Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Action Alert: Tell Congress to Strengthen Welfare Response to Trafficking

January is Human Trafficking and Sex Slavery Awareness Month. Participate today in raising Human Trafficking Awareness!

Tell Congress to support and pass H.R. 1732, Strengthening the Child Welfare Response to Trafficking Act to improve the proper identification of and services to child trafficking victims.

About the bill:

This critical piece of federal legislation works to ensure that child victims of human trafficking are properly identified by state child welfare agencies and receive the comprehensive services they need to recover. H.R. 1732 amends the Social Security Act to require state foster care programs, which receive federal funds under the Social Security Act, to report on current and future efforts to address the human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children in their care. It also mandates data collection on the issue of human trafficking.

Additionally, the bill requires the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop and publish: (1) best practices for training child welfare employees and court employees on identifying all forms of child trafficking; (2) recommendations for how state welfare agencies can prevent human trafficking; and (3) licensing guidelines for residential facilities with regard to child trafficking victims.

What does the PC(USA) say about trafficking?

The 218th General Assembly (2008) directed the Office of Public Witness in Washington, DC, to

      a)     express concern for the escalation of trafficking within the U.S. and use the public witness channels available to them to raise issues with appropriate national and international representatives; and

      b)    partner with ecumenical and interfaith entities to build coalitions against trafficking and participate in activities such as the National Day of Human Trafficking Awareness (January 11) and the Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN).

In November 2013, the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board approved a request presented by the Office of Public Witness to affiliate with the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking (ATTEST) in an effort to expand the work and partnership of the denomination on issues related to Human Trafficking. ATTEST represents one of the largest coalition of Human Rights organizations working on issues related to the eradication of human (sex) and labor trafficking.

We thank one of our newest partners ATTEST for collaborating with us on this action alert.