Anti-trafficking law hailed as a step toward eradicating the problem

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The reauthorization of an anti-trafficking law signed at the White House Dec. 23 was hailed by the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ migration committee as “an important step toward eradicating this scourge.” Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City said in a statement that President George W. Bush had done much to elevate public awareness about human trafficking. He encouraged President-elect Barack Obama and the incoming Congress to “remain vigilant and continue to work to end this abominable practice.” Congress passed the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act Dec. 10. Among the additions to the bill from previous versions are new services and benefits to trafficking victims, said Julianne Duncan, associate director of children’s services for Migration and Refugee Services of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in the same release as Bishop Wester’s comments. The White House said the bill was named for English abolitionist William Wilberforce, who led the parliamentary movement against the British slave trade in the early 19th century. It authorizes appropriations through the 2011 fiscal year.

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