The House passed H.R. 2283, the Human Trafficking Prioritization Act, which is sponsored by Rep Chris Smith (R-NJ), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations. H.R. 2283 would elevate the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons to a Bureau within the State Department to better prioritize the fight against human trafficking without increasing the size of the Federal Government. The bill was passed by the Committee with unanimous support on June 26.
The House also passed H.R. 4449, which is sponsored by Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY). H.R. 4449, requires that certain State Department personnel undergo training to identify victims of human trafficking around the world. The bill passed the Committee with unanimous support on May 29.
On passage of the eight bills, Chairman Royce said: “The passage of these bills is important in our ongoing effort to combat the modern day slavery that is international human trafficking. As I’ve long known from my work in countering human trafficking, these crimes are not only committed against faceless victims in faraway countries, but also in our own communities. The human cost of trafficking is painfully high, so I am pleased that the House is acting yet again to bolster the fight.”
In addition to H.R. 2283 and H.R. 4449, the House passed:
H.R. 5076 – Enhancing Services for Runaway and Homeless Victims of Youth Trafficking Act of 2014, sponsored by Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV);
H.R. 5111 – To improve the response to victims of child sex trafficking, sponsored by Rep. Joyce Beatty (R-OH);
H.R. 5081 – Strengthening Child Welfare Response to Trafficking Act of 2014, sponsored by Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA);
H.R. 4980 – The Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act, sponsored by Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI);
H.R. 5135 – The Human Trafficking Prevention, Intervention, and Recovery Act of 2014, sponsored by Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD); and
H.R. 5116 – To direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to train Department of Homeland Security personnel how to effectively deter, detect, disrupt, and prevent human trafficking during the course of their primary roles and responsibilities, and for other purposes, sponsored by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC).
On May 20, the House passed five other anti-human trafficking bills.
NOTE: Last year, Chairman Royce held a number of hearings on human trafficking, including a field hearing to examine international human trafficking and to assess efforts to combat trafficking at the international, Federal, State and local levels. He also launched a Human Trafficking Congressional Advisory Committee (HTCAC) to address human trafficking concerns, as well as offer policy recommendations; the HTCAC is comprised of victims’ rights groups, local and federal law enforcement agencies, and community advocates.
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