USA (MNN) — Thanks to a new law, human traffickers in the U.S. will have to finance their victims’ recovery.
Signed into law Friday evening by President Obama, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Law of 2015 achieves two goals: combating traffickers and helping victims.
It achieves the first by teaching those on the “front-lines” (law enforcement officers, healthcare workers, etc.) how to identify trafficking victims, and it imposes harsher punishments on traffickers who are caught.
Trafficking survivors are assisted through the Domestic Trafficking Victims Fund, which is primarily bankrolled by criminal fines imposed on traffickers and money set aside by Congress.
“It moves forward to attack a $9.8 billion industry here in the United States alone that impacts over 300,000 American children–let alone all the others that are trafficked from overseas,” says U.S. Congressman Tim Walburg.
While domestic in focus, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Law sends a global message.
“It definitely says to the international community that if you come here, we’re going after you,” Walburg states. “And, we’re going after you with greater resources and tools than we’ve ever had before.”
That’s good news to Vision Beyond Borders (VBB) president Patrick Klein.
“It will help set a precedent around the world, [and] hopefully we’ll see more governments saying, ‘You know what? We’re not going to allow this,'” Klein says.
VBB works extensively in Southeast Asia, where roughly 34% of people trafficked to the U.S. between 2010 and 2012 originally call “home.” According to the UN’s 2014 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, over 20% of all foreigners trafficked to the U.S. during that period of time were sexually exploited.
Through their Vision for Women and Vision for Children ministries, VBB constructs and provides support for safe houses and outreach programs to rescue women and children ensnared in human trafficking.
As VBB partners introduce these broken populations to their Savior, Klein says the transformation is indescribable.
“These women are just beautiful,” he says. “They are radiant; they love Jesus.”
“The Church, God’s people, [has] an opportunity to minister to these [women], who the world would say [are] throwaways,” says Klein.
“We’re there as ambassadors for Christ and to show them the love of God.”