WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate unanimously passed bipartisan legislation co-sponsored by Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) to aid in the fight against human trafficking. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2017 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 should be doing everything in our power to stop human traffickers and give victims the justice they deserve,” said Senator Tillis. “The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2017 will make resources available to survivors of human trafficking and streamline the federal response to prevent and prosecute those responsible for these reprehensible actions.”
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 additionally 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.
A fact sheet on the legislation can be found here.