22 U.S.C. § 7101 : US Code - Section 7101: Purposes and findings

Search 22 U.S.C. § 7101 : US Code - Section 7101: Purposes and findings

    (a) Purposes
      The purposes of this chapter are to combat trafficking in
    persons, a contemporary manifestation of slavery whose victims are
    predominantly women and children, to ensure just and effective
    punishment of traffickers, and to protect their victims.
    (b) Findings
      Congress finds that:
        (1) As the 21st century begins, the degrading institution of
      slavery continues throughout the world. Trafficking in persons is
      a modern form of slavery, and it is the largest manifestation of
      slavery today. At least 700,000 persons annually, primarily women
      and children, are trafficked within or across international
      borders. Approximately 50,000 women and children are trafficked
      into the United States each year.
        (2) Many of these persons are trafficked into the international
      sex trade, often by force, fraud, or coercion. The sex industry
      has rapidly expanded over the past several decades. It involves
      sexual exploitation of persons, predominantly women and girls,
      involving activities related to prostitution, pornography, sex
      tourism, and other commercial sexual services. The low status of
      women in many parts of the world has contributed to a burgeoning
      of the trafficking industry.
        (3) Trafficking in persons is not limited to the sex industry.
      This growing transnational crime also includes forced labor and
      involves significant violations of labor, public health, and
      human rights standards worldwide.
        (4) Traffickers primarily target women and girls, who are
      disproportionately affected by poverty, the lack of access to
      education, chronic unemployment, discrimination, and the lack of
      economic opportunities in countries of origin. Traffickers lure
      women and girls into their networks through false promises of
      decent working conditions at relatively good pay as nannies,
      maids, dancers, factory workers, restaurant workers, sales
      clerks, or models. Traffickers also buy children from poor
      families and sell them into prostitution or into various types of
      forced or bonded labor.
        (5) Traffickers often transport victims from their home
      communities to unfamiliar destinations, including foreign
      countries away from family and friends, religious institutions,
      and other sources of protection and support, leaving the victims
      defenseless and vulnerable.
        (6) Victims are often forced through physical violence to
      engage in sex acts or perform slavery-like labor. Such force
      includes rape and other forms of sexual abuse, torture,
      starvation, imprisonment, threats, psychological abuse, and
      coercion.
        (7) Traffickers often make representations to their victims
      that physical harm may occur to them or others should the victim
      escape or attempt to escape. Such representations can have the
      same coercive effects on victims as direct threats to inflict
      such harm.
        (8) Trafficking in persons is increasingly perpetrated by
      organized, sophisticated criminal enterprises. Such trafficking
      is the fastest growing source of profits for organized criminal
      enterprises worldwide. Profits from the trafficking industry
      contribute to the expansion of organized crime in the United
      States and worldwide. Trafficking in persons is often aided by
      official corruption in countries of origin, transit, and
      destination, thereby threatening the rule of law.
        (9) Trafficking includes all the elements of the crime of
      forcible rape when it involves the involuntary participation of
      another person in sex acts by means of fraud, force, or coercion.
        (10) Trafficking also involves violations of other laws,
      including labor and immigration codes and laws against
      kidnapping, slavery, false imprisonment, assault, battery,
      pandering, fraud, and extortion.
        (11) Trafficking exposes victims to serious health risks. Women
      and children trafficked in the sex industry are exposed to deadly
      diseases, including HIV and AIDS. Trafficking victims are
      sometimes worked or physically brutalized to death.
        (12) Trafficking in persons substantially affects interstate
      and foreign commerce. Trafficking for such purposes as
      involuntary servitude, peonage, and other forms of forced labor
      has an impact on the nationwide employment network and labor
      market. Within the context of slavery, servitude, and labor or
      services which are obtained or maintained through coercive
      conduct that amounts to a condition of servitude, victims are
      subjected to a range of violations.
        (13) Involuntary servitude statutes are intended to reach cases
      in which persons are held in a condition of servitude through
      nonviolent coercion. In United States v. Kozminski, 487 U.S. 931
      (1988), the Supreme Court found that section 1584 of title 18,
      should be narrowly interpreted, absent a definition of
      involuntary servitude by Congress. As a result, that section was
      interpreted to criminalize only servitude that is brought about
      through use or threatened use of physical or legal coercion, and
      to exclude other conduct that can have the same purpose and
      effect.
        (14) Existing legislation and law enforcement in the United
      States and other countries are inadequate to deter trafficking
      and bring traffickers to justice, failing to reflect the gravity
      of the offenses involved. No comprehensive law exists in the
      United States that penalizes the range of offenses involved in
      the trafficking scheme. Instead, even the most brutal instances
      of trafficking in the sex industry are often punished under laws
      that also apply to lesser offenses, so that traffickers typically
      escape deserved punishment.
        (15) In the United States, the seriousness of this crime and
      its components is not reflected in current sentencing guidelines,
      resulting in weak penalties for convicted traffickers.
        (16) In some countries, enforcement against traffickers is also
      hindered by official indifference, by corruption, and sometimes
      even by official participation in trafficking.
        (17) Existing laws often fail to protect victims of
      trafficking, and because victims are often illegal immigrants in
      the destination country, they are repeatedly punished more
      harshly than the traffickers themselves.
        (18) Additionally, adequate services and facilities do not
      exist to meet victims' needs regarding health care, housing,
      education, and legal assistance, which safely reintegrate
      trafficking victims into their home countries.
        (19) Victims of severe forms of trafficking should not be
      inappropriately incarcerated, fined, or otherwise penalized
      solely for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being
      trafficked, such as using false documents, entering the country
      without documentation, or working without documentation.
        (20) Because victims of trafficking are frequently unfamiliar
      with the laws, cultures, and languages of the countries into
      which they have been trafficked, because they are often subjected
      to coercion and intimidation including physical detention and
      debt bondage, and because they often fear retribution and
      forcible removal to countries in which they will face retribution
      or other hardship, these victims often find it difficult or
      impossible to report the crimes committed against them or to
      assist in the investigation and prosecution of such crimes.
        (21) Trafficking of persons is an evil requiring concerted and
      vigorous action by countries of origin, transit or destination,
      and by international organizations.
        (22) One of the founding documents of the United States, the
      Declaration of Independence, recognizes the inherent dignity and
      worth of all people. It states that all men are created equal and
      that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable
      rights. The right to be free from slavery and involuntary
      servitude is among those unalienable rights. Acknowledging this
      fact, the United States outlawed slavery and involuntary
      servitude in 1865, recognizing them as evil institutions that
      must be abolished. Current practices of sexual slavery and
      trafficking of women and children are similarly abhorrent to the
      principles upon which the United States was founded.
        (23) The United States and the international community agree
      that trafficking in persons involves grave violations of human
      rights and is a matter of pressing international concern. The
      international community has repeatedly condemned slavery and
      involuntary servitude, violence against women, and other elements
      of trafficking, through declarations, treaties, and United
      Nations resolutions and reports, including the Universal
      Declaration of Human Rights; the 1956 Supplementary Convention on
      the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade, and Institutions and
      Practices Similar to Slavery; the 1948 American Declaration on
      the Rights and Duties of Man; the 1957 Abolition of Forced Labor
      Convention; the International Covenant on Civil and Political
      Rights; the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman
      or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; United Nations General
      Assembly Resolutions 50/167, 51/66, and 52/98; the Final Report
      of the World Congress against Sexual Exploitation of Children
      (Stockholm, 1996); the Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing,
      1995); and the 1991 Moscow Document of the Organization for
      Security and Cooperation in Europe.
        (24) Trafficking in persons is a transnational crime with
      national implications. To deter international trafficking and
      bring its perpetrators to justice, nations including the United
      States must recognize that trafficking is a serious offense. This
      is done by prescribing appropriate punishment, giving priority to
      the prosecution of trafficking offenses, and protecting rather
      than punishing the victims of such offenses. The United States
      must work bilaterally and multilaterally to abolish the
      trafficking industry by taking steps to promote cooperation among
      countries linked together by international trafficking routes.
      The United States must also urge the international community to
      take strong action in multilateral fora to engage recalcitrant
      countries in serious and sustained efforts to eliminate
      trafficking and protect trafficking victims.