Human trafficking bill before Colorado Senate

Human trafficking bill before Colorado Senate

The plight of women and children — in both local and international situations — is the focus of the organization, Colorado Women of Vision (, a local arm of World Vision​. The direct hands-on connections and the fund-raising efforts of this organization put thoughts and beliefs into action. But this is not enough. The support of advocacy initiatives is essential, too.

Human trafficking is one of the most profitable criminal enterprises in the world generating $32 billion every year. According to the 2010 Department of State's annual "Trafficking in Persons" Report, there are 12.3 million adults and children in forced labor, bonded labor, and forced prostitution around the world. Of this number, 56 percent are women and young girls.

It is also a major problem here in the United States — including right here in Colorado. Human trafficking and slavery have been found in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. It is an insidious crime, and the victims have been subjected to repeated physical and sexual abuse and are often traumatized for years as they try to recover and regain their lives.

The U.S. government has led the fight against trafficking and slavery both domestically and internationally through the combined efforts of the Departments of State, Justice, Homeland Security, Labor, and Health and Human Services. However, the U.S. spends 0.1 percent of its budget on combating human trafficking. Only one tenth of one percent! One year's worth of funding to combat trafficking is the same as three weeks of funding in the "War on Drugs​." If the U.S. is to effectively combat this crime, it's crucial that Congress not cut the small amount of funds already available.

The people of Colorado can actually make a difference in this fight. There is a bill before the Senate — Trafficking Victims Protection Re-authorization Act (TVPRA), Bill S.1301. It is crucial that Senators Udall and Bennett use their influence on the Appropriations Committee and urge the Committee to provide the highest possible funding levels for anti-trafficking and anti-slavery programs across the Federal government. The House of Representatives has yet to complete it's version. The lives of enslaved men, women, and children around the world — and in Colorado — will be directly impacted by any cuts that target these crucial anti-slavery programs.

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