U.S. Anti-Trafficking Legislation




The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) enacted in 2000, and subsequently reauthorized in 2003, 2005, 2008, and 2013 is the main U.S. federal legal instrument to address trafficking in persons.

Using the “3 P” approach, the TVPA provides for –

  • prosecution of perpetrators of trafficking in persons by establishing the crimes of trafficking in persons and listing the punishments,
  • protection of victims of trafficking by creating a bill of rights for victims, including the right to medical care, shelter, restitution, civil remedy, residency status, work permit, access to information, and
  • prevention of trafficking by allowing for programs and grants to increase awareness on human trafficking.


The TVPA addresses both trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation and labor exploitation.

Definition of “severe forms of trafficking in persons” in Section 108 (3) of the TVPA:

(A) sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion,  or in which the person induced to perform  such act has not attained 18 years of age; or (B) the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for  labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of  subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.


The TVPA in 5 Colors:

“The TVPA in 5 Colors” is a publication by The Protection Project showing The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 and all its amendments made in 2003, 2005, 2008, and 2013 in a single document in a color-coded user-friendly format. To access the publication please click here: The TVPA in 5 Colors.


Other Relevant U.S. Laws:


1581(a) – Peonage; obstructing enforcement1583 – Enticement into slavery
1584 – Sale into involuntary servitude
1589 – Forced labor
1590 – Trafficking with respect to peonage, slavery, involuntary servitude, or forced labor
1591 – Sex trafficking of children or by forced fraud or coercion
1592 – Unlawful conduct with respect to documents in furtherance of trafficking, peonage, slavery, involuntary servitude, or forced labor
1593 – Mandatory restitution
1594 – General provisions




A T-Visa is a type of visa that allows foreign victims of trafficking in persons and their families to remain in the United States. A person may be eligible for a T-Visa if she or he:

  • is a victim of a severe form of trafficking in persons,
  • would suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm upon removal from the United States,
  • is physically present in the United States, and
  • has complied with any reasonable request for assistance in the investigation or prosecution of acts of trafficking or is under the age of 18.


T VISA Application (PDF)


Copyright © 2017 The Protection Project



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