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house Bill H.R. 507

Should the Federal Gov’t Study Human Trafficking?

Argument in favor

Human trafficking is a serious crime and human rights violation that continues to occur in the U.S. despite efforts to combat it at all levels of law enforcement. A better understanding of how and why this occurs, as well as how best to identify and help victims, is badly needed.

Catherine's Opinion
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02/07/2019
This topic is one of those oh my God why is this even a question. Of course we should study human trafficking and find ways to stop it.
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tnyah's Opinion
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02/07/2019
most definitely. it’s a huge problem right now, and we need all of the resources we can get to help find more of these people. the solution to every problem is educate yourself, and if we do that, we can find out better ways to break up these rings.
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Josh's Opinion
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02/07/2019
This is the modern-day version of slavery and the federal government must take an active role in ending this tragedy.
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Argument opposed

Law enforcement agencies already understand the basic dynamics of human trafficking and would be better able to combat it if they simply had more financial resources to conduct investigations and stings.

Patty's Opinion
···
02/07/2019
The wall is not going to stop human trafficking. It’s coming from countries all over the world. We need to figure out how to stop this horrific crime on every front. It’s happening within our own borders.
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JTJ's Opinion
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02/07/2019
No they should do something to stop human trafficking. Build the wall.
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RAN's Opinion
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02/07/2019
Stop the damn studies,we already know it’s happening, JUST BUILD THE DAMN WALL!
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
  • The house Passed February 7th, 2019
    Roll Call Vote 414 Yea / 1 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security
    IntroducedJanuary 11th, 2019

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What is House Bill H.R. 507?

This bill would direct the Attorney General to study a range of issues related to human trafficking. It’d also express the sense of Congress that human trafficking is a serious problem deserving of both federal funds to address the problem and states’ attention to the issue.

This bill would express the sense of Congress that some funds available for training and technical assistance under section 107(b) of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act of 2000 should be devoted to:

  • Increasing the personal safety of victim service providers, who may face intimidation or retaliation for their activities;

  • Promoting a trauma-informed, evidence-based, and victim-centered approach to the provision of services for victims of trafficking;

  • Ensuring that law enforcement officers and prosecutors make every attempt to determine whether an individual is a victim of human trafficking before arresting the individual for, or charging the individual with, an offense that is a direct result of the victimization of the individual;

  • Effectively prosecuting traffickers and individuals who patronize or solicit children for sex, and facilitating access for child victims of commercial sex trafficking to the services and protections afforded to other victims of sexual violence;

  • Encouraging states to improve efforts to identify and meet the needs of human trafficking victims, including through internet outreach and other methods that are responsive to the needs of victims in their communities; and

  • Ensuring victims of trafficking, including U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and foreign nationals, are eligible for services.

This bill would also direct the Attorney General (AG), in consultation with other federal entities engaged in efforts to combat human trafficking, to establish an expert working group to: 1) identify barriers to the collection of data on the incidence of sex and labor trafficking and 2) recommend practices to promote better data collection and analysis. The working group’s membership would consist of survivors of human trafficking, experts on sex and labor trafficking, representatives from organizations collecting data on human trafficking, and law enforcement officers. No later than three years after this bill’s enactment, the AG would be required to implement a pilot program testing methodologies recommended by the working group.

The AG, in consultation with the Secretaries of Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), and Homeland Security (DHS), the Director of the Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center, United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking, victims of trafficking, human trafficking survivor advocates, service providers for victims of sex and labor trafficking, and the President’s Interagency Task Force on Human Trafficking, would also be required to submit a report to Congress detailing:

  • Federal efforts to estimate the prevalence of human trafficking at the national and regional levels;
  • The effectiveness of current policies and procedures to address the needs of victims of trafficking; and
  • An analysis of demographic characteristics of victims of trafficking in different regions of the United States and recommendations for how to address the unique vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties of different victims.

Additionally, the AG would be required to coordinate with federal, state, local, and tribal governments to develop and execute a survey of survivors seeking and receiving victim assistance services. This survey would seek to improve the provision of services to human trafficking victims and victim identification in the U.S. The survey’s results would be publicly available on the DOJ’s website.

The AG, in consultation with the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, would also be required to submit a report to Congress detailing efforts to increase restitution to victims of human trafficking.

Finally, this bill would express the sense of Congress that states should adopt protections for victims of trafficking.

Impact

Human trafficking; trafficking survivors; victims’ advocates; federal, state, local, and tribal governments; Labor Secretary; HHS Secretary; DHS Secretary; Director of the Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center; United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking; the AG; and the Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act of 2000.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 507

$2.00 Million
The CBO estimated that a similar version of this bill in the 115th Congress would cost about $2 million over the 2018-2020 period for additional DOJ programs.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Karen Bass (D-CA) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to combat human trafficking:

“One of our most urgent priorities should be disrupting the child welfare to trafficking pipeline and finding better and more effective ways to meet the critical needs of this vulnerable population. For far too long victims of human trafficking were left in the shadows. I urge my colleagues to support this important piece of legislation and help bring an end to this insidious practice.”

Writing in the National Law Review when this bill was under consideration in the previous Congress, Caroline Fish, a then-rising 3L at St. John’s University, wrote that this bill would improve protections for foreign nationals brought to the U.S. against their bill as trafficking victims:

“[T]he Put Trafficking Victims First Act of 2017, which calls for the advancement of trafficking victim protection in the U.S., must be passed. This law calls for funding for trainings to ensure, inter alia, that ‘law enforcement officers and prosecutors make every attempt to determine’  whether an individual is not a trafficking victim ‘before arresting them for, or charging them with, an offense.’ It also encourages States to enact protections that allow victims ‘to have convictions and adjudications related to prostitution and nonviolent offenses vacated and such records cleared and expunged if offenses were committed as a direct result of the victim being trafficked’ and to ensure that foreign national victims do not ‘lose[] any immigration benefit because of such conviction or arrests.’ This law, essentially, would add an extra layer of national commitment to the protection of all trafficking victims, especially foreign nationals.”

The American Bar Association (ABA) has not taken a position on this bill, but it has historically supported policies targeting human trafficking:

“The ABA House of Delegates has adopted numerous policies targeting human trafficking, including a 2011 policy urging state, local, tribal and territorial legislatures to aid minors who are victims of human trafficking. Another policy, adopted in 2013, supports enactment of laws and regulations and development of policies that set standards for treatment of individuals who have been identified as adult or minor victims of human trafficking.”

In the current Congress, this bill has four bipartisan cosponsors, including two Democrats and two Republicans. Last Congress, this bill passed the House by voice vote with the support of one cosponsor, Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA).


Of NoteIt’s estimated that 200,000 women annually are forced into the sex trade in the U.S. The majority of these women are American — not imported from other countries. On an annual basis, it’s estimated that 14,500-17,500 people are trafficked into the U.S. from other countries.

Human trafficking victims have been identified in cities, suburbs, and rural areas in all 50 states and D.C. They’re made to work or provide commercial sex against their will in both legal, legitimate business settings and underground markets. In the U.S., human trafficking largely serves the following purposes: forced labor, bonded labor, debt bondage, involuntary domestic servitude, forced child labor, sex trafficking, and the child commercial sex trade.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / aradaphotography)

AKA

Put Trafficking Victims First Act of 2019

Official Title

To direct the Attorney General to study issues relating to human trafficking, and for other purposes.

    Obviously.
    Like (35)
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    The wall is not going to stop human trafficking. It’s coming from countries all over the world. We need to figure out how to stop this horrific crime on every front. It’s happening within our own borders.
    Like (26)
    Follow
    Share
    This topic is one of those oh my God why is this even a question. Of course we should study human trafficking and find ways to stop it.
    Like (32)
    Follow
    Share
    No they should do something to stop human trafficking. Build the wall.
    Like (23)
    Follow
    Share
    Stop the damn studies,we already know it’s happening, JUST BUILD THE DAMN WALL!
    Like (23)
    Follow
    Share
    most definitely. it’s a huge problem right now, and we need all of the resources we can get to help find more of these people. the solution to every problem is educate yourself, and if we do that, we can find out better ways to break up these rings.
    Like (22)
    Follow
    Share
    This is the modern-day version of slavery and the federal government must take an active role in ending this tragedy.
    Like (19)
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    We don’t need to “study” it. We know all about it and how wrong it really is.
    Like (11)
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    Another waste of taxpayers money. We have law enforcement already and it’s already against the law.
    Like (10)
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    👍🏻 House Bill H.R. 570 AKA - Put Trafficking Victims First Act of 2019 👍🏻 I’m in full agreement with and recommend the passage of the House Bill H.R. 570 AKA - Put Trafficking Victims First Act of 2019 which would direct the Attorney General to study a range of issues related to human trafficking. It’d also express the sense of Congress that human trafficking is a serious problem deserving of both federal funds to address the problem and states’ attention to the issue. Human trafficking is a serious crime and human rights violation that continues to occur in the U.S. despite efforts to combat it at all levels of law enforcement. A better understanding of how and why this occurs, as well as how best to identify and help victims, is badly needed. SneakyPete..... 🤷🏼‍♂️👍🏻???👍🏻🤷‍♀️. 2*7*19.....
    Like (9)
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    Any studies of human trafficking, should include the migrant children that were taken from their parents and are being funneled through an adoption agency with ties to Betsy DeVos. The Trump Administration is responsible for kidnapping those children and they are moving those stolen children to people that are not their parents. That is human trafficking and it is the Trump Administration that is guilty of it.
    Like (6)
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    Human trafficking is the same thing as slavery. Why would we not support the investigation into a crime that goes against not only the Constitution but against fundamental human rights?
    Like (5)
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    We all know it’s bad! We all understand the impact to kids and families. What actually needs to be studied? The money should be allocated to law enforcement for enforcement and social programs to work with those most a risk.
    Like (4)
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    Since Trump & the Republicans ARE IN THE HUMAN TRAFFICKING BUSINESS NOT SURE HOW THEY CAN STUDY THEMSELVES. They have ripped Thousands of children from the arms of their families & won’t even try to put them back together. They have put the kids in concentration camps &/or in homes that have not been vetted. They DON’T EVEN KNOW WHERE MOST OF THR CHILDREN IR THE PARENTS ARE. THIS IS MORE HORRENDOUS THAN ANY OTHER TRAFFICKING. SHAME, SHAME, SHAME.
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    Yeah...That's it do-nothing Congress....let's study.
    Like (4)
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    We already know it’s happening! Why do we have to wast money studying it. Do something about it.
    Like (3)
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    Human trafficking is a serious crime and human rights violation that continues to occur in the U.S. despite efforts to combat it at all levels of law enforcement. A better understanding of how and why this occurs, as well as how best to identify and help victims, is badly needed.
    Like (3)
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    Didn't it study it already?
    Like (3)
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    Protect women.
    Like (3)
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    Yes! Human Trafficking is a billion dollar industry that occurs around the world. Trading humans is just not occurring in Mexico, it is manifesting in your community, local schools, and state. It Has transpired to a national and international level. Many victims are being traded and taken in Europe and Asia from the U.S. It is a serious issue.
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