POLICY / ADVOCACY

“Too often, survivors of human trafficking are either excluded from the anti-trafficking movement or are only included to share their individual traumatic stories. The community created in the National Survivor Network (NSN) allows us to go beyond our own background to advocate for a broader, more inclusive range of survivor experiences. As we advocate for policy change at the federal, state and local level, we are able to represent not just our individual history, but the experience of countless survivors.”
–Deborah Pembrook, NSN Speaker’s Bureau/ Consultant Certification Chair

Members of the National Survivor Network (NSN) have become influential advocates. The impact of our voices has led to stronger legislative policies and greater public awareness. Every year, members of the NSN identify key pieces of federal legislation that they believe are most important to the prevention of human trafficking and the protection of human trafficking victims.

2017–2018 Policy Priorities

I. Trafficking Survivors Relief Act (TSRA) S104/HR49

TSRA is a federal law to vacate and expunge the criminal arrests and convictions of individuals who are victims of trafficking. This bill will allow survivors to move beyond the federal crimes they were forced into committing while victims of trafficking. It will give court a process to determine and grant vacatur for those crimes directly related to their trafficking victimization.

NSN will champion the passage of TSRA at the federal level in order to help establish the gold standard for states to model their own vacatur laws after. There are many states with very limited vacatur laws that do not give the full scope of crimes victims are forced into committing by their traffickers.

II. Implementation and Updates to The United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking / Voices of Human Trafficking Act

In 2015 the President signed into law the Survivors of Human Trafficking Empowerment Act (Sec. 115 of Public Law 114-22). This Act established the United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking, which s provides advice and recommendations to the Senior Policy Operating Group and the President’s Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.

NSN Priorities for continuing to assist the Council are to work on removing the sunset clause, allowing the council to become a permanent part of the Anti-Trafficking efforts of the government. To remove the language that is a barrier to paying the council for the time and expertise. As well as add language that authorizes funding for the council to compensate time, travel, and any materials required in the general operations and creation of the annual report.

We also continue to engage with the Department of State and the White House on the appointment of additional council members—as only 11 have been appointed but 14 members are eligible.

III. Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States 2013-2017- Department of Health and Human Services

In 2013, the US government finalized its five year strategic action plan to improve government coordination to prevent, identify and serve survivors of human trafficking. This strategic plan is a available for review below.

In 2017 the NSN will focus on ensuring the Department of HHS is effectively fulfilling its commitments in this long-term plan from a survivor-informed perspective. As well as offering our services to them for the continuation of this endeavor.

IV. Department of State-Implementation of Consular Videos required under TVPRA of 2013

The TVPRA of 2013 required the US government to begin showing videos to educate all temporary workers entering the United States on the risk of human trafficking and provide information about how to reach out for help. The video produced under this mandate is available for viewing by clicking the button below.

In 2017 the NSN will work with the Department of State to ensure the video and other information provided to those entering the United States is accessible and survivor informed. To overcome some general assumptions on language use, as well as barriers that have been identified by survivors of trafficking with the current video and brochure.

Policy Leadership Team

NAT PAUL

Policy Advocacy Chair

Beth Jacobs

Policy Champion

Founder of Willoway; Field Trainer at Truckers against Trafficking

Samantha Floyd

Policy Champion

Tanya Street

Policy Champion

Founder/President, Identifiable Me