This week, Congresswoman Gwen Moore (WI-04) and Congressman Erik Paulsen (MN-03) introduced the Trafficking Victims Protection Act to promote justice and services for trafficking survivors. This legislation encourages federal agencies to promptly report data on human trafficking offenses to the FBI and requires the Department of Homeland Security to submit an annual assessment on trends from human trafficking investigations. It also further improves training for law enforcement personnel by promoting a victim-centered approach to combatting human trafficking.
Additionally, the bill formally authorizes an Office of Victim Assistance within the Department of Homeland Security. The specially trained victim assistance personnel at this office play a crucial role in securing victims’ cooperation with trafficking investigations.
“For far too long, America’s criminal justice system has failed to protect those who have fallen victim to human trafficking,” said Congresswoman Moore. “In order to substantively combat this pervasive and complex issue, local and federal law enforcement officials must have the tools and training necessary to identify and respond to human trafficking in all of its forms. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2017 not only addresses these concerns, but also builds upon the progress of the Violence Against Women Act to strengthen existing laws and grant federal agencies the capacity to provide critical services to trafficking survivors. During a time in our national politics when sensible legislation is regularly stymied by partisan entrenchment, I take great pride in the work Rep. Erik Paulsen and I have achieved in developing a bipartisan approach to end this form of modern-day slavery.
“When human trafficking survivors are freed from this modern-day slavery, we need to make sure these victims have the resources they need to get back on their feet and get the justice they deserve,” said Congressman Paulsen. “We must remain diligent in the effort to end sex trafficking and bolster the tools we have to help those in need.”