Allison Mack of the TV series “Smallville,” and former Middletown Police Officer James Keenan are facing justice for their alleged human trafficking crimes thanks to a law conceived, championed and passed into law through the leadership and tenacity of Congressman Chris Smith.
Smith’s landmark Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (PL 106-386) is the law being enforced in the recent high-profile indictment of a trafficking ring in New York that involved Mack and the indictment of Keenan on child sex trafficking charges.
“This law, the TVPA, sends a message to traffickers of the gravity of their offense,” Rep. Smith, co-chair of the Congressional Human Trafficking Caucus, stated.
“Nearly 20 years ago, I wrote the landmark law to combat modern-day slavery which, as these particular cases show, happens all around us right under our noses,” Smith said. “According to the International Labor Organization, human trafficking in the private economy generates $150 billion in illegal profits per year, and 4.8 million people are exploited in sex trafficking. Laws like the TVPA are critical to fighting this menace, and for helping victims.”
The TVPA sets up long prison sentences and asset confiscation for traffickers as well as tough sanctions for governments that fail to meet minimum standards in fighting trafficking. The law provides harsh punishments for child sex trafficking, and also provides for assistance to trafficking victims such as shelter and political asylum.
Smith’s anti-human trafficking law applies both domestically and internationally. It has been reauthorized four times since it was enacted. The most recent reauthorization, the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act (H.R. 2200), passed the House last July and is now pending in the Senate.