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Stop child trafficking

Child trafficking

© Worldwide documentaries

Not My Life, directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Robert Bilheimer and narrated by actress Glenn Close, was made with support from UNICEF. The film, shot over the course of four years on five continents, takes an unflinching look at the multi-billion dollar industry of child trafficking. Not My Life features many leaders in the field including Dr. Susan Bissell, UNICEF’s Chief of Child Protection.

Trafficking in persons is a violation of fundamental human rights, and trafficked children face severe threats to their well-being and their futures. Unfortunately, far too many children still fall prey to traffickers—even here in the United States.

Although tracking this hidden crime is extraordinarily difficult, the International Labor Organization estimates there are at least 12.3 million people subject to forced labor, including trafficking victims. At least 1.2 million children are trafficked each year, many of them forced into prostitution, unpaid labor, or armed groups.

United States Response to Trafficking

The U.S. Government is a leader in the international fight against human trafficking, thanks in large part to landmark legislation originally passed in 2000. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 was the first U.S. law to recognize people who were trafficked as victims of crime, not as criminals themselves. The law provided tools to combat trafficking in persons both worldwide and domestically and created the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons at the U.S. Department of State.

Senate Action Needed

As with most authorizing legislation, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act must be renewed periodically, to ensure that the laws and programs meet current needs. In June 2011, Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Scott Brown (R-MA) introduced the bipartisan Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2011. This legislation reauthorizes programs and funds for U.S. anti-trafficking initiatives through 2015. The bill would also improve the partnerships between federal agencies, private sector organizations, and foreign governments in order to better prevent trafficking and protect victims; and provide additional resources to law enforcement agencies.

Take Action Now

Even though S. 1301 has strong bipartisan support, the U.S. Senate still has not gotten around to voting on this important legislation.

You can help by writing to your Senators today and urging them to help fight child labor and trafficking around the world by cosponsoring S. 1301, and asking that the Senate vote on it quickly.

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