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Nov 27 | EDOT Staff

Episcopal Church Resolves to Promote Human Trafficking Legislation

The Episcopal Church recommitted to the fight against human trafficking at its triennial General Convention this past July. 

 

©2012 Jon Warren/World Vision 

Girls rescued from brothels peer through a doorway at a World Vision trauma recovery center in Cambodia.

[Diolog Magazine]  A resolution passed by both the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops encouraged the Church to “recommit to protecting victims of human trafficking, particularly women and children, by continuing to support legislation and action oriented to recovery and reintegration of trafficking victims into society.”

 

Additionally, the resolution called for the appointment of a point-person for each province to coordinate with the Commission on the Status of Women in order to organize a greater voice on the issue of human trafficking. Previous resolutions to General Convention have called for the condemnation of human trafficking (2003-DO34) and suggested the development of educational material for congregations (2003-D034, 2000-A057).

 

In 2003, Texas became the first state to criminalize human trafficking, and in 2009, those laws were strengthened. The legislation requires a four-hour training for all new police officers and gave Harris County the authority to regulate illegitimate massage parlors. In Texas, trafficking of a minor (under 18) is a first-degree felony, and trafficking of an adult is a second-degree felony. There are also provisions in place to protect prostitutes who may be working involuntarily. 

 

On a national level, the first legislation to battle human trafficking passed Congress in 2000. Since that time, the legislation, entitled the “Trafficking and Violence Protection Act” or TPVA, has been reauthorized several times with stronger measures. In September 2012, President Barack Obama issued an executive order aimed at eliminating government contractors that facilitate human trafficking as a form of indentured servitude. The TPVA focuses mainly on international, not domestic, human trafficking. 

 

As of the publication, there are four bills waiting to be passed in Congress that will strengthen the fight against human trafficking. Visit PolarisProject.org to learn more about these bills and how you can help encourage your congressmen to approve them. 

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