Washington, D.C. - Today, Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX), Co-Founder of the Victims’ Rights Caucus, and Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) introduced H.R. 440, the SHAME Act. The bi-partisan bill will ensure that federal judges have the ability to publish the names and photographs of criminals convicted of buying sex from a minor or a sex-trafficking victim. The SHAME Act is designed to allow easy public access to the pictures and information of those in society who would purchase sex from these victims.
“As a former judge in Texas, I used public punishment to keep criminals from returning to my court room and to discourage others from committing crimes,” said Congressman Poe. “I believe this form of public shaming can be successful in combatting human trafficking. That is why we have introduced the bipartisan SHAME Act. This bill will guarantee federal judges have the ability to publish the names and photographs of both convicted human traffickers and buyers of trafficked victims. Buyers will no longer be able to hide in plain sight under the cloak of anonymity. Perhaps the thought of having their face on a billboard will make scoundrels think twice about participating in the modern day slave trade. It is time to SHAME these horrible humans out of the business altogether.”
“I am proud to have worked with Rep. Poe in enacting and advocating for critical anti-trafficking legislation including the JVTA, which has greatly improved services available to victims of human trafficking and revolutionized the way we punish criminals who buy and sell sex with trafficking victims and minors,” said Congresswoman Maloney. “The perpetrators of these heinous crimes often operate in the shadows and are too often not brought to justice. This simple bill, the SHAME Act, is another important tool for law enforcement and prosecutors as they protect their communities by cracking down on the demand driving this illegal industry.”
Last Congress, Congressman Poe and Congresswoman Maloney were part of a bicameral, bipartisan team that passed the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA). This act helped police target all persons involved in the buying and selling of human beings while also funding victim services and restitution. The SHAME Act is an extension of the success of JVTA.