Reform Rabbis Seek Congressional Passage of Act Ensuring Human Trafficking Remains a Federal Crime

Passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) Is Needed According to Statement Issued by the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR)

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NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Nov 26, 2012) - The Central Conference of American Rabbis, consisting of 2,000 Reform Rabbis, the world's largest group of Jewish clergy, is pushing Congress to pass the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) by the end of the year. If passed, the bill will continue a law that classifies human trafficking as a federal crime and provides assistance programs to survivors. (The current bill would sustain and improve programs set up by Congress' innovative Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000.)

Human trafficking -- the buying and selling of slaves -- has become the world's fastest growing criminal industry, currently the second largest behind drug running, according to a statement by the Central Conference of American Rabbis, North America's largest rabbinic organization. There are an estimated 27 million slaves in the world today -- more than any other time in history.

The renewal of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act "would sustain and improve life-saving U.S. programs that combat slavery around the world and within our borders. In particular, this legislation supports the State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP) -- our government's most important asset for combating modern-day slavery internationally," the statement says.

The rabbis urge both foreign and domestic governments to continue "to support NGOs fighting this injustice, and to educate our communities on the breadth, depth and close proximity of the heinous acts of human trafficking."

"We are called to deliver on the promise our ancestors made to us and that we have made to ourselves, each other and to those whose rights are violated every single day," the statement says.

To arrange a conversation with Rabbi Seth Limmer, Chair of the CCAR Justice & Peace Committee, or Rabbi Steven A. Fox, Chief Executive of the CCAR, please contact Katarina Wenk-Bodenmiller of Sommerfield Communications, Inc. at 617-939-9094 or katarina@sommerfield.com.

The full statement from the CCAR is available below:

Central Conference of American Rabbis Statement on the Importance of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act

Support Needed for Trafficking Victims Protection Act

There are an estimated 27 million slaves in the world today -- more than any other time in history. The buying and selling of these slaves, these people, is called Human Trafficking and is the world's fastest growing criminal industry and is the second largest industry in the world -- second only to drug running.

In 2000, Congress passed an innovative bill called the Trafficking Victims Protection Act to combat modern-day slavery around the world.

That law must be renewed in order to sustain the life-saving programs it established.  

The TVPRA would sustain and improve life-saving U.S. programs that combat slavery around the world and within our borders. In particular, this legislation supports the State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP) -- our government's most important asset for combating modern-day slavery internationally.

We must continue the Reform Movement's legacy of fighting slavery

As far back as 1911 the CCAR "heartily endorsed" efforts to combat human slavery in a resolution against "White Slave Traffic," a known national and international offense to be combatted against with "powerful moral influence to overcome this evil."

And as recently as 2004, the CCAR resolved to urge all governments, both foreign and domestic, to pursue protections for victims as well as prosecute perpetrators of human trafficking, to support NGO's fighting this injustice, and to educate our communities on the breadth, depth and close proximity of the heinous acts of human trafficking.

We are called to deliver on the promise our ancestors made to us and that we have made to ourselves, each other and to those whose rights are violated every single day

The renewal of TVPRA moves us towards making good on these promises. The bill has passed out of committee and it is now up to Congress take the next steps. Sign this letter of support.

Rabbi Seth Limmer, Chair of the CCAR Justice & Peace Committee
Rabbi Rachael Bregman, Member of the CCAR Justice & Peace Committee
Rabbi Steven A. Fox, Chief Executive of the CCAR

ABOUT THE CCAR
The Central Conference of American Rabbis, founded in 1889, is the oldest and largest rabbinic organization in North America. As the professional organization of Reform Rabbis of North America, the CCAR provides religious leadership for North American Jewish Community and projects a powerful voice in the religious life of the American and international Jewish communities. Since its establishment, the CCAR has a rich history of providing religious leadership to the Reform Movement, providing professional and personal support to Reform rabbis and the communities they serve, serving as the center of life-long learning, study, professional development and spiritual growth for Rabbis beginning while they are still in seminary, through mid-careers, and into retirement. The CCAR is uniquely positioned to meet the on-going needs of its nearly 2,000 member rabbis (virtually the entire Reform rabbinate) and the entire Reform Jewish community. For more information, please visit the CCAR's website at http://ccarnet.org.

Contact:

Katarina Wenk-Bodenmiller
Sommerfield Communications, Inc.
(617) 939-9094
katarina@sommerfield.com

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