The NCSL Blog

23

By Jennifer Arguinzoni

The U.S. Senate passed the "Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act" (S. 178) on Wednesday.

NCSL not only assisted in the drafting of anti-trafficking provisions in this bill, which was sponsored by Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas), but also supported this and other similar anti-trafficking legislation. The bill now goes to the U.S. House of Representatives for a final vote. The president is expected to sign this legislation into law.

This is a comprehensive anti-trafficking bill that addresses all aspects of human trafficking, including law enforcement training, to better identify and apprehend traffickers. It also addresses all aspects of victims’ services and restitution.

  • This legislation seeks to create The Domestic Trafficking Victims Fund, which will be bifurcated between money that can be used only for nonmedical/healthcare services and money that can be used for all purposes including medical and healthcare services. The nonmedical funding stream will be used for law enforcement, task forces and other criminal justice purposes relating to human trafficking. The medical and healthcare funding stream will be used for health and medical-related victims’ services. This funding mechanism will not adversely affect existing federal criminal justice funding streams to states, but supplement them. It also avoids the traditional and lengthy appropriations process.
  • This bill would permit state and local human trafficking task forces to obtain wiretap warrants through state court processes without needing to first obtain federal approval. This will allow states to move swiftly in apprehending child predators.

We need your help! Please reach out of members of the U.S. House of Representatives leadership especially Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to urge them to accept the Senate version and quickly place it on the House floor for immediate passage. We also encourage you to contact your own congressional delegation and urge them to vote in favor of this legislation.

Tell them:

  • This is the first comprehensive anti-trafficking bill that benefits both state law enforcement and victims and is greatly needed to support state efforts to combat this growing crime.
  • The Domestic Victims Trafficking Fund, which is the funding mechanism contained in this bill, proves the quickest way for states to receive much needed funding for law enforcement and victims’ services.
  • The best way to combat trafficking is through a federal/state partnership of shared resources and expertise which this legislation will accomplish.

Jennifer Arguinzoni is a senior policy specialist at NCSL and is based out of the Washington, D.C. office.

Email Jennifer.

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About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.