U.S. Rep. Susan W. Brooks (R-Ind.5) applauded today’s bipartisan passage of several House of Representatives bills aiming to eliminate human trafficking in the United States.
“Too few people realize human trafficking is a fast-growing and multi-billion dollar industry in the United States,” Congresswoman Brooks said. “This is an unacceptable problem that leaves physical and emotional scars on its victims. We must continue to work together until there are no more victims of this horrendous crime – which is modern day slavery.”
Starting with the passage of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act in 2000, Congress has taken several steps over the years to address the issue of human trafficking. However, many problems still exist which hamper efforts to prosecute human traffickers and prevent victims from receiving the support they need. The bills passed by the House today address these issues on several fronts.
“I’m particularly pleased legislation passed today ensures advertising for the commercial exploitation of trafficking victims is a federal crime,” Brooks said. “I’m also encouraged by legislation supporting the adoption of safe harbor laws at the state level so that those being trafficked are treated as victims rather than criminals and receive the counseling and rehabilitation they need.”
As United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, Congresswoman Brooks advocated for victims and efforts to curb human trafficking. In 2006, she worked to establish the Indiana Protection of Abused and Trafficked Humans (IPATH) task force. IPATH is still active today and brings together all levels of government and the non-profit sector to support law enforcements ability to identify and rescue victims.
“I know firsthand this problem will not go away without increased awareness from elected officials, the judicial system and members of the general public,” Brooks said. “This awareness must translate into smarter public policy and increased support for anti-trafficking efforts. These bills are significant steps in the right direction and I urge the Senate to pass them without delay.”
The following bills were all passed in a bipartisan fashion:
- House Resolution 3530, Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act: A comprehensive domestic anti-human trafficking bill that reallocates existing grants for human trafficking deterrence and victim’s support and provides additional law enforcement tools to enable authorities to prosecute all those involved in human trafficking.
- House Resolution 3610, the Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act: Encourages states to adopt safe harbor laws that treat trafficked minors as victims and provide an avenue for victims to leave their situations with access to protective services, counseling and skill building.
- House Resolution 4058, the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Improving Opportunities for Youth in Foster Care Act: Requires states to take steps to identify, prevent, and address sex trafficking of youth in foster care.
- House Resolution 4225, the Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation Act: Makes it a federal crime to knowingly advertise for the commercial sex exploitation of minors and trafficking victims.
- House Resolution 4573, International Megan’s Law: Ensures that a destination country is aware when an American sex offender who has abused a child is travelling to that country. Also encourages reciprocal notification to protect American children from abuse by foreign sex offenders.
To learn more about Congresswoman Brooks, please visit www.SusanWBrooks.house.gov.