WASHINGTON D.C. - On December 23, President Bush signed into law a bill that enhances measures to combat human trafficking. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Assistant Secretary John Torres were among 16 federal agency and private organizational leaders in the Oval Office who witnessed the signing of H.R. 7311, the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008. Elyse Smith, daughter of Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), also attended the signing event. The bill, which was passed by voice vote in the House and unanimous consent in the Senate on December 10, authorizes appropriations for FY 2008 through 2011 for the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000.
The legislation enacted today is in keeping with the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005 (which amended the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000) to direct the United States Agency for International Development, the Department of State, and the Department of Defense to incorporate anti-trafficking and protection measures for vulnerable populations, particularly women and children, into their post-conflict and humanitarian emergency assistance and program activities.
Prior to the signing, White House Deputy Press Secretary Tony Fratto, said that the bill "has been a priority issue for the administration in preventing the trafficking of persons around the world. So this is a piece of legislation we're very proud to sign."
The trafficking bill signed today was named after English abolitionist William Wilberforce, who led the Parliamentary movement against the British slave trade in the early 19th century.