The IRC Launches Anti-Trafficking Action Coalition
Trafficking in persons, for purposes of sexual exploitation or forced labor, is a form of modern-day slavery affecting anywhere from 800,000 to 900,000 persons worldwide every year, according to U.S. government estimates. In response to this horrific practice, the International Rescue Committee has organized the Anti-Trafficking Action Coalition (ATAC), a network of 22 resettlement offices across the United States will be providing critical services to victims of trafficking.
"The needs of trafficked persons are often distinct, severe, and extensive," says Jane Kim, director of Anti-Trafficking Initiatives at the IRC. "We are committed to ensuring that they receive comprehensive services to facilitate their recovery, promote respect for their rights, and enable them to become self-sufficient."
ATAC carries out community outreach and public education at local, regional and national levels to raise general awareness of trafficking and enhance the capacity of concerned entities to more effectively recognize, protect, and assist victims of trafficking. Women, men and children are all vulnerable to being trafficked. Traffickers often exploit a person's desperation, misfortune, and ignorance and lure them with false promises of employment and a better life. Some individuals are kidnapped and sold into slavery, while others may agree to perform certain types of labor but are then forced to work in slavery-like conditions.
Trafficking victims can be found in a wide range of industries, including brothels, domestic service, agricultural fields, construction sites, hotels, factories, sweatshops and restaurants. No region of the world is unaffected, as virtually every country serves as source, transit or destination for trafficking. Generating $7 billion to $10 billion annually, human trafficking is the fastest growing global criminal industry, according to United Nations estimates, generating high profits and involving low risk, minimal capital investment, and a "commodity" that can be used over and over again.
In October 2000, the U.S. Congress passed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act to prevent trafficking, protect its victims, and prosecute the perpetrators. "The TVPA marks the most comprehensive U.S. law aimed at combating trafficking in persons both internationally and domestically," says Kim.
On Decembe r 19, 2003 , President Bush signed HR 2620, the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) of 2003, renewing and expanding upon the TVPA of 2000. The TVPRA is an effort to build upon the TVPA and addresses some gaps in victim protection and the prosecution of traffickers. The TVPRA aims to intensify efforts to prevent trafficking, enhance victim protections, heighten prosecutions, and improve the government's response to trafficking.