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senate Bill S. 178

Human Trafficking: Expanding Services for Survivors and Punishing Perpetrators

Argument in favor

Offers better protections and services to victims, funds better tools for law enforcement fighting these crimes, and broadens the definition of human trafficking.

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08/21/2015
"Not someone else's problem." [sanders.senate.gov]
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Cary's Opinion
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03/18/2015
We should help victims of sex trafficking but this bill should not have unrelated amendments attached.
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BarackObama's Opinion
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08/21/2015
"Our fight against human trafficking is one of the great human rights causes of our time, and the United States will continue to lead it." [whitehouse.gov]
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Argument opposed

This bill includes unacceptable anti-abortion language. Not to mention, it remains to be seen how easily or effectively these reforms can be made.

Krystal's Opinion
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03/11/2015
Take out the unasssociated abortion language
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Thomas's Opinion
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03/13/2015
Not with the anti-abortion language that the Republicans "slipped in"
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Michael's Opinion
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03/16/2015
The bill should be 100% clean, no langaunge of other bill.
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What is Senate Bill S. 178?

UPDATE (5/18/2015): After many weeks of squabbling, members of the Senate found a compromise, and this bill easily passed the Senate on April 22 with a 99-0 vote. The Hill explains:
"The conflict was resolved after Cornyn and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) negotiated a deal to split the victims' fund in two. One pool, created by trafficker fines, cannot fund victims' healthcare services; the second pool will come from community health center funds, which are already subject to the Hyde restrictions."
UPDATE (3/10/2015): While seeing a vote in the Senate, this bill hit a few snags — namely around "secret" abortion language. Democrats upon further investigation into the bill are accusing Republicans of slipping in bill language that extends the Hyde Amendment — a long standing rider that bans taxpayer money from being spent on abortions. The Washington Post explains: 

"The word 'abortion' does not appear in the trafficking bill, but there is language specifying that the victims' fund 'shall be subject to the limitations on the use or expending of amounts described in sections 506 and 507 of division H of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014 ... to the same extent as if amounts in the Fund were funds appropriated under division H of such Act.' That would apply the Hyde Amendment language to the new fund."
This bill aims to better serve survivors of human trafficking, and bring more perpetrators to justice. If passed, this bill would amend the federal criminal code to add an additional $5,000 penalty to those convicted of crimes related to:
 - Slavery;
 - Human trafficking;
 - Sexual abuse or exploitation;
 - Child abuse;
 - Transportation for illegal sexual activity;
 - And human smuggling;

The bill would also establish a Domestic Trafficking Victims' Fund where these extra penalties will be collected. The fund will be applied to grants given to victims, and to improve the programs that exist for survivors under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005, and the Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990.

If authorized, this bill would fund services for victims of child pornography and improve domestic child trafficking deterrence programs. Funds would also go to investigating and prosecuting child trafficking offenses, rescuing victims, and restoring their lives. 

Impact

Survivors of human trafficking, perpetrators, law enforcement officials and their criminal investigations of human trafficking, services available to survivors of human trafficking, health care workers, the federal criminal code, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005, and the Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 178

$25.00 Million
A CBO cost estimate is unavailable. However, a CBO estimate of the house companion bill from a previous session of Congress — H.R. 3530 —  found that the bill authorized the use of $25 million Department of Justice (DOJ) funds annually between 2015-2019. It would also allocate funding to the DOJ's Crime Victims Fund from 2016 to 2020. All together, the CBO estimated that it would cost $125 million over the 2015-2024 period.

More Information

In Depth:

This bill would also amend the Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990, changing the definition of "child abuse" to also include human trafficking and the production of child pornography.

The federal criminal code would also be amended to:
  - Increase the restitution for victims of human trafficking;
  - Create provisions for standing against human trafficking racketeering;
  - Help prosecutors (at the state and local level) obtain warrants for wiretaps more easily when investigating crimes involving human trafficking, child sexual exploitation, and child pornography production; 
  - Increase the penalties for crimes that involve enticement into slavery, sex trafficking of children, child exploitation, and repeat sex offenders.

Of Note:

The National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) is a national, toll-free hotline, available to answer calls and texts from anywhere in the country, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year.

Phone: 1-888-373-7888

Text: HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733)


According to the National Association of Attorneys General, human trafficking is a $32 billion global industry. The U.S. State Department estimates 14,500 to 17,500 people are trafficked into this country each year, with women accounting for 80 percent. Of those, 70 percent are forced into the commercial sex trade.

Media:

Sponsoring Rep. John Cornyn (R-TX) Press Release

Sponsoring Rep. John Cornyn (R-TX) Bill Summary (Previous Bill Version)

The Dallas Morning News

Wikipedia (Previous Bill Version)


Polaris (In Support)

(Photo Credit: Flickr user Brett Jordan)

AKA

Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015

Official Title

A bill to provide justice for the victims of trafficking.

bill Progress


  • EnactedMay 29th, 2015
    The President signed this bill into law
  • The house Passed May 19th, 2015
    Roll Call Vote 420 Yea / 3 Nay
  • The senate Passed April 22nd, 2015
    Roll Call Vote 99 Yea / 0 Nay
      senate Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
    IntroducedJanuary 13th, 2015

Log in or create an account to see how your Reps voted!
    "Not someone else's problem." [sanders.senate.gov]
    Like (226)
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    Take out the unasssociated abortion language
    Like (83)
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    We should help victims of sex trafficking but this bill should not have unrelated amendments attached.
    Like (71)
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    Not with the anti-abortion language that the Republicans "slipped in"
    Like (52)
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    The bill should be 100% clean, no langaunge of other bill.
    Like (52)
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    "Our fight against human trafficking is one of the great human rights causes of our time, and the United States will continue to lead it." [whitehouse.gov]
    Like (50)
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    What is wrong with writing a clean bill? Must every bill include some sneaky thing from the GOP agenda?
    Like (29)
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    It needs to be a clean bill without add ons.
    Like (22)
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    It's frustrating to hear that potential "anti-abortion" language has been slipped into the bill, but harsher penalties for traffickers and greater protections for victims and survivors are needed. Preferably, the societal demand for trafficking would stop, but until that time, our government needs to do what it can to support victims and survivors of trafficking.
    Like (21)
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    The provision related to abortion should be removed.
    Like (18)
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    Don't hide unrelated content inbills that make dissenters appear unsympathetic. The abortion issue is not inherently tied to human trafficking and should be separated
    Like (17)
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    Test
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    Quit trying to sneak anti-abortion issues into unrelated bills! When you support people who struggle as strongly as you fight for their "life"...then I will consider your position...........
    Like (16)
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    Pass a clean bill...
    Like (10)
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    "We're talking about really horrible violations of human rights." [huffingtonpost.com]
    Like (8)
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    Yes, I signed the following 11 bills into law in Wisconsin: http://www.wisgov.state.wi.us/newsroom/press-release/governor-scott-walker-signs-11-bills-law
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    "Obama and State Dept should be ashamed of their purely political manipulation of Cuba's human trafficking issues." twitter.com/JebBush
    Like (6)
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    It's shocking that some of this happens in our very own country. I just recently saw an undercover video of planned parenthood clinics being secretly filmed showing they'd flat out break the law to give under age prostitutes abortions and even let the pimps pretend to be the guardian! These issues go hand in hand so I'm also in favor of anything that helps put restrictions on this deplorable practice.
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    This is a great bill! Human trafficking is a crime against humanity! It must be stopped. The "unacceptable" abortion language is a load of garbage. It's the excuse of the abortion at all cost crowd. They are causing great harm to women in worshipping their sacred cow.
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    I, for one, am VERY PLEASED that this bill contains anti-abortion language! It's flat out wrong to murder an innocent, defenseless unborn child! That child should be put up for ADOPTION, if he/she is unwanted by the mother!
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