WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate this week
unanimously passed a bipartisan bill to aid in the fight against human
trafficking. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2017,
authored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and
cosponsored by Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), would renew existing
programs that make federal resources available to human trafficking survivors
and establish new prevention, prosecution and collaboration initiatives to help
bring the perpetrators to justice. The bill was unanimously passed in the House
of Representatives earlier this year and now must be signed by President Trump
before becoming law.
“We need a united approach to
taking down human traffickers and bringing victims the justice they
deserve. This bill takes meaningful steps to shed light on this terrible
abuse of human rights by improving awareness and streamlining federal law
enforcement’s response. I’m grateful for the Senate’s sweeping support of
this bill to assist victims, and look forward to House action so we can get it
to the President’s desk and on the books,” Grassley said.
trafficking is one of the most reprehensible crimes, and the Trafficking
Victims Protection Act builds on our bipartisan efforts to combat trafficking
and help victims. The key to reducing demand is addressing the exploitation of
young girls on the Internet. The bill provides the Justice Department with
civil injunction authority to get court orders forcing traffickers to remove
their ads for underage girls,” Feinstein said.
Education and public information
is a critical first line of defense against human trafficking. This bill
promotes the screening of human trafficking victims by ensuring that school
resource officers and other school personnel receive training on how to identify
and respond to victims. It also calls for advanced training of federal
investigators who pursue human traffickers.
The legislation also allows
prosecutors to enjoin conduct that violates human trafficking statutes, and
allows the U.S. Secret Service to offer investigative and forensic assistance
to other law enforcement agencies to combat human trafficking.
The legislation improves
coordination among federal agencies through consolidation of federal agency
data reporting at the FBI and by requiring the Homeland Security Department to
submit annual assessments of the human trafficking investigations.
with Grassley and Feinstein, the bill is cosponsored by John Cornyn (R-Texas)
Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Orrin
Hatch (R-Utah), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Patrick
Leahy (D-Vt.), Christopher Coons (D-Del.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Sherrod Brown
(D-Ohio), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.),
John Kennedy (R-La.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Chris Van Hollen
(D-Md.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.),
Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.).
A fact sheet on the legislation
can be found here