Anti-Human Trafficking Bills Unanimously Passed by US House

human trafficking
Rohiakar, a Rohingya Muslim woman, shows a picture of her daughter Saywar Nuyar, 22, who is being held by a human trafficker, at a refugee camp outside Sittwe, Myanmar May 21, 2015. Picture taken May 21, 2015. |

The United States House of Representatives has unanimously passed proposed legislation aimed at combating human trafficking.

Three bills were passed. One is known as the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act, which the House passed by voice vote on Wednesday.

Introduced in April by Representative Chris Smith of New Jersey, the bill provides approximately $500 million for federal government programs meant to battle human trafficking.

"Those efforts include training law enforcement officials to recognize and combat human trafficking, providing victims with assistance and investigating international trafficking rings," reported The Hill.

"The measure includes allocating $1 million over four years to train airport personnel, pilots and flight attendants how to spot human trafficking victims and report to law enforcement."

Two other anti-trafficking bills were also passed via voice vote by the House on Wednesday, which also dealt with ways the federal government can contribute to the effort.

"One of the measures, authored by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.), would require training of Labor Department personnel to detect human trafficking," continued The Hill.

"The other by Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) would let law enforcement use certain Justice Department grants to combat human trafficking."

President Donald Trump heralded the passage of the three bills, saying in a statement that "the three bills the House of Representatives passed today are important steps forward."

"Since taking office, I have met with courageous survivors, non-profit groups, and faith leaders who are devoting tremendous energy to raising awareness about human trafficking," stated President Trump. 

"I am hopeful that the Senate will take up and pass these three bills as soon as possible and I look forward to my continued work with the Congress on this important issue."

For some time, there has been a call on Congress to do more to battle modern slavery. In an opinion column from January, retired General Charles C. Krulak and former Congressman Dan Lungren argued that the need for increased federal action is great.

"Government agencies, such as the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Labor and Department of Justice, are working hard to combat this crime but need to better coordinate their efforts and to work closely with local police, who may initially encounter these crimes," wrote Krulak and Lungren.

"Employees at all these agencies need better training on identifying human trafficking and responding to it. And that response must always be centered first on the victims' needs for protection, support and treatment."

Regarding the passage of the bills, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said in a statement posted Wednesday to his Facebook page that "it is about the safety and security of our children and our country."

"This is truly a national problem, and that means it's going to take a national effort to solve it," stated Speaker Ryan. "We want law enforcement to have every possible resource to protect our citizens and we want to give real support and a voice to the victims of these awful crimes."

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