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Congresswoman Joyce Beatty

Representing the 3rd District of Ohio

Beatty, Wagner Team Up to Tackle Human Trafficking

Jan 18, 2019
Press Release

Beatty, Wagner Team Up to Tackle Human Trafficking

Introduce two bipartisan bills in the House of Representatives

WASHINGTON, D.C.— U.S. Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (OH-03) and Congresswoman Ann Wagner (MO-02) recently authored two bipartisan pieces of legislation to combat the scourge of human trafficking: the Human Trafficking Accountability Act, H.R. 509, and the Trafficking Victims Housing Act, H.R. 508. Introduced on National Human Trafficking Awareness Day (January 11, 2019), the bills aim to improve prosecution of alleged traffickers, as well as establish a means of measuring the availability of housing and related services for victims experiencing homelessness.

“Human trafficking is a scourge on our nation and our world. It is estimated that over 40 million people are the victims of human trafficking—the vast majority of them being women and girls,” Beatty said. “That is why we as a nation must continue working together to provide justice and greater support for victims and their families. We have made significant progress, but our work continues.”  

“Sex trafficking is a vicious crime that will flourish until we increase prosecutions and elevate risk for traffickers. Human trafficking is too common and prosecutions of pimps and buyers too infrequent in our country.” Wagner continued, “The Human Trafficking Accountability Act will help prosecute more traffickers and hold accountable the criminals who exploit women and children.”

If passed, the Human Trafficking Accountability Act would require at least one Assistant U.S. Attorney in each judicial district to serve as a Human Trafficking Justice Coordinator (HTJC), who would be responsible for ensuring increased exploration of all potential cases of human trafficking, and direct the Attorney General to designate a career Deputy Assistant Attorney General as Human Trafficking Coordinator (HTC) at the Department of Justice, who would be responsible for coordinating the HTJCs across the country. 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.

The Trafficking Victims Housing Act, if enacted, would direct the Interagency Council on Homelessness, in coordination with the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Justice, and other federal entities to complete a study assessing the availability and accessibility of housing and related services for victims of trafficking, or those at risk of being trafficked, who are experiencing homelessness. This bill is awaiting further consideration in the House Committee on Financial Services.

Of note, in Beatty’s three previous Congressional terms, she helped spearhead two anti-human trafficking bills that were later signed into law: the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA) (P.L. 114-22) and the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) (P.L. 115-164).