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PROCEEDINGS AND DEBATES OF THE 110th CONGRESS, 1st SESSION

Vol. 153 Washington, Tuesday, December 4, 2007 No. 57

House of Representatives


WILLIAM WILBERFORCE TRAFFICKING VICTIMS PROTECTION REAUTHORIZATION ACT OF 2007



HON. ALCEE L. HASTINGS

OF FLORIDA

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


Mr. HASTINGS of Florida. Mr. Speaker, as Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, which has exercised unprecedented leadership in the global fight to combat trafficking in human beings, I rise in support of H.R. 3887, the Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2007. 

From our earliest awareness of this cruel phenomenon which enslaves an estimated 27 million victims, the Commission has led in the effort to mobilize nations to implement effective measures to combat human trafficking. My fellow Commissioner and former Chairman of the Commission, Representative CHRIS SMITH is among those who has led the effort to bring an end to this modern day form of slavery, authoring the trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 and its subsequent reauthorizations. 

Today, the Commission continues its work to support efforts to combat this global crime within the framework of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Most recently, the Commission conducted an oversight hearing last October 11, to explore the progress made in combating human trafficking and the adequacy of resources dedicated to identifying victims of trafficking for forced labor, an area that we believe would benefit from additional resources and attention. 

The reauthorization bill that we are taking action on today marks another important milestone in preventing the inhumane practice of human trafficking, protecting trafficking victims, and prosecuting the criminals that perpetrate these crimes. 

In addition to bolstering the resources needed to continue various anti-trafficking programs, H.R. 3887, which I cosponsored, would strengthen mechanisms for fighting human trafficking overseas, through the provision of capacity building support to foreign governments to bolster investigative mechanisms and legal protective frameworks for immigrant populations and migrant workers. Importantly, the measure would also address the transnational nature of human trafficking by providing increased support and protection for refugees and internally displaced populations. This legislation also seeks to improve transparency and evaluation of trafficking programs, and would designate governments that remain on the special watch list for 2 consecutive years among those whose efforts to combat trafficking are inadequate. 

This reauthorization bill will improve mechanisms to better identify and protect trafficking victims, while increasing accountability on the part of governments in their anti-trafficking efforts. It takes a comprehensive approach to a gross criminal exploitation, and I urge my colleagues to support the legislation.





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