Contact: Sally Fox, [email protected]
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman Bryan Steil (R-WI) reintroduced H.R. 233, the Exposing the Financing of Human Trafficking Act. Steil’s bill holds foreign countries accountable for their efforts to investigate, prevent, and prosecute financial criminal activities associated with human trafficking. Congresswoman Madeleine Dean (D-PA) joined Steil to reintroduce the bill.
“When I meet with Wisconsin county sheriffs, local police departments, and hospital workers, human trafficking prevention is front of mind. Combating human trafficking requires local, state, federal, and international cooperation. We cannot turn a blind eye to human trafficking. My bill ensures our international partners do their part in our global fight against human trafficking. It also closes a gap in federal law that overlooks the abuse of the financial system by criminals. I will continue fighting for this issue in Congress and I am confident this bill would pass with broad support from both sides of the aisle,” said Steil.
On background on H.R. 233:
Human trafficking is a horrendous crime that presents a real threat to people all over the world. This crime has become increasingly perpetrated by organized, sophisticated, criminal enterprises and profits from trafficking contribute to the expansion of organized crime and terrorism in the United States and worldwide.
Unfortunately, human trafficking is common because it is profitable. The International Labor Organization estimates that more than $150 billion in illegal profit is made from forced labor each year, making human trafficking the third most valuable criminal operation in the world.
The U.S. currently uses the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report issued by the Department of State to engage foreign governments to combat human trafficking. The TIP report places countries into one of three tiers based on the extent of their government’s efforts to comply with the “minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.” A country’s tier designation is then used to condition aid. The TIP report looks at several criteria, but it does not currently cover efforts to disrupt illicit finance.
Steil’s bill requires the existing Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report to evaluate foreign countries’ efforts to investigate, prevent, and prosecute financial criminal activities associated with the facilitation of human trafficking.
In 2019, Steil and Dean penned an op-ed on the importance of this legislation in The Hill. You can read it here. Steil also testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the need to prioritize this issue.