The "Victims of Trafficking and Violence Act of 2000": How the Human Trafficking Problem Became a U.S. Public Policy Issue

Barbara Ann Stolz, US General Accounting Office

ABSTRACT
Although not a recent problem, during the 1990s, the recognition of human trafficking for purposes of forced labor and prostitution as one of the fastest growing areas of international criminal activity affecting most countries of the world raised concerns within the U.S. executive and legislative branches and in the international community. In 2000, Congress passed and President Clinton signed into law the "Victims of Trafficking and Violence Act" (P.L. 106-386). Using the case method to reconstruct the policy-making process that led to the enactment of the act, this presentation will examine the various political factors that help to explain the process and the resulting policy. Specifically, did international considerations or efforts to reassure certain audiences within the U.S. lead the Clinton administration to promote legislative action? What role did interest groups - feminist organizations and human rights organizations from the left and the Religious right - play in the shaping and ultimate enactment of the 2000 act? Were there other factors, still to be determined, that affected the process and final legislation? In so doing, this presentation will contribute to our understanding of how international criminal justice problems become public policy issues and matters of governmental concern in the United States.

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Updated 05/20/2006