As part of USAID’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence we wanted to share with you some information on an issue that the Congressional Women’s Caucus has been working on diligently to end across the globe: human trafficking.

According to Department of State estimates, roughly 800,000 people are trafficked across borders each year. If trafficking within countries is included in the total world figures, official U.S. estimates indicate that some 2 to 4 million people are trafficked annually.  On June 14, 2010, the State Department issued its 10th annual report on human trafficking.  We were pleased that members of the bipartisan Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues got to sit down with Luis CdeBaca, the Ambassador-at-Large for the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons for the State Department, to discuss this report and the status of U.S. anti-trafficking efforts.

Part of this discussion included the reauthorization of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which combats sex trafficking and labor trafficking across the globe by increasing the penalties for traffickers and providing assistance for victims.   It is vital that we continue to revise this measure, ensuring the State Department has the authority needed to combat trafficking.

This reauthorization would increase monitoring on child labor within the United States.  It would also focus our assistance on the most vulnerable populations abroad, looking at post-conflict situations and humanitarian emergencies for those in need.  As this measure moves through the legislative process, the Women’s Caucus will provide input to strengthen our country’s ability to combat trafficking.  The victimization of women, children and exploited workers cannot be tolerated and Congress should continue to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.