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House Passes Sweeping Anti-Trafficking Bill to Fight 'Nefarious Networks' and Protect Women and Kids

07-27-2022
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The House of Representatives voted Tuesday on a bill that seeks to combat human trafficking and improve education for children in the hopes of preventing the crime.

The Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act passed in a 401-20 vote and just ahead of World Day Against Trafficking in Persons Day on July 30.

HR 6552 was authored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA).

"Human traffickers never take a holiday, nor can we," said Smith. "Because traffickers and the nefarious networks they lead always find new ways to exploit the vulnerable, especially women and children, we must aggressively strengthen laws and their implementation." 

Smith has attended over 35 hearings and written five anti-trafficking laws including the Nation's historic Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000.  

"The enormous support in the House for this critical human rights and law enforcement legislation is a testament to a widespread consensus and underscores the absolute urgency for securing the funds needed to protect victims, prosecute perpetrators and prevent trafficking from occurring in the first place," he added. 

Some of the bill's provisions include:

  • More than $1.1 billion over five years to reapprove and bolster programs that provide shelters, mental health care, education, life skills and job training.
  • Reauthorize the Department of Homeland Security's Angel Watch Center, which is meant to prevent international sex tourism travel perpetrated by child sex offenders, and improve trafficking prevention education for children by including parents and law enforcement in child trafficking and online grooming prevention.
  • $35 million each fiscal year for housing options that would help women who are living with their abusers to break free from them.

"We must take this issue seriously and continue to implement a whole-of-government approach to addressing it," said Rep. Bass. "The Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act of 2022 moves to do this not only in supporting those who have already fallen victim, but to also prevent future trafficking and bring perpetrators to justice. We must swiftly pass this bipartisan measure to protect the most vulnerable among us." 

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