WASHINGTON, D.C.--Today, Congressman Poe (TX-02) released the following statement on the House passage of H.R. 3530, the bipartisan Justice for Victims’ of Trafficking Act. The bill passed the House unanimously.

“Today the House took necessary action to end human trafficking by passing a package of bipartisan bills to combat this heinous crime. My bill, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA) addresses each of the three different groups involved in the crime of human trafficking: the trafficker, the buyer and the victim. JVTA implements a new, robust and aggressive strategy to help combat human trafficking in the United States. It targets demand by treating those who buy sex from minors and other trafficking victims like what they are: criminals. Finally, JVTA encourages a victim-centered approach to fighting human trafficking so that victims are no longer treated as criminals. The House has taken necessary steps to end modern day slavery in America; I urge both the Senate and the President to do the same.”

Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act Background:

  • Repurposes and reauthorizes a grant program to create a victim-centered model block grant to help state and local governments develop and implement comprehensive victim-centered programs to train law enforcement to rescue victims, prosecute human traffickers, and restore the lives of victims.
  • Allows state and local human trafficking taskforces to obtain wiretap warrants within their own state courts without federal approval in order to investigate crimes of child pornography, child sexual exploitation, and human trafficking.
  • Requires law enforcement to upload available photos of missing children into the National Criminal Information Center database and to notify the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children of any child reported missing from a foster care family home or childcare institution.
  • Reduces demand for human trafficking by clarifying current law and encouraging police, prosecutors, judges, and juries to target and punish persons who purchase illicit sexual activities from trafficking victims as human traffickers, rather than petty criminals.
  • Reduces affirmative defenses for persons who exploit children through interstate prostitution by requiring them to show by clear and convincing evidence, rather than a preponderance of the evidence (current law), that they believed the child to be an adult.
  • Reauthorizes the Victims of Child Abuse Act to provide funding to support regional and local Child Advocacy Centers (CACs), which offer a multi-disciplinary response to child abuse.
  • Increases the obligation cap for the Justice Department’s Crime Victims Fund, financed solely by criminal fines, in order to provide services and support for victims of crime.

###