132 Children’s Legal Rights Journal [Vol. 39:2 2019]
Protection and social services for victims must play a central role in the fight against human
trafficking. Victims are often traumatized after experiencing great psychological and physical
abuse in the course of trafficking. Efforts must be made to assist victims to recover and
successfully reintegrate into society. Victims can also serve as witnesses in the criminal justice
process, and they can help prosecute their traffickers. It is therefore vital that appropriate support
services and protection be offered to victims to enable them to rebuild their lives, become
functioning members of society, and to provide stability during an often traumatic and stressful
criminal justice process.
The next part of this paper provides a brief overview of the major federal legislation on
human trafficking in the United States and highlights the most significant provisions of each law.
The third part examines the national legal framework on human trafficking in the United Kingdom.
Vital provisions are described that could be incorporated into U.S. law to improve protection and
services for trafficking victims, with children as the main focus. Finally, the fourth part examines
how these amendments might be construed, why they are necessary, and some challenges that
might be encountered along the way.
II. OVERVIEW OF U.S. FEDERAL LAWS ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING
The TVPA defined the crime of human trafficking5 and provided several mechanisms to
combat it. Specifically, § 104 of the TVPA amended the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 by
requiring that the U.S. State Department’s annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
(Reports) include a description of the nature and extent of severe forms of trafficking in persons
(as defined in § 103 of the TVPA).6 The Reports, which each focus on an individual country, must
also contain an assessment of the foreign government’s efforts to combat trafficking.7
Section 105 of the TVPA established an interagency task force to monitor and combat
trafficking.8 The TVPA itself established human trafficking and related offenses as federal crimes
and attached severe penalties to them.9 It also mandated that restitution be paid to victims of human
trafficking adjudicated in the criminal justice process.10 The TVPA further protected victims and
survivors of human trafficking by establishing the T-Visa, which allows human trafficking victims
and their families to become temporary U.S. residents who are eligible to become permanent
residents after three years.11
The TVPA was reauthorized through the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization
Acts (TVPRAs) of2003,2005,2008, and2013. The reauthorizations made incremental
improvements in the federal legal framework on human trafficking in the following ways:
a) The TVPRA of 2003 established a federal civil right of action for trafficking victims
to sue their traffickers.12 It also added human trafficking to the list of crimes that can
5 18 U.S.C. §§ 1589-1591 (2012).
6 22 U.S.C. § 2151n (2012).
8 Trafficking Victims Protection Act § 105.
9 Id. § 112.
10 Id. §§ 111–12.
11 Id. § 107.
12 Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2003, Pub. L. No. 108-193, § 4, 117 Stat. 2875 (2003)
(codified as amended at 22 U.S.C. § 1595 (2012)).