WASHINGTON, D.C.--Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX), Chairman of the Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) introduced the bipartisan Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act. The bill passed the house unanimously last year.
“In a time of seemingly constant partisan gridlock there is one thing we can all agree on: our children are not for sale,” said Congressman Poe. “Human trafficking is a criminal enterprise that exists in cities across America, especially in my hometown of Houston, Texas. 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. Last year the House took historic steps to end modern day slavery in America. I am hopeful that this Congress the bill will make it to the President’s desk.”
“The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act will strengthen our hand against human trafficking and is long overdue,” said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY). “This legislation will attack this crime at the source by going after the Johns and the traffickers. It will also provide services to the women and girls who have been sold into sexual slavery. I thank Congressman Poe for his strength and leadership on this issue. We passed the bill in the House last year. This year, I hope we can get it through the Senate as well.”
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.