The 2000 Victims of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act (TVPA) is intended to combat human trafficking, by requiring reporting, placing conditions on foreign assistance, increasing penalties for traffickers, and increasing protection for trafficking victims. The legislation also calls for the creation of an Interagency Task Force to Combat Trafficking, headed by the Secretary of State and including representatives from the Departments of Justice, Labor, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services. The Task Force is to measure U.S. and international progress to combat trafficking, research and report on human trafficking, and increase cooperation with other countries to combat trafficking. The legislation also calls for the creation of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking within the State Department, to support the Secretary of State in leading the Task Force.
The TVPA focuses on preventing trafficking by enhancing economic opportunities for potential victims, increasing public awareness and information related to the issue and improving services available to trafficking victims. The TVPA also calls for U.S. assistance in the safe reintegration of trafficking victims back into their countries of origin and amends the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to increase opportunities for trafficking victims to stay in the United States when returning to their home countries is not possible.
Under the TVPA, the State Department is required to produce an annual report on human trafficking around the world. The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000: Trafficking in Persons Reports include a list of governments that meet minimum standards to combat trafficking, those not yet meeting those standards but taking steps to do so, and those who have not met the minimum standards and are not taking sufficient steps to do so. Whether or not the minimum standards are met depends on whether the country is a point of “origin, transit, or destination for severe forms of trafficking;” whether the government has been involved in the trafficking; and whether, given the government’s resources, it is reasonable to expect them to be compliant. To address those countries that have not met the minimum standards, the President is empowered to cancel foreign assistance or educational and cultural exchanges. The President is also empowered to ask the IMF, World Bank, or other international organizations to terminate loans to such nations. Finally, the President has the authority to sanction individuals who are “significant traffickers in persons.”
The TVPA also provides for increased criminal penalties for those who have been found guilty of trafficking as well as mandatory restitution for trafficking victims.