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Human Trafficking Legislation

Human Trafficking Legislation

Jennifer Arguinzoni 2/25/2015

In late January, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a package of anti-human trafficking bills which included HR 181 the “Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act” and HR 159 the “Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act” which NCSL supported in the 113th Congress. The United States Senate is poised to take action on S. 178 “The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act” and S. 166 the “Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act” which NCSL also supported in both the 113th Congress and in the 114th Congress. NCSL sent a letter in support of S. 178 on February 9, 2015.  Summaries of major human trafficking legislation introduced in both chambers of Congress are listed in table below.

For more information, please contact Susan Parnas Frederick, susan.frederick@ncsl.org or Jennifer Arguinzoni, jennifer.arguinzoni@ncsl.org  or by phone at 202-624-5400 in NCSL’s Washington, DC office.

 

Major Human Trafficking Legislation in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate
114th Congress

HR 460: “Human Trafficking Detection Act of 2015”
Congressman Mark Walker (NC)

Status: 2/19/2015 Referred to the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations.

  • Directs the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) to implement a program that includes methods for identifying suspected victims and perpetrators of human trafficking, methods for approaching a suspected victim in a manner that is sensitive to the victim, training that is most appropriate for a particular location or environment, and a post-training evaluation of trainees. Authorizes the Secretary, upon request, to provide training curricula to assist any state, local, or tribal government or private organization in establishing its program.

HR 500: Survivors of Human Trafficking Empowerment Act
Congressman Michael M. Honda (CA)

Status: 2/19/2015 Referred to the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations.

  • Establishes the United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking, which shall provide advice and recommendations to the Senior Policy Operating Group and the President's Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. Directs the Council to meet at least annually to review federal government policy and programs intended to combat human trafficking, formulate assessments and recommendations to ensure that U.S. policy and programming efforts conform to best practices in the field of human trafficking prevention, and meet with the Group at least annually to present the Council's findings and recommendations.

HR 345: To make persons who conspire to commit, commit, or benefit from an act of human trafficking ineligible for admission to the United States of America.
Congressman Alan Grayson (FL)

Status: 2/5/2015 Referred to House subcommittee. Referred to the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security.

  • Amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to make an alien who commits or conspires to commit a single human trafficking offense, or assists a trafficker, ineligible for U.S. admission. This bill makes the spouse, son, or daughter of such an inadmissible alien also permanently inadmissible if he or she has obtained a financial or other benefit from that alien's illicit activity, regardless of when the benefit was obtained, and knew that the benefit was the product of such illicit activity.

HR 159: “Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act of 2015”
Congressman Erik Paulsen (MN)

Status: 2/4/2015 Passed in House. Read twice and referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

  • Amends the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to authorize the Attorney General to give preferential consideration in awarding Community Oriented Police Services grants. Amends the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 (VTVPA) to require the Attorney General's annual report on federal agencies. Amends the VTVPA to require the Secretary of Health and Human Services, annually beginning in FY2017, to make grants for a national communication system. Amends the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 to include victims of a severe form of trafficking in persons among those eligible for the Job Corps.

HR 181: “Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015”
Congressman Ted Poe (TX)

Status: 2/4/2015 Passed in House. Read twice and referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

  • Amends the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005 to authorize the Attorney General to make grants to eligible entities. Amends the Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990 to include human trafficking and the production of child pornography. Restricts the use of grant funds for conferences or lobbying. Amends the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 to provide that U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents who are victims of severe forms of trafficking shall not be required to obtain an official certification from the Secretary of Health and Human Services in order to access any of the specialized services or any other federal benefits and protections.

HR 515: “International Megan's Law to Prevent Demand for Child Sex Trafficking”
Congressman Christopher H. Smith (NJ)

Status: 2/4/2015 Passed in House. Read twice and referred to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

  • Directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to establish within the Child Exploitation Investigations Unit of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement the Angel Watch Center. Authorizes the Center to notify a destination country (including its visa-issuing agents in the United States) of impending or current international travel of a child-sex offender. Encourages the President to use authorities under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to assist foreign countries in identifying sex offenders and providing and receiving notification of child sex offender international travel. Amends the TVPA of 2000 to include a country's cooperation with other governments in the investigation and prosecution of such trafficking.

HR 246: “To improve the response to victims of child sex trafficking.”
Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (OH)

Status: 1/28/2015 Passed in House. Read twice and referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

  • Amends the Missing Children's Assistance Act to include among the required uses of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's annual grant to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children operation of a cyber tip line to provide online users and electronic service providers an effective means of reporting Internet-related child sexual exploitation in the area of child sex trafficking, including child prostitution.

HR 350: “Human Trafficking Prevention, Intervention, and Recovery Act of 2015”
Congresswoman Kristi Noem (SD)

Status: 1/28/2015 Passed in House. Read twice and referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

  • Requires the Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking to conduct a review. Requires the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to report to Congress regarding: federal and state law enforcement efforts to combat human trafficking in the United States, and information on each relevant federal grant program. Amends the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 to authorize grants for programs that provide housing assistance to victims of trafficking.

HR 398: “Trafficking Awareness Training for Health Care Act of 2015”
Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (NC)

Status: 1/28/2015 Passed in House. Read twice and referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

  • To provide for the development and dissemination of evidence-based best practices for health care professionals to recognize victims of a severe form of trafficking and respond to such individuals appropriately. Along with the Director for the Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality, the Secretary of Health and Human Services will award grants to competitive schools. The Secretary of Health and Human Services will be in charge of identifying such practices and keeping the appropriate congressional committees informed.

HR 469: “Strengthening Child Welfare Response to Trafficking Act of 2015”
Congresswoman Karen Bass (CA)

Status: 1/28/2015 Passed in House. Read twice and referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

  • Amends the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act to condition eligibility to receive a state grant for child abuse or neglect prevention and treatment programs. Provisions to: identify and assess reports of child human trafficking victims, train representatives of the state, and identify services and procedures for appropriate referral to address the needs of such children. Directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to report to Congress on the specific type and prevalence of severe forms of trafficking in persons, the practices and protocols utilized by states, and any barriers in federal laws or regulations.

HR 468: “Enhancing Services for Runaway and Homeless Victims of Youth Trafficking Act of 2015”
Congressman Joseph Heck (NV)

Status: 1/27/2015 Passed in House. Read twice and referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

  • Amends the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act with respect to grants to states, localities, and private entities to carry out research, evaluation, demonstration, and service projects regarding activities designed to increase knowledge concerning, and to improve services for, runaway youth and homeless youth. Extends the Secretary's authority to make grants to nonprofit private agencies and street-based services for the purpose of providing street-based services to runaway and homeless, and street youth, who have been subjected to, or are at risk of being subjected to, sexual abuse, prostitution, or sexual exploitation.

HR 514: “Human Trafficking Prioritization Act”
Congressman Christopher H. Smith (NJ)

Status: 1/27/2015 Passed in House. Read twice and referred to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

  • The Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking of the Department of State will be more effective in carrying out duties mandated by Congress in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, and can do so without an increase in either personnel or budget; in doing so, the status of the Office will be changed to that of a Bureau. Efficiency will be delegated through an Assistant Secretary that will remain in direct contact with the Secretary of State. 

S 166: Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act of 2015
Senator Amy Klobuchar (MN)

Status: 2/26/2015 Passed unanimously out of the Judicary committee and referred to the Senate floor.

  • Part Q of title I of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3796dd et seq.) is amended so that additional career law enforcement officers may be hired and/or rehired. Amounts made available under this grant will be delegated to the National Human Trafficking Hotline beginning in FY 2017. The Attorney General will implement and maintain a National Strategy for Combating Human Trafficking.

S 178: Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015
Senator John Cornyn (TX)

Status: 2/26/2015 Passed unanimously out of the Judicary committee and referred to the Senate floor.

  • Imposes a special assessment (The Domestic Trafficking Victims Fund) in the amount of $5000 on individuals convicted of peonage, slavery, trafficking, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation and other abuses of children, transportation for illegal sexual activity, and human smuggling. The Attorney General may award block grants to an eligible entity to develop, improve, or expand domestic child human trafficking deterrence programs. The Attorney General, in consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, is authorized to award not more than $7,000,000 of the funds available in the Domestic Trafficking Victims' Fund, established under section 3014 of title 18, United States Code, for each of fiscal years 2016 through 2020. In the first FY, the Inspector General will conduct audits of recipients of a covered grant to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse of funds by grantees.

HR 61: Securing the Assistance of Victims of Exploitation Act of 2015 (SAVE Act)
Congress Sheila Jackson Lee (TX)

Status: 1/26/2015 Referred to House subcommittee on Nutrition.

  • Found by Congress, human trafficking has no place in a civil society; all found engaging in such act will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. State and local law enforcement require the tools and resources necessary to identify, apprehend, and prosecute the criminals who engage in human trafficking. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, none of the funds made available to carry out the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (7 U.S.C. 2011 et seq.) may be used in contravention of section 107(b) of Division A of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 (114 Stat. 1482; 22 U.S.C. 7105(b)).

S 205: Trafficking Awareness Training for Health Care Act of 2015
Senator Bill Cassidy (LA)

Status: 1/21/2015 Read twice and referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

  • No later than 1 yr after enactment, a Grant will be awarded to an eligible school. Not later than 12 months after the receipt of the award, make a sub grant to one entity located near an established anti-human trafficking task force initiative in each of the 10 administrative regions of the Department of Health and Human Services. Not later than 24 months after the receipt of the award, analyze the results of the pilot programs conducted through sub grants. No additional funds are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this Act and the amendments made by this Act, and this Act and such amendments shall be carried out using amounts otherwise available for such purpose.

HR 63: CATCH Traffickers Act of 2015
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (TX)

Status: 1/12/2015 Referred to the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations.

  • Directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to establish and maintain a database to serve as a central location for information from law enforcement agency investigations relating to human trafficking. Requires the head of a law enforcement agency to ensure that information the Secretary determines to be appropriate is entered into the database, and the Attorney General to reduce by 20% the amount of a grant under the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program received by a state or local government the law enforcement agency of which does not substantially comply with such requirement. Permits law enforcement agencies to access the database only in connection with an investigation related to human trafficking.

S 140: Combat Human Trafficking Act of 2015
Senator Diane Feinstein (CA)

Status: 1/8/2015. Read twice and referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

  • The Director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics will prepare an annual report on the rates of arrest, prosecution, and conviction. The report will be sent to: the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives; the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate; the Task Force; the Senior Policy Operating Group established under section 105(g) of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 7103(g)); and the Attorney General. The right to be informed in a timely manner has been added to Section 3771(a) of title 18, United States Code.

S 44: A bill to provide for the expedited processing of unaccompanied alien children illegally entering the United States, and for other purposes.
Senator David Vitter (LA)

Status: 1/7/2015 Read twice and referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

  • Amends the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 to declare that any unaccompanied alien child who has not been a victim of a severe form of trafficking in persons or does not have a credible fear of persecution on returning to his or her country of nationality shall be: placed in removal proceedings, eligible for voluntary departure, and provided with access to counsel. Requires mandatory Department of Homeland Security detention of a UAC apprehended by U.S. Border Patrol or U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Requires Judges to make a decision within 72 hrs.

 

 

 

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