A D V O C A T E

(v. ad-vuh-keyt; n. ad-vuh-kit, -keyt)

noun
: a person who argues for or supports a cause or policy
: a person who works for a cause or group
: a person who argues for the cause of : another person in a court of law
verb
: to support or argue for (a cause, policy, etc.)

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It is quite possible, and indeed it is our hope, that the more you learn about this violation of human rights that we call “human trafficking” and the sheer number of lives terrorized and destroyed by it, the more you will be compelled to speak up on behalf of those whose voices cannot be heard. Legislators are working hard to pass laws to protect and serve the victims. Some may need a little coaxing from constituents to help guide their attention to the issues before them.

Will you be that voice? It may require some research to see what bills are coming before the House and what they mean. This is a good place to start.

You can keep an eye on what bills are currently being introduced to U.S Legislators and see where they are in the process (Introduced, Passed House, Passed Senate, To President, Became law)

Upon introduction of a bill or resolution in the House or Senate, legislative analysts in the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress write a short summary that objectively describes the measure’s significant provisions. Introduced version summaries are subject to length limitations as a matter of policy.

When a measure receives action (e.g., it is reported from a committee or passed by the House or Senate), the analysts then write an expanded summary, detailing the measure’s effect upon programs and current law. Bill summaries are written as a result of a congressional action and may not always correspond to a document published by the Government Publishing Office. A final public law summary is prepared upon enactment into law.

Each summary description identifies the date and version of the measure, and indicates whether there have been amendments: e.g., Passed House amended (07/19/2013). (Congress.gov retrieved April, 2017)

Some examples of Bills introduced in January of 2017 are:
H.R.53 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)

Coordinated Assistance To Catch Human Traffickers Act of 2017 or the CATCH Traffickers Act of 2017
This bill directs the Department of Homeland Security to establish and maintain a national database for human trafficking investigations.
It requires a federal, state, or local law enforcement agency that conducts a human trafficking investigation to enter information into the database. The Department of Justice must reduce by 20{588d8ea4a95efe8fc4d25cb776b6735acb423b104e2d3927a5a8973d8394bdd4} the allocation of funds under the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program for a state or local government that fails to comply.

A review of all of the State of California Human Trafficking legislation can be found here:
https://oag.ca.gov/human-trafficking/legislation

Key law enforcement agencies include:

  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI): The FBI is the chief investigate agency for human trafficking on the federal level (FBI, n.d.).
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE): the largest investigative agency in Department of Homeland Security, ICE has the primary responsibility to investigate human trafficking internally and abroad. (DHS, 2010).
  • U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division: has the primary responsibility of prosecuting trafficking cases in the U.S. It works closely with the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security/Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and local law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute cases.
  • State and Local Law Enforcement: Work closely with federal partners to conduct investigations. Their knowledge of the community, contacts with local informants, ability to conduct undercover investigations quickly and existing relationships with local victim service programs and non-governmental agencies make them key to the successful investigation and quick response to the needs of the victims (IACP, n.d.).
  • U.S. Attorney’s Office: The federal entity for the prosecution of human trafficking under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA).
  • State Attorney Genereal’s Office/District Attorney’s Offices: Provide investigative support, victim assistance, and prosecution under the TVPA.

Contact information for these agencies can be found on our Community page

Other resources to check out:

The Polaris Project is a leading organization in the United States combating all forms of human trafficking and serving both U.S. citizens and foreign national victims, including men, women, and children.


Polaris keeps a page of current Human Trafficking bills and political issues you can click on and send a letter to your representative at:
https://polarisproject.org/action/

To find your representative in the US House of Representatives:

http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 224-3121
TTY: (202)-225-1904

Find out who your Senator is at:
https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm?OrderBy=state&Sort=ASC

You can direct postal correspondence to your Senator or to other U.S. Senate offices at the following address:

For correspondence to U.S. Senators:
Office of Senator (Name)
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

For correspondence to Senate Committees:
(Name of Committee)
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

In Central California:

Rep. Jim Costa

District: FH-CA16
Phone:(202) 225-3341
Fax:(202) 225-9308
Email:congressmanjimcosta@mail.house.gov

Sen. Dianne Feinstein

Phone:(202) 224-3841
Fax:(202) 228-3954

Sen. Kamala Harris

Phone:(202) 224-3553
Fax:(202) 228-3863