The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Act of 2000: The Role of Interest Groups - Domestic and International - in the Congressional Policy-Making Process

Barbara Ann Stolz, US General Accounting Office

In 2000, Congress passed and President Clinton signed into law the "Victims of Trafficking and Violence Act" (P.L. 106-386) to respond to various dimensions of human trafficking in the U.S. and abroad. Using the case method to reconstruct the policy-making proess leading to legislation, this presentation examines the role played by interest groups (defined to include nongovernmental organizations and government agencies when they act as interest groups). Specifically, the presentation identifies and discusses the articulated goals and positions of participating groups, issues raised by various groups, and the techniques used to influence the decision-making process. Political scientist have used to concept of interest groups to explain political decision making. Although the role played by such groups varies among policy arenas and within an arena over time, they have played a role in criminal justice policy making and did participate in discussions surrounding the 2000 human trafficking legislation. Accordingly, a case study of the human trafficking legislation will contribute to our understanding of criminal justice policy making with the United States. In addition, because human trafficking involves international dimensions, the case study also provides an example of how issues with wider implications are handled int he congressional context.

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Updated 05/20/2006