WASHINGTON, D.C.—The new U.S. anti-trafficking law, passed in Congress on December 17, says when federal employees travel they should choose travel and hospitality companies that follow the six points of the ECPAT Code of Conduct, ECPAT-USA announced. While H.R. 2200 the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act of 2017 could not specifically identify ECPAT, the six criteria are clearly patterned after the Code of Conduct.
“ECPAT and its many travel and hospitality partners are grateful that the strong code we have developed to help company staff identify and stop trafficking has now been held up as a standard by the U.S. government,” said Carol Smolenski, Executive Director of ECPAT-USA. “The new law provides a focus on prevention, which we consider the next frontier in our effort to bring an end to child sexual exploitation.”
In addition to the instructions to federal employees on travel, the new law:
- Provides training and education efforts so that employees of the travel and hospitality industries can better recognize children and adults who may be trafficked.
- Provides for reintegration programs for the victims of trafficking.
- Creates a new grant program to help bring anti-trafficking educational outreach to America’s schools.
A Bipartisan Effort
This legislation is the product of a bipartisan effort by the members of both houses of Congress and serves as a model for how successful that approach can be. ECPAT is also grateful to Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA), who championed this effort in the House, and Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), John Cornyn (R-TX), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Bob Corker (R-TN) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) who crafted the companion bill in the Senate.
“The Trafficking Victims Protection Act Reauthorization has been a top legislative priority for anti-trafficking organizations throughout the country,” said Smolenski. “This new law ensures that the United States will remain the global leader in this fight to end modern human slavery. We are very proud to have worked with the members of Congress to achieve this excellent result.”
For more than 20 years, ECPAT-USA has fought for and won passage of strong anti-trafficking legislation. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act was initially passed in 2000. It must be reauthorized every three years.
“We are so very pleased to see the evolution and improvement of those initial efforts in the passage of this latest version of the law,” Smolenski said.
ECPAT-USA is the oldest U.S. advocacy organization dedicated to ending the sexual exploitation of children. It is part of a global network of such organizations operating in over 90 countries worldwide.