On December 10, 2008, Congress passed historic anti-trafficking legislation. The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) passed both the House and the Senate within several hours. That timely victory was more than two years in the making and represents the triumph of one man’s passion and a broad coalition’s power.
It is safe to say that the legislation would not exist without the whole-hearted passion and the incredible commitment, dedication, skill and determination of Michael Horowitz, a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute, who has for over a decade presided over a loose, broad-based coalition of left-right activists who unite in opposition to human slavery and exploitation but differ on almost every other issue. Keeping that group of diverse leaders united and focused is in itself a monumental accomplishment, but satisfying the different expectations required a level of expertise that is rare indeed.
It is also safe to say that the legislative victory would have been impossible without the grassroots involvement of organizations like Concerned Women for America and the Southern Baptist Convention — two conservative groups that have been intimately and extensively involved in the nitty-gritty lobbying and negotiating that were essential to passage of the legislation. It is rare for conservative groups to get headlines for their involvement in what is commonly referred to as “social justice” issues, yet CWA, the Southern Baptists, and the Salvation Army, along with many other evangelical organizations, are usually found in the trenches when such battles are being waged, whether domestically or internationally. Certainly, in the fight against commercial sexual exploitation and labor slavery, conservative leaders are essential to success.
Further, this legislation is an outstanding achievement of the Bush Administration, who first called the crime of human trafficking “modern-day slavery.” From the outset, President George W. Bush was an outspoken champion of those who are sexually exploited and used as a commercial commodity. He spoke at the United Nations and on national broadcasts about the necessity for protecting those women and girls who are entrapped by the criminal networks who traffic in human beings. No doubt, President Bush’s support of anti-trafficking efforts will be a major legacy of the Bush Administration.