President Bush Signs Victims Protection Act to Combat Human Trafficking
by Jim Kouri
On December 23, President Bush signed into law a bill that enhances measures to combat human trafficking.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Assistant Secretary John Torres were among 16 federal agency and private organizational leaders in the Oval Office who witnessed the signing of H.R. 7311, the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008.
Elyse Smith, daughter of Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), also attended the signing event. The bill, which was passed by voice vote in the House and unanimous consent in the Senate on December 10, authorizes appropriations for FY 2008 through 2011 for the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000.
The legislation enacted today is in keeping with the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005 (which amended the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000) to direct the United States Agency for International Development, the Department of State, and the Department of Defense 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.
Prior to the signing, White House Deputy Press Secretary Tony Fratto, said that the bill "has been a priority issue for the administration in preventing the trafficking of persons around the world. So this is a piece of legislation we're very proud to sign."
The trafficking bill signed today was named after English abolitionist William Wilberforce, who led the Parliamentary movement against the British slave trade in the early 19th century.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the largest investigative agency in the Department of Homeland Security, has responsibility for enforcing laws related to human smuggling and trafficking. As a result, ICE plays a leading role in The Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center (HSTC), the federal government's primary tool in the fight against human smuggling and trafficking.
The HSTC was formally established under Section 7202 of the Intelligence Reform Act and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. The secretary of state, the secretary of homeland security, the attorney general and members of the national intelligence community jointly oversee the HSTC through a high-level interagency steering group.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.