by Peter Clerkin
Preventing Human Trafficking and Protecting Victims
With estimates suggesting that hundreds of thousands of people are subject to human trafficking in the United States, Congress is acting to combat the scourge and help victims. Preventing this crime is an important issue for hoteliers because traffickers often seek out the privacy hotels afford guests to use guest rooms as storefronts for their illicit enterprise. Lawmakers in Washington are unified in their attempts to abolish human trafficking and ensure that its victims’ dignity is restored, and they get the assistance and justice they deserve.
In 2017, Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced S. 1311, the Abolish Human Trafficking Act. The legislation strengthens and reauthorizes key federal programs that support human trafficking victims while giving federal, state, and local law enforcement the resources they need to combat this problem in our communities. This is not the first time the two joined together to combat human trafficking. In 2015, they authored the Victims of Trafficking Act which increased resources and tools to help victims rebuild their lives by levying fines and penalties against exploiters to fund restorative services and provide compensation.
Senators Klobuchar and Cornyn also joined with Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Diane Feinstein (D-CA) to introduce S. 1312, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which promotes justice for trafficking survivors, provides service to victims, increases federal coordination to combat trafficking, and establishes and reauthorizes funding of programs critical in this fight.
Both the Abolish Human Trafficking Act and the Trafficking Victims Protection Act passed the Senate with bipartisan support and are awaiting action in the House of Representatives. ■
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
First Elected: 2006
Committees: Judiciary, Joint Economic Committee, Commerce, Science and Transportation, Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, Rules and Administration, Printing, Library
“As a former prosecutor, I have seen firsthand how horrific human trafficking can be – and I know that it’s happening in our own backyards. Our bipartisan legislation equips law enforcement with the resources to crack down on this crime and provides victims with the support they need to get back on their feet. I’m proud to work with Senator Cornyn in this fight against human trafficking.”
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)
First Elected: 2002
Committees: Intelligence, Finance, Judiciary
“This bipartisan legislation addresses one of the most heinous crimes happening in our country by providing support to victims of human trafficking and the law enforcement agencies working to protect them. I’m proud to join Senator Klobuchar in the fight against this modern-day slavery as we continue to build on and strengthen existing anti-trafficking laws.”