Last week U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, along with fellow Republican Senators Josh Hawley of Missouri and Joni Ernst of Iowa introduced legislation to reauthorize a provision of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005.
This, according to a joint statement Blackburn released Friday.
The TVPRA would commission a two-part comprehensive federal study on human trafficking by the Department of Justice. While the TVPRA had called for biennial comprehensive studies on the issue, the only study ever completed and submitted to Congress was in 2009.
The senators’ legislation would therefore provide the first comprehensive study of human trafficking by the federal government in more than a decade, the press release said.
“Human trafficking is modern day slavery, and is a shameful scourge on our society,” the Blackburn said.
“In Tennessee, we know all too well how this tragic crime has infiltrated our communities in both the physical and virtual space. In order to confront human trafficking, we need accurate data that informs both law enforcement and Congress and enables us to eliminate it from Tennessee communities.”
Senator Hawley weighed in, saying, “human trafficking is evil.”
It is modern-day slavery, and it undermines our most basic values as Americans. There is more that Congress can and should do to end this network of violence and oppression in our communities. It begins with gathering comprehensive data so law enforcement, service providers, and legislators can do their jobs and provide victims the help they need.
Ernst, meanwhile, said human trafficking plagues her home state of Iowa, far away from any international border:
We must do more to examine the sources of this sickening form of modern day slavery, and fully eradicate it from our society. By ensuring we have complete, accurate data, I believe we can prevent and protect one more life from being turned upside down by this horrific abuse.
Blackburn’s press release said that in the 20 years since the passage of the TVPRA, Congress has failed to adequately fund comprehensive studies on human trafficking.
“Comprehensive data on the issue is needed to help service providers develop programs, to assist legislators in crafting policies to address trafficking, and to bolster law enforcement’s ability to identify and protect victims – and prosecute perpetrators of this heinous crime,” the statement concluded.
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