Federal Laws and Policies Addressing Child Sex Trafficking as of 2021
With the growing prevalence of domestic minor sex trafficking in the United States and beyond, laws and policies must be clearly outlined to address the situation and save more minors from the horrors of sex trafficking. Thankfully, the government has stepped up to the situation. These laws and policies help survivors of child sex trafficking start their new lives and protect more children from being victimized.
Here we highlight a few of these laws. While these primarily focus on the sexual exploitation of minors, do note that there are several others addressing related challenges like human trafficking and forced labor.
The Federal Trafficking and Victims Protection Act (TVPA)
The Federal Trafficking and Victims Protection Act (TVPA) was passed in 2000 by the U.S. Congress and signed by President Clinton. This is the primary law against sex trafficking in the U.S. It has been reauthorized three times since then, in 2003, 2005, and 2008 by Presidents Bush, Obama, and Trump, respectively. TVPA is impressively authorized to protect not only citizens of the United States, but also immigrants who are sex trafficking victims and are yet to be appropriately documented are legal residents.
The law protects against trafficking, violence, smuggling, and forced labor forms of exploitation, in that wherever or whenever a commercial sex act occurs due to force, coercion, or fraud, where the prey that has been introduced to such an act does not give consent or gives a coerced or forced consent, they are categorized to be victims.
Within this law, there are three components which are Protection, Prosecution, and Prevention, otherwise known as the three P's, which serve as a benchmark for its enforcement. The TVPA further defines trafficking as a commercial sex act, debt bondage, involuntary servitude, and slavery.
This law further sets an office that is mandated to monitor and combat trafficking within the state department. It also equips a federal task force, known as the President's Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking (PITF), with the necessary tools to help implement the law. When adjusted in 2005, the TVPA was amplified to accommodate victims of domestic sex trafficking in the U.S.
The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015
The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015 (JVTA) was passed into law by President Obama in May of 2015 and backed with many improvements to support the United States' response to human trafficking. It serves to render more funding for programs and services to champion survivors, such as the US Advisory Council on Human Trafficking, which was created for the cause. It also supports greater fines and penalties for sexual offenders.
In addition, this law fuels safe harbor laws and endorses law enforcement and first responders. Under the JVTA, child pornography, sexual exploitation, sexual abuse, debt servitude, slavery, and trafficking are covered. Child pornography was included because it has become a persistent menace that threatens the well-being of hundreds of children across the country. This is primarily due to the demand and supply of this form of abuse on the internet and various social media platforms. In part, this trend is fueled by increased patronage by criminal organizations that directly or indirectly aid trafficking.
The government pays the money realized through the fines paid by sexual offenders into the Domestic Trafficking Victims Fund to support victims that have left the criminal grasp, locate homeless and runaway youth, and fund treatment and rehabilitation programs for survivors. For instance, the Office on Trafficking in Persons, Administration of Children & Families, provides funding opportunities to strengthen prevention, assist with victim identification, and provide services to survivors of human trafficking.
Above all, the law ensures that all states in the country put plans into place to respond better to its child sex trafficking victims by identifying victims of sex trafficking, child abuse, neglected and sexually abused children. The program also involves facilitating training for child protection workers to equip them better to deliver the necessary aid for victims of child trafficking.
The Trade Facilitation Enforcement Act of 2015 (TFTEA)
The Trade Facilitation Enforcement Act of 2015 (TFTEA) was signed into law in February 2016. The law was passed in a quest to avoid the importation of illegal goods into the United States. The TFTEA was amended to include goods produced with the aid of forced or indentured labor, including child labor.
These laws provide the necessary backing for protecting and seeking justice for the victims of child sex trafficking. Spreading the word about them is one way to help push back the menace that is minor sex trafficking in our society today.
About the Mission Haven
At The Mission Haven, we are committed to providing comprehensive and transformational Haven of Healing to victims and survivors of sexual exploitation, domestic violence, and sex trafficking. We believe that these children still have a chance at life at its best, and we need every support we can get to provide the best support possible continually.
Our goal is to provide them with this assistance, including legal support where necessary. With your generous donations and support, we can continue to provide a truly safe haven of hope and healing equipped with essential resources to lift victims and survivors of domestic minor sex trafficking. To give, volunteer, or become a partner, feel free to contact us today.