President George W. Bush has signed legislation renewing the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, which was the first comprehensive U.S. law aimed at deterring human trafficking, punishing traffickers, and protecting and rehabilitating the victims. Human trafficking is a modern day form of slavery that involves 600 to 800 thousand women, children, and men who are used in forced prostitution, as well as forced labor in factories, fields, restaurants, and homes.
Mr. Bush said human trafficking is a "perverse form of evil" that exploits and hurts vulnerable members of society:
"Human traffickers operate with greed and without conscience, treating their victims as nothing more than goods and commodities for sale to the highest bidder. In recent years, hundreds of thousands of people around the world have been trafficked against their will, across international boundaries, and many have been forced into sexual servitude. Thousands of teenagers and young girls are trafficked into the United States every year. They're held hostage. They're forced to submit to unspeakable evil. America has a particular duty to fight this horror because human trafficking is an affront to the defining promise of our country."
The renewed U.S. anti-trafficking law authorizes new funds to the Federal Bureau of Investigation to combat both domestic and international trafficking. It expands funding for anti-trafficking programs in the United States that seek to reduce the demand for commercial sex by holding those who purchase sex accountable, and seeks to combat specific problems such as international peacekeepers who participate in human trafficking or by U.S. federal employees and contractors working overseas. Mr. Bush said the United States will continue to call on other nations to take action against trafficking:
"Three years ago, at the United Nations, I asked other governments to pass laws making human trafficking a crime. Since then, many have risen to the challenge. Secretary [of State Condoleezza] Rice and I will continue to press the others to rise to the challenge."
The United States, said President Bush, "will not tolerate an industry that preys on the young and the vulnerable."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.