McKenna, state AGs call on Congress to reauthorize human trafficking bill
OLYMPIA – Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna Friday joined with 45 other state attorneys general calling on Congress to adopt the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) by the end of the year. Among its important features, the legislation funds task forces to protect victims and prosecute traffickers. It also funds the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline, which provides help to trafficking victims 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
“This legislation sends help to American kids, who represent 83 percent of minors trafficked in the United States,” McKenna said. “It also distributes funding to programs that help foreign nationals, including underage victims trafficked in the United States. We hope Congress acts quickly to reauthorize this bill and renew their support for trafficking victims.”
McKenna added that the fight against human trafficking is a bipartisan effort. This year’s push to reauthorize the TVPRA is led by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, a Democrat, and Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, a Republican.
“The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) has made anti-human trafficking efforts one of its major initiatives with its Pillars of Hope presidential initiative and now through a Standing Committee on Human Trafficking,” a letter signed by 46 state attorneys general explains. “We understand the tremendous fiscal challenges the nation faces. However, during this time, we cannot lose sight of the needless human tragedies that are occurring within and beyond our borders (and) the critical need for funding to curtail the human trafficking industry.”
As part of his work as NAAG president, McKenna last year launched the “Pillars of Hope” initiative. In March, as McKenna neared the end of his term as NAAG president, Attorney General Coakley pledged to continue the initiative through a standing committee within NAAG.