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Congresswoman Joyce Beatty

Representing the 3rd District of Ohio

Beatty Bill Bolsters Enforcement Against Human Trafficking

Jul 20, 2017
Press Release

Beatty Bill Bolsters Enforcement Against Human Trafficking

Bill would provide greater protection for victims and improve prosecutorial outcomes.

WASHINGTON, D.C. U.S. Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (OH-03) recently introduced the Human Trafficking Accountability Act, H.R. 3304, a bill to improve the coordination and federal prosecution of human trafficking. The Human Trafficking Accountability Act is cosponsored by Republican Congresswoman Ann Wagner (MO-02) and supported by Human Rights First.

“It is obvious that the federal government can and must do more when it comes to enforcing our country’s anti-human trafficking laws, holding human trafficking perpetrators and their associates accountable, and protecting victims,” Beatty said. “Human trafficking is not a Democratic or Republican issue—that is why it is up to all of us to help put a stop to it.” Beatty continued, “The Human Trafficking Accountability Act will beef up federal enforcement and prosecution efforts against human trafficking, ensure justice, and give victims a voice.”      

“Prosecution rates in America are frustratingly low,” Wagner said. “Pimps are crafty, professional criminals; buyers are outrageously viewed as harmless; and victims—who have oftentimes been drugged, threatened, and traumatized—rarely self-identify. Our justice system must make prosecutions of sex trafficking crimes a top national priority, and do it in a victim-centered way,” Wagner continued. “That is why I am proud to stand with Congresswoman Joyce Beatty in introducing the Human Trafficking Accountability Act.”

“We applaud the introduction of the Human Trafficking Accountability Act that would designate a prosecutor in each U.S. Attorney’s office who would focus on bringing perpetrators of this horrific crime to justice and increase the collaboration between all levels of government, law enforcement, and victim service providers that are essential to successfully combating modern day slavery,” Human Rights First’s Amy Sobel said. “Representative Beatty’s leadership to ensure that prosecutors and law enforcement have the tools and resources they need to hold human traffickers answerable for their egregious crimes exploiting others will be essential in ensuring that we put these criminals out of business and put a stop to human trafficking. We hope Congress will swiftly pass this important legislation.”

If enacted, the Human Trafficking Accountability Act would designate an Assistant U.S. Attorney in each Federal judicial district to serve as a “Human Trafficking Justice Coordinator” and a Deputy Assistant Attorney General as “Human Trafficking Coordinator” at the U.S. Department of Justice. These positions would: (1) prosecute cases of forced labor, international sex trafficking and similar acts of force, fraud or coercion as well as ensure restitution for victims; (2) collaborate with various federal agencies, state and local law enforcement, and victims services providers to build partnerships to better identify and prosecute human trafficking cases with a victim-centered approach; and (3) improve outreach and awareness of human trafficking.  

The Human Trafficking Accountability Act has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary and is awaiting further consideration. The companion legislation, S. 1236, was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Sherrod Brown (OH) on May 25, 2017, and is pending in the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

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