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LSSNCA’s Call to Support H.R. 5856 - Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act of 2023

Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area (LSSNCA) urges Congress to pass the recently introduced Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act of 2023 (H.R. 5856). 

Human trafficking, by nature, is a hidden crime, and one that is extremely lucrative. The United Nations reports that it is a $150 billion industry. Although it is underreported, from January 1, 2021, to December 31, 2021, the National Human Trafficking Hotline received reports of 10,359 trafficking situations, leading to the identification of 16,554 likely victims.  Additionally, an analysis conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice revealed a 49% increase in the last 10 years in the number of people referred to U.S. attorneys for human trafficking offenses, reaching a total of 2,027 in fiscal year 2021. This underscores the pressing need for comprehensive and sustained efforts to address human trafficking.   

If passed, H.R. 5856 aims at reauthorizing and strengthening anti-trafficking measures originally passed in 2000 that would extend through 2028. 

“Through our work with survivors of human trafficking, we have recognized the pervasiveness of the crime, and the importance of education to help survivors self-identify, and to help first responders recognize the signs,” said Kristyn Peck, LSSNCA CEO. “Our Trafficking Victim Assistance Program (TVAP) offers trauma-informed and person-centered support for survivors. The reauthorization of this legislation is vital to ensure the continuation of programs aimed at preventing human trafficking and rescuing and supporting survivors," continued Peck.  

In addition to reauthorizing important programs under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, H.R. 5856 would also provide about $1 billion in funding for anti-trafficking measures, authorize the creation of a Human Trafficking Survivors Employment and Education Program, support grants for programs that prevent and detect trafficking of school-age children, require that USAID encourage integration of activities to counter human trafficking in programs under its purview, and more. Such comprehensive support not only addresses preventive measures to tackle trafficking but is also vital for empowering survivors to rebuild their lives and reintegrate into society. 

We invite you to join us in advocating for the passage of H.R. 5856 by reaching out to your local representative. By passing this legislation, we can send a powerful message that the United States is committed to combating human trafficking, supporting survivors, and creating a safer and more just society.