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President Obama Expected to Sign Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) into Effect on Thursday, March 7, 2013

Together We Did It!: Support and Awareness About the Issue From Anti-Slavery Groups Like CAST Helped Bring Legislators Together to Support the Bill’s Passage

LOS ANGELES – (March 6, 2013) - President Obama is expected to sign the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) (part of the passage of the Violence Against Women Act) this Thursday, March 7, 2013. The bill was passed by the Senate three weeks ago and by the House of Representatives on February 28, 2013, with an overwhelming majority of 286 -138.

The TVPRA expired in 2011, which placed important anti-trafficking initiatives, such as support services for victims, law enforcement investigations, and prevention measures, at risk. As an organization that works in the trenches, the Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking (CAST) celebrates the passing of the TPVRA because it will have a direct impact on protecting survivors of modern day slavery, and helping them to rebuild their lives in freedom and dignity.

"As a survivor of human trafficking, I counted on the protections I received because of the TVPA,” said Ima Matul, a former client and CAST Survivor Organizer. “Now that Congress has reauthorized this important law and the President will sign it, I am confident that more survivors like me will come forward knowing that services available at organizations like CAST will protect them and help them to rebuild their lives. That‘s what CAST did for me."

The reality of human trafficking is very real, as seen by the increased demand for CAST services in just the past year.

“In 2012 we saw a 49 percent increase in survivor intakes, and we are anticipating even larger growth in 2013, as we are already up an additional 47 percent so far this fiscal year,” said Kay Buck, Chief Operating Officer at Los Angeles-based CAST. “The passing of this Act is critical in allowing CAST to continue to create awareness and provide services to the survivors that have endured such horrific acts of violence and abuse.”

“On behalf of the survivors who seek refuge at CAST, we thank the legislators who came together with bi-partisan support for the bill’s passage – and all of the people who took the time to call their senators and representatives urging them to vote for the bill,” Buck added. “Together, we did it! Modern-Day Slavery: It Ends With Us.”

ABOUT THE COALITION TO ABOLISH SLAVERY AND TRAFFICKING (CAST)

Established by Dr. Kathryn MacMahon in Los Angeles in 1998, CAST (www.castla.org) is a not-for-profit, multi-ethnic, multi-lingual human rights organization dedicated to serving survivors of human trafficking and modern-day slavery. CAST’s mission is to assist persons trafficked for the purpose of forced labor and slavery-like practices and to work toward ending all instances of such human rights violations.

CAST provides comprehensive long-term services through a three-pronged empowerment approach, which includes Social Services, Legal Services, and Outreach and Training. The organization also operates the first shelter in the nation solely dedicated to serving victims of trafficking and established the first partnership of its kind with Saban Free Clinic – a family clinic in Los Angeles trained to address the health and mental health needs of trafficking victims.

CAST has been nationally and internationally recognized for its dedication to the identification of trafficking survivors, the mobilization of all sectors of the community to identify and advocate against trafficking, and the provision of direct services for victims.

CAST will be hosting its 15th Annual From Slavery to Freedom Gala in Los Angeles this May. Please come and help us celebrate the changes that occur when a coalition of diverse and dedicated community members, business leaders, volunteers, donors, students and survivors come together to make a difference. For inquiries, please contact Wendy Santana at wendy@castla.org.