Legislation designed to increase effectiveness in curbing human trafficking. The Act deals with both adult and child trafficking. There are identical version of the bill in the House and Senate. According to the Senate bill's sponsor, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), the Act would:
- Includes a provision [that] requires all states have a safe harbor provision to help ensure minors who are sold for sex aren’t prosecuted as defendants, but are instead treated as victims. When a state passes a safe harbor law, it means that kids sold for sex should be steered towards child protection services, rather than being arrested, charged, or convicted under a state’s criminal laws. Current federal law only suggests a model state statute – this bill will require that states have a safe harbor as a condition for receiving federal grants.
- Creates a National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking. The National Strategy will help coordinate efforts to investigate and prevent human trafficking between federal, state, local, and tribal agencies. This will help set clear goals and focus resources to help combat human trafficking. The bill will also encourage better data sharing between different law enforcement agencies.
- Allows victims of sex trafficking to participate in the Job Corps program to help them get back on their feet. Our Job Corps programs already help teen moms, runaways, and kids who drop out of school. This bill makes clear that victims of sex trafficking should be eligible for our current job training and skills building programs to help empower sex trafficking victims so that they have the tools they need to find a way out of the cycle.
- Helps victims pursue financial restitution and recover damages. In some parts of the law, victims of federal crimes can recover triple damages from people who harm them. Under this new bill, when sex trafficking victims sue their perpetrators, they’ll be able to get the damages they are due from the people who harmed them. The bill will also encourage better tracking of financial restitution orders so that victims can actually collect on the restitution they are due.
- Strengthens requirements for convicted sex trafficking offenders to be listed higher on the National Sex Offender Registry so they are reported and tracked closely to ensure they can’t victimize anyone else. Convicted offenders are classified into different Tiers, based on the severity of their crimes. The different Tier numbers correspond to how frequently a sex offender is required to report relevant personal information and make in-person appearances before law enforcement. Most sex trafficking offenders are currently convicted as Tier II criminals. The bill would reclassify those convicted of state or federal sex trafficking crimes into the more stringent Tier III. This means they must register for life and appear in person every 3 months to have a picture taken and verify registry information.
- Strengthens the National Human Trafficking Hotline. Right now, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline helps connect victims with services they need and passes on crime tips to law enforcement. This bill would make sure that the hotline is backed by the force of law. Although the Hotline operates with some federal authorization, this bill puts the National Human Trafficking Hotline on par with other national hotlines designed to serve victims.