Thanks to an exceedingly rare but essential bipartisan vote, the U.S. House of Representatives successfully advanced our nation’s most comprehensive anti-trafficking law in a unanimous vote on Wednesday.

The “Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act” will provide $520 million over the next four years for programs designed to prevent trafficking and identify and support victims.

The updated law emphasizes preventing trafficking. According to USA Today, “Programs covered by the act include educating children on how to avoid traffickers and training certain employers such as airlines on how to identify potential victims of trafficking. The bill also calls for both domestic and international efforts to combat trafficking and to prevent the sale in the U.S. of goods made by forced labor.”

The House also advanced the “Enhancing Detection of Human Trafficking Act” to train employees within the Department of Labor to properly identify human trafficking victims, and the “Empowering Law Enforcement to Fight Sex Trafficking Demand Act,” which allows law enforcement to use grant money for anti-human-trafficking programs.

In a press conference House Speaker Paul Ryan called human trafficking “one of the world’s fastest growing crimes” and said “law enforcement should have every possible tool at their disposal to prosecute traffickers and protect victims.”

This is in-line with our efforts in Nebraska, where this year the state legislature passed a major anti-human trafficking bill to significantly increase penalties relating to trafficking for both the trafficker and the buyer.

In a statement President Donald Trump said:

“My Administration is focused on ending the horrific practice of human trafficking, and the three bills the House of Representatives passed today are important steps forward. 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.”

Human trafficking is an egregious crime against human life. The President, Congress and all elected leaders should continue to build on this momentum to proactively combat human trafficking until this abysmal industry is eradicated from our communities.

Nate Grasz

Nate Grasz

Policy Director
Nate is the Policy Director at Nebraska Family Alliance and host of the Capitol Report program.