The Current

Advocacy News + Updates

In an historic decision this morning (and on the anniversary of Lincoln’s birthday), the U.S. Senate finally passed the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA)—extending critical protection to millions of men, women and children trapped in slavery around the world.

Leading the efforts to pass the TVPRA this year were Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL). After the TVPRA failed to pass last session, these senators worked diligently across party lines to uphold this important piece of our nation’s anti-slavery history.  

The Long Struggle with Slavery

In 2013, we are still struggling with the cruelty of slavery in our world, but on a scale too massive to ignore. Human traffickers generate $32 billion in illegal profit each year and exploit 27 million slaves across the globe. 

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) is the landmark U.S. law designed to combat trafficking both at home and abroad. First passed in 2000, the TVPA provided a framework to protect victims, prosecute traffickers and help prevent this crime before it occurs. The TVPA needs to be reauthorized every few years, and has passed unanimously three times since 2000. The last reauthorization ran out in September 2011 as partisan politics prevailed and Congress failed to act. 

New Action to Protect the Vulnerable

Today, Senators Leahy and Rubio worked across party lines to protect this important bill. They introduced the text of the TVPRA from last session as an amendment to the Violence Against Women Act, which also stood for reauthorization this year. Following their leadership, 93 senators voted to support the TVPRA and continue our country’s global leadership in the anti-slavery movement. 

Their leadership was bolstered by the support and the voices of IJM supporters around the nation. Last year, IJM was able to deliver tens of thousands of postcards from IJM abolitionists calling on their members to pass the TVPRA. With its passage in the Senate today, all of those voices have been heard!

We hope that one day 150 years from now, the U.S. can look back at today as one milestone that helped end slavery once and for all.

What You Can Do Today

Now that the votes are cast, this is a great time to follow up with your Senators. We’ve listed how each Senator voted below. Feel free to use the sample scripts below for your calls. 

Sample script for Senators who voted YEA in support of the TVPRA:

“Hi, my name is [YOUR NAME] and I live in [YOUR CITY & STATE] and I want to thank the Senator for [HIS/HER] support on the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act on Tuesday.  Will you pass my message on to the Senator? Thank you!”

Sample script for Senators who voted NAY on the TVPRA:

“Hi, my name is [YOUR NAME] and I live in [YOUR CITY & STATE]. I learned that the Senator voted against the Trafficking Victims Protection Authorization Act on Tuesday, and I just wanted to let the Senator know that I was disappointed to hear that. The TVPRA provides a foundation for the U.S. government’s anti-trafficking efforts around the world, and this is an issue I care about a lot. Will you pass my message on to the Senator? Thank you!”

YEAs ---93

Alexander (R-TN)
Ayotte (R-NH)
Baldwin (D-WI)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Baucus (D-MT)
Begich (D-AK)
Bennet (D-CO)
Blumenthal (D-CT)
Blunt (R-MO)
Boozman (R-AR)
Boxer (D-CA)
Brown (D-OH)
Burr (R-NC)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Cardin (D-MD)
Carper (D-DE)
Casey (D-PA)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coats (R-IN)
Cochran (R-MS)
Collins (R-ME)
Coons (D-DE)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Cowan (D-MA)
Crapo (R-ID)
Cruz (R-TX)
Donnelly (D-IN)
Durbin (D-IL)
Enzi (R-WY)
Feinstein (D-CA)

Fischer (R-NE)
Flake (R-AZ)
Franken (D-MN)
Graham (R-SC)
Grassley (R-IA)
Hagan (D-NC)
Harkin (D-IA)
Hatch (R-UT)
Heinrich (D-NM)
Heitkamp (D-ND)
Heller (R-NV)
Hirono (D-HI)
Hoeven (R-ND)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johanns (R-NE)
Johnson (D-SD)
Kaine (D-VA)
King (I-ME)
Kirk (R-IL)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Leahy (D-VT)
Levin (D-MI)
Manchin (D-WV)
McCaskill (D-MO)
McConnell (R-KY)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Merkley (D-OR)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Moran (R-KS)

Murkowski (R-AK)
Murphy (D-CT)
Murray (D-WA)
Nelson (D-FL)
Paul (R-KY)
Portman (R-OH)
Pryor (D-AR)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Risch (R-ID)
Roberts (R-KS)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Rubio (R-FL)
Sanders (I-VT)
Schatz (D-HI)
Schumer (D-NY)
Scott (R-SC)
Shaheen (D-NH)
Shelby (R-AL)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Tester (D-MT)
Thune (R-SD)
Toomey (R-PA)
Udall (D-CO)
Udall (D-NM)
Vitter (R-LA)
Warner (D-VA)
Warren (D-MA)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wicker (R-MS)
Wyden (D-OR)

NAYs ---5

Coburn (R-OK)
Inhofe (R-OK)

Johnson (R-WI)
Lee (R-UT)

Sessions (R-AL)

Not Voting - 2

Gillibrand (D-NY)

McCain (R-AZ)