The Trafficking Victims Protection Act: Has the Legislation Fallen Short of its Goals? Open Access
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This analysis examines the immigration status that the United States government affords to individuals who are willing to meet the requirements of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000, commonly known as the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA). This article presents the legislative history of the TVPA with an emphasis on the factors that heighten the tension between the interests of trafficking victims and those of the government. Available immigration relief is not truly "relief" unless it is accessible to those who need it, that is, those for whom Congress designated this type of visa status. Likewise, legislation that designates an action as criminal is fruitless unless it provides for effective investigations and enforcement. As crucial as it is to punish and deter traffickers, the special nature of this crime necessitates that the victims, who are central to the role of law enforcement, receive ample protection. In conclusion, the author suggests seven policy recommendations to improve the government's ability to punish and deter human traffickers while protecting the victims of these crimes.