Senate Judiciary Committee Urged to Support Bill Measures Aimed at Disrupting the Business of Modern Slavery
Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First today urged the Senate Judiciary Committee to support measures to disrupt the business of human trafficking during its markup of the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015 (S. 178) and the Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act of 2015 (S.166). The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, reintroduced this year by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), addresses key issues affecting victims of sex trafficking and would introduce disincentives for those involved in the horrific criminal enterprise. The Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act, introduced by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), would incentivize states to pass “safe harbor” legislation to protect minor sex trafficking victims from prosecution and instead divert them from juvenile detention to specialized services.
“These bills are very timely and worthy of bi partisan support,” said Marilyn Carlson Nelson, former chairman and CEO of Carlson Global Travel and ambassador to Human Rights First’s Anti-Human Trafficking Campaign. “They protect children, punish those who buy and sell them, and raise funds for victim rehabilitation. Finally legislation that will give law enforcement the tools to disrupt the horrific business model that puts our nations children at risk.”
The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act includes four measures that would enhance current efforts to disrupt the business of human trafficking: improvements to victim restitution and law enforcement reporting, increased victim empowerment in the context of criminal procedures, and further funding and implementation of law enforcement training.
The Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act would incentivize states to divert child sex trafficking victims from the criminal justice system to specialized service providers. The bill would also set up a “National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking,” an effort to coordinate local, state, and tribal law enforcement across the country. Human Rights First supports these provisions, noting that such key protections should be further expanded to apply to all victims of modern slavery, including adults and those fallen prey to labor trafficking.
“Human Trafficking is a multinational, sophisticated, criminal enterprise,” said Human Rights First’s Annick Febrey. “We encourage the committee to support the inclusion of the measures that would improve law enforcement reporting and training, offer greater restitution to victims, and improve protection in criminal proceedings. These are crucial tools needed to increase the number of criminals being brought to justice.”