An Overview of Congress’ Pending Legislation on Sex Trafficking (Guest Blog Post)
By guest blogger Cary Glynn
[Eric’s introduction: Harvard Law 3L Cary Glynn is back to provide a comprehensive picture of all of Congress’ current anti-sex trafficking efforts, of which SESTA is just one piece. Given this high level of activity, it’s clear that it’s not SESTA-or-nothing when it comes to combating sex trafficking. Also, one typical suggestion as an alternative to SESTA is to provide more funding to prosecutors; bills are already pending in Congress to do that. All of the bills referenced below were identified via a keyword search for “sex trafficking,” though in some cases the bills primarily address other issues, including human trafficking. Because of the limitations of keyword searches, it’s likely Congress is considering additional bills not listed below that would also help combat sex trafficking.]
Congress is considering a variety of bills targeting sex trafficking beyond the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017 (SESTA), S. 1693, and the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017, H.R. 1865. Even if Congress does not enact SESTA, it retains many options for addressing sex trafficking.
These bills span various policy areas: victim support, targeting traffickers, information gathering, government programs, and targeting purchasers. In addition to SESTA and the Wagner bill, the following bills are pending in Congress:
* The Trafficking Survivors Relief Act of 2017, introduced in the House on January 11, 2017, would allow trafficking victims to file a motion to vacate convictions and expunge arrests related to offenses resulting from having been a trafficking victim.
* The Abolish Human Trafficking Act of 2017, introduced in the House on June 7, 2017 and passed by the Senate on September 11, 2017, would provide a variety of resources to victims, including restitution, witness assistance, and training for government agencies on assisting victims.
* The Global Child Protection Act of 2017, passed by the House, would expand the definition of “illicit sexual conduct” under 18 U.S.C. § 2423 and expand the definition of a Federal sex offense.
* The Targeted Rewards for the Global Eradication of Human Trafficking Act, passed by the House, amends the State Department Basic Authorities Act to allow the offering of awards for individuals who provide information leading to the apprehension of human traffickers.
* The Building America’s Trust Act, introduced in the Senate on August 3, 2017, would increase the penalties for human trafficking under 8 U.S.C. § 1324.
* The Shame Act of 2017, introduced in the House on January 11, 2017, would allow sentencing judges to order the publishing of the name and photograph of convicted child sex traffickers.
* The Public-Private Partnership Advisory Council to End Human Trafficking Act, introduced in the Senate on June 21, 2017, would established an advisory council composed of representatives of NGOs and nonprofits with anti-human trafficking expertise. The council would advise the Senior Policy Operating Group established by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act and the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking. The council would prepare a report on human trafficking.
* The Put Trafficking Victims First Act of 2017, passed by the House, calls for a study by the Director of the Office for Victims of Crime to study human trafficking. It calls for a working group designed to identify methodologies for collecting data on the prevalence of trafficking. It calls for a report by the Attorney General on prosecutors seeking restitution for trafficking victims. Finally, the bill announces that Congress encourages the States to enact a “survivor-centered approach.”
* The End Banking for Human Traffickers Act of 2017, introduced in the House on April 27, 2017, adds the Treasury Secretary to the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking and requires the Task Force to report to Congress on money laundering and human trafficking. It also calls on the Department of State to submit a report on money laundering and human trafficking.
* The Enhancing Detection of Human Trafficking Act, passed by the House, directs the Department of Labor to train its personnel on how to detect human trafficking and assist law enforcement.
* The Human Trafficking Accountability Act, introduced in the House on July 19, 2017, requires the Attorney General to designate “Human Trafficking Coordinators” in each Federal judicial district. These Assistant United States Attorneys would help to coordinate national human trafficking policy.
* The Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, introduced in the Senate on September 7, 2017, would allow $1 million to be allocated for targeting human trafficking in Central America and Mexico through the use of DNA.
* The Empowering Law Enforcement to Fight Sex Trafficking Demand Act, passed by the House, allows the provision of grants for combating human trafficking to state and local law enforcement under the Byrne JAG grant program.
* The Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act of 2017, passed by the House, authorizes over one hundred million dollars of funding to prevent human trafficking, prosecute traffickers, and aid victims. This bill encompasses a wide variety of policies aimed at sex trafficking.
* The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2017, passed by the Senate on September 11, 2017, seeks to prevent human trafficking through programs to train school personnel, extends funding originally authorized by the earlier Trafficking Victims Protection Act, and would promote federal coordination. It also encompasses many other programs to reduce sex trafficking.
* The CATCH Traffickers Act of 2017, introduced in the House on January 3, 2017, requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to create a national database for human trafficking investigations.
* The Empowering Educators to Prevent Trafficking Act, introduced in the House on May 1, 2017, allows the awarding of grants to educational agencies for programs that train educators to detect sex trafficking and provide children with safety information.
* The Reducing the Demand for Human Trafficking Act of 2017, introduced in the House on July 27, 2017, encourages the use of funds for reducing demand for human trafficking by investigating individuals who purchase commercial sex.
More SESTA-Related Posts:
* The DOJ’s Busts of MyRedbook & Rentboy Show How Backpage Might Be Prosecuted (Guest Blog Post)
* Problems With SESTA’s Retroactivity Provision (Guest Blog Post)
* My Senate Testimony on SESTA + SESTA Hearing Linkwrap
* Debunking Some Myths About Section 230 and Sex Trafficking (Guest Blog Post)
* Congress Is About To Ruin Its Online Free Speech Masterpiece (Cross-Post)
* Backpage Executives Must Face Money Laundering Charges Despite Section 230–People v. Ferrer
* How Section 230 Helps Sex Trafficking Victims (and SESTA Would Hurt Them)
* Sen. Portman Says SESTA Doesn’t Affect the Good Samaritan Defense. He’s Wrong
* Senate’s “Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017”–and Section 230’s Imminent Evisceration
* The “Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017” Bill Would Be Bad News for Section 230
* WARNING: Draft “No Immunity for Sex Traffickers Online Act” Bill Poses Major Threat to Section 230
* The Implications of Excluding State Crimes from 47 U.S.C. § 230’s Immunit