WHEREAS, trafficking in persons is a form of transnational organized crime to which women and children are particularly vulnerable; and

WHEREAS, human rights cannot be fully realized if women’s and children’s rights are not fully recognized; and

WHEREAS, the United States Government now estimates that 600,000 to 800,000 adults and children are bought and sold across international borders each year and exploited through forced labor or commercial sex exploitation; and

WHEREAS, the Department of Justice estimates that 14,500- 17,500 women and children are being trafficked into the United States annually under false pretenses and are forced to work as prostitutes, abused laborers or servants; and

WHEREAS, the United States has accelerated its response to this challenge at home and abroad; and

WHEREAS, in the year 2000, the United States Congress passed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act which seeks to ensure just and effective punishment of traffickers and provide protection for trafficking victims; and

WHEREAS, those found guilty of human trafficking crimes face significantly increased jail time including up to 20 years in prison from the previous maximum of 10 years for many infractions, and up to life imprisonment under some circumstances; and

WHEREAS, in 2003, the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act was signed into law; and

WHEREAS, since 2002, the US has provided nearly $1.6 million to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, to combat human trafficking internationally; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Department of State has committed approximately $106 million internationally over the past four years to provide training and assistance for foreign government officials, victims’ service providers, and international organizations to raise awareness of the extent of human trafficking; and

WHEREAS, our Departments of State, Justice, and Homeland Security are actively developing an anti-trafficking law enforcement training program with partner countries; and

WHEREAS, Mayors should urge and support foreign governments’ efforts to support and allocate resources to create programs that strengthen preventive measures and actions, in particular, and support educational campaigns that increase public awareness of the issues at national, local and grassroots levels; and

WHEREAS, the Conference of Mayors calls for the creation of a network of organizations incorporating the work and support of local Commissions on Women and Women’s Issues to help devise and strengthen measures to combat and eliminate all forms of trafficking in women including for purposes of commercial sex exploitation, as part of any comprehensive anti-trafficking strategy; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Government as a whole has provided close to $295 million in foreign anti-trafficking programming during the past four years and such assistance is helping foreign governments pass anti-trafficking legislation, identify and prosecute traffickers, and prevent trafficking, as well as support non-governmental organizations in providing care to at-risk populations and trafficking victims; and

WHEREAS, fighting trafficking in persons worldwide is a key Administration priority and engagement at the United Nations has resulted in the first resolution by a United Nations’ body that focuses on eliminating the demand for human trafficking, and that also acknowledges the link between commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking in women, girls and children.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors urges its international counterparts and their respective governments to call for the signing of relevant United Nations legal instruments including appropriate conventions, urge reforms that would criminalize all forms of trafficking in persons, and condemn and prosecute those offenders, including intermediaries, either in the country of origin of the offender or in the country in which related abuses occur; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that for the explicit purposes of strengthening and continuing the fight against transnational trafficking in persons, the U.S. Conference of Mayors urges the 109th Congress to provide its support for H.R.972, the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005, which directs the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Department of State, and the Department of Defense (DOD) to incorporate anti-trafficking and protection measures for vulnerable populations, particularly women and children, into their post-conflict and humanitarian emergency assistance and program activities, and amends the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 to extend the sexually violent offender registration program to foreign offenses; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors applauds the U.S. Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report which includes extensive descriptive accounts of trafficking issues in countries throughout the world and urges the continued production and release of this valuable report and data.

©2005 The U.S. Conference of Mayors
Tom Cochran, Executive Director
1620 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006
Tel. 202.293.7330 ~ Fax 202.293.2352