probably read about it this morning. But unheard in all the debating and nail-biting over the fiscal cliff was the sad news that the TVPRA died in the Senate after three as-yet-unnamed Republicans blocked the bill for reasons we cannot even fathom. Everything had been done to try to prevent the very scenario that started to unfold right before Christmas and came to a head last week as the “fiscal cliff” talks were heating up. The supporters of the bill in the Senate (and the anti-human trafficking community) even accepted a 1/3rd cut in all money to fund the bill. For a bill that has never been fully funded since its inception and is woefully funded in the first place, that was a tough pill to swallow but necessary for the US to remain a global leader in the fight against modern day slavery around the world and here in the US. As of now, the US does not have a current anti-human trafficking law. That failure is planted firmly at the feet of partisan politics.
I’m not going to lie- this one hurts. To have come so far and worked so hard only to have the hopes of advocates but more importantly of victims around the country and around the world dashed to bits by partisan petty playground politics is tough to accept. The understandable reaction in this situation is to say “forget it, they are not listening to me anyway so what’s the point.” I couldn’t fault you for thinking that. However, we do this not for ourselves, but for the millions of men, women, and especially children around the world who are suffering silently in the bonds on slavery. We do this because we are Biblically called to do it. Our voices do matter and this failure only further proves we need to be louder in the coming Congress.
The 112th Congress was the least effective Congress in over 60 years. Some argue it was the most ineffective ever. However, the 113th Congress brings with it new members and new hope. For those Senators that hid behind a mask of anonymity and held the bill from a vote for no other reason than to play politics, we say to you ENOUGH! You will not hold the US fight against modern say slavery hostage. The US surrendered so much global leadership on account of this cowardice. It’s time to reclaim that leadership. It is time to show that you don’t play politics with slavery. These games must end and we’re the only ones who can end it. So let’s get started. Call your Senators and Congressional representatives now. Tell them you want them to reintroduce and pass the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. Three phone calls can help jump start these efforts. We’ve hit a bump, but it will not derail us from our mission of seeing a world with no slaves. I hope you’ll join us.