Domestic Human Trafficking Legislation in the 114th Congress

Domestic Human Trafficking Legislation in the 114th Congress
Domestic Human Trafficking Legislation in
the 114th Congress
Kristin Finklea
Specialist in Domestic Security
Adrienne L. Fernandes-Alcantara
Specialist in Social Policy
Alison Siskin
Specialist in Immigration Policy
April 16, 2015
Congressional Research Service
7-5700
www.crs.gov
R43917
Domestic Human Trafficking Legislation in the 114th Congress
Summary
Legislation aimed at combating trafficking in persons (TIP) is a top item on the legislative agenda
for the 114th Congress. TIP is of significant interest to the United States as a serious human rights
concern, and it is believed to be one of the most prolific areas of contemporary criminal activity.
TIP is both an international and domestic crime that involves violations of labor, public health,
and human rights standards, as well as criminal law. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act
(TVPA)—most recently reauthorized in March 2013 (Title XII of P.L. 113-4)—is the primary law
that addresses human trafficking. Domestically, anti-TIP efforts provided under the TVPA include
protection for victims, the investigation and prosecution of trafficking offenses, and education of
the public. This report discusses TIP issues that have received legislative action or are of
significant interest in the 114th Congress.
As human trafficking issues intersect with many different policy areas (e.g., immigration, child
welfare, the criminal justice system, missing and exploited youth), legislation to address human
trafficking is varied. This is illustrated by the panoply of bills that have recently passed the
House. For example, the Human Trafficking Prevention, Intervention, and Recovery Act of 2015
(H.R. 350), Trafficking Awareness Training for Health Care Act of 2015 (H.R. 398), and the
Human Trafficking Prioritization Act (H.R. 514), as passed by the House, would address
interagency coordination, efficiency, and best practices as they relate to combating human
trafficking. The Human Trafficking Prevention Act (H.R. 357) and the Human Trafficking
Detection Act of 2015 (H.R. 460), as passed by the House, would enhance training for officials to
help identify victims of trafficking. The International Megan’s Law to Prevent Demand for Child
Sex Trafficking (H.R. 515), as passed by the House, would create a new center in the Department
of Homeland Security (DHS) that would be responsible for notifying the destination country of
international travel by child-sex offenders, where appropriate.
Several other bills, as passed by the House, would strengthen the federal and state responses to
trafficking through a variety of service systems. H.R. 246, To Improve the Response to Victims of
Child Sex Trafficking, would ensure that reports to a federally funded tipline of sexually
exploited children can include children who are victims of sex trafficking. The Enhancing
Services for Runaway and Homeless Youth Victims for Youth Trafficking Act of 2015 (H.R. 468)
would use the Runaway and Homeless Youth program as a vehicle to enhance services to youth
who are vulnerable to sex and labor trafficking. The Strengthening Child Welfare Response to
Trafficking Act of 2015 (H.R. 469) would strengthen state child welfare agencies’ responses to
the trafficking of children.
A number of bills would amend criminal justice policy in an attempt to obstruct human
trafficking. For instance, the Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation Act of 2015 (SAVE Act,
H.R. 285, as passed by the House), would provide penalties for knowingly advertising, or
knowingly selling advertising that offers, certain commercial sex acts. The Stop Exploitation
Through Trafficking Act (H.R. 159, as passed by the House, and S. 166, as reported by the Senate
Judiciary Committee) would incentivize states to enact safe harbor legislation—which would
ensure that children who are found in prostitution would be treated as victims rather than
perpetrators—and increase restitution amounts for victims.
Several pending bills, such as the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015 (H.R. 181; S.
178), the Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act of 2015 (H.R. 159), and the Human
Trafficking Prevention, Intervention, and Recovery Act of 2015 (H.R. 350), all as passed by the
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Domestic Human Trafficking Legislation in the 114th Congress
House, would adopt a multi-prong approach to anti-TIP efforts, including improving services to
victims. For example, H.R. 181 and S. 178 would create new grant programs for law enforcement
and victims services, and would amend the criminal code (Title 18 of the U.S. Code) for certain
trafficking-related activities. S. 178 would also impose an additional $5,000 penalty on anyone
convicted of certain trafficking-related and other offenses and would establish a Domestic
Trafficking Victims’ Fund into which revenues from such penalties would be deposited and used
to award certain grants authorized by the TVPA or to enhance victims’ services.
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Domestic Human Trafficking Legislation in the 114th Congress
Contents
Definition of Human Trafficking ..................................................................................................... 2
Select Anti-trafficking Legislation in the 114th Congress ................................................................ 3
Restoring Victims: Services and Benefits ........................................................................................ 5
Adequacy of Services for Victims ............................................................................................. 5
Certification ............................................................................................................................... 7
Job Corps Program .................................................................................................................... 7
Restitution and Damages ........................................................................................................... 7
Criminal Justice ............................................................................................................................... 8
Enhanced Financial Penalties .................................................................................................... 8
Reducing Demand ..................................................................................................................... 9
Cyber Crimes Unit in Immigration and Customs Enforcement ................................................ 9
Domestic Sex Trafficking of Children ........................................................................................... 10
Missing and Exploited Children .............................................................................................. 11
Runaway and Homeless Youth ................................................................................................ 12
Improving Investigations and Prosecutions of Child Abuse.................................................... 13
Response by the Child Welfare System ................................................................................... 14
Grant Programs for Domestic Minor Victims of Sex Trafficking ........................................... 16
Juvenile Justice ........................................................................................................................ 17
Other Issues ................................................................................................................................... 17
Inter-agency Coordination/Efficiency ..................................................................................... 17
Training ................................................................................................................................... 19
Sex Offender Registry ............................................................................................................. 20
Tables
Table A-1. Active Legislation in the 114th Congress that Addresses Human Trafficking .............. 22
Appendixes
Appendix. Pending Human Trafficking Bills that Have Received Congressional Action or
Are of Significant Congressional Interest................................................................................... 22
Contacts
Author Contact Information........................................................................................................... 26
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Domestic Human Trafficking Legislation in the 114th Congress
T
he 114th Congress has made fighting trafficking in persons (TIP) within the United States a
legislative priority.1 TIP is of significant interest to the United States as a serious human
rights concern and a prolific area of contemporary criminal activity.2 TIP is both an
international and domestic crime that involves violations of labor, public health, and human rights
standards, as well as criminal law.
The United States is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children
subject to trafficking in persons.3 Human trafficking occurs in every state, and it victimizes both
U.S. citizens and noncitizens.4 There are no current, reliable data on the number of individuals
trafficked in the United States. However, some have suggested as many as 17,500 may be
trafficked into the country each year,5 and perhaps 100,000 U.S. citizen children may be victims
of trafficking within the United States.6 The trafficking of individuals within U.S. borders is
commonly referred to as domestic human trafficking; it occurs primarily for labor, most often in
domestic service, agriculture, manufacturing, janitorial services, hotel services, construction,
health and elder care, hair and nail salons, and strip club dancing. However, more investigations
and prosecutions have taken place for sex trafficking offenses than for labor trafficking offenses.7
Noncitizens are more susceptible than U.S. citizens to labor trafficking,8 and more foreign
victims9 are found in labor trafficking than in sex trafficking. Migrant labor camps tend to be
common settings for labor exploitation and domestic trafficking.10 Although labor trafficking can
happen to U.S. citizens, significantly more U.S. citizens are found in sex trafficking than in labor
trafficking.11 Research indicates that most of the victims of sex trafficking into and within the
United States are women and children.
1
Within the first month of the 114th Congress, at least 12 bills concerning human trafficking saw legislative action in
the House. The Senate Judiciary Committee has also placed trafficking bills on its agenda.
2
U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report, 2014, June 2014.
3
Ibid.
4
Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center, Domestic Human Trafficking: An Internal Issue, Washington, DC,
December 2008, p. 2. (Hereinafter, Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center, Domestic Human Trafficking: An
Internal Issue.)
5
Department of Justice, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of State, Department of Labor,
Department of Homeland Security, and U.S. Agency of International Development, Assessment of U.S. Government
Efforts to Combat Trafficking in Persons, June 2004, p. 4. This is the most recent U.S. government estimate of those
who enter the United States and end up in trafficking situations. For more on the estimates, see CRS Report RL34317,
Trafficking in Persons: U.S. Policy and Issues for Congress, by Alison Siskin and Liana W. Rosen.
6
For a discussion of the estimates of U.S. citizen children who are victims of trafficking, see CRS Report R41878, Sex
Trafficking of Children in the United States: Overview and Issues for Congress, by Kristin Finklea, Adrienne L.
Fernandes-Alcantara, and Alison Siskin.
7
U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report, FY2011, June 2012, p. 360. Although sex trafficking is
sometimes considered a subset of human trafficking, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) defines them
separately, 22 U.S.C. §7102.
8
Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center, Domestic Human Trafficking: An Internal Issue, pp. 3-6.
9
Foreign victims do not include lawful permanent residents (LPRs). LPRs are foreign nationals who live permanently
in the United States and are also called immigrants. For the purposes of discussing trafficking victims in the United
States, LPRs are grouped with U.S. citizens.
10
Domestic human trafficking of migrant labor primarily occurs in the southeast and central regions of the United
States, although such conduct has been identified in other places. Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center, Domestic
Human Trafficking: An Internal Issue, pp. 3-6.
11
U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report, FY2009, June 2010, p. 338.
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Domestically, anti-TIP efforts include protection for victims, education of the public, and the
investigation and prosecution of trafficking offenses. The Departments of Justice (DOJ), Health
and Human Services (HHS), and Labor (DOL) have programs or administer grants to other
entities to provide assistance specific to the needs of trafficking victims. This includes temporary
housing, independent living skills, cultural orientation, transportation, job training, mental health
counseling, and legal assistance. A number of federal agencies administer public awareness
campaigns on recognizing human trafficking victims. The majority of cases investigated at the
federal level are handled by agents in DOJ’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the
Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’) U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE),
among others, who coordinate as appropriate. These cases are prosecuted by DOJ.12
For more than a decade, Congress has been actively legislating to counter domestic human
trafficking. Through the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA, Division A of P.L.
106-386) and its four reauthorizations (TVPRAs),13 Congress has aimed to eliminate human
trafficking within the United States by creating domestic grant programs for both victims and law
enforcement, enhancing criminal laws, and conducting oversight on the effectiveness and
implications of U.S. anti-TIP policy. The most recent reauthorization of the TVPA was in the
Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (Title XII of P.L. 113-4). In addition to
making other changes to the act, Congress reauthorized the grant programs through FY2017.
This report discusses domestic human trafficking-related issues that have received legislative
action or are of significant interest in the 114th Congress. It accompanies CRS Report RL34317,
Trafficking in Persons: U.S. Policy and Issues for Congress, by Alison Siskin and Liana W.
Rosen; and CRS Report R41878, Sex Trafficking of Children in the United States: Overview and
Issues for Congress, by Kristin Finklea, Adrienne L. Fernandes-Alcantara, and Alison Siskin.
Definition of Human Trafficking
Federal statutes do not formally define human trafficking or trafficking in persons. Instead, the
TVPA defines “severe forms of trafficking in persons” to mean
(A) sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or
in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; or
12
The cases are prosecuted by the U.S. Attorneys Offices, “as well as by two specialized units—the Civil Rights
Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit (HTPU), which oversees prosecutions involving labor trafficking and
sex trafficking of adults, and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), which
specializes in prosecuting child sex trafficking and child sex tourism.” U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons
Report 2014, June 2014, p. 398.
13
Prior to the most recent authorization in 2013 (P.L. 113-4), the TVPA was reauthorized in 2003 by the Trafficking
Victims Reauthorization Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-193); in 2005 by the Trafficking Victims Reauthorization Act of 2005
(P.L. 109-164); and in 2008 by the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008
(P.L. 110-547). Other legislation has included anti-trafficking provisions. For a discussion of anti-trafficking
legislation, see Appendix A in CRS Report RL34317, Trafficking in Persons: U.S. Policy and Issues for Congress, by
Alison Siskin and Liana W. Rosen.
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(B) the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or
services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to
involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.14
There appears to be a consensus among experts that the prostitution of minors fits the definition
of “severe forms of trafficking in persons” as defined under the TVPA.
Other TVPA Definitions
The TVPA provides other definitions relevant to trafficking. Some of these definitions are referenced in the pending
legislation.
•
“Sex trafficking”: the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose
of a commercial sex act.
•
“Victim of Trafficking”: a person subjected to an act or practice described under the definitions of “severe forms
of trafficking in persons” or “sex trafficking.”
•
“Commercial Sex Act”: any sex act on account of which anything of value is given or received by any person.
•
“Coercion”: (1) threats of serious harm to or physical restraint against any person; (2) any scheme, plan, or
pattern intended to cause a person to believe that failure to perform an act would result in serious harm or
physical restraint against any person; or (3) the abuse or threatened abuse of the legal process.
Select Anti-trafficking Legislation in the
114th Congress
This report examines the trafficking-related provisions in legislation that has at least been
reported out of committee in the 114th Congress. Where applicable, it discusses companion
legislation that may not have been considered in committee and related legislation in the 113th
Congress. The legislation includes the following:
•
Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act of 2015 (H.R. 159), as passed by the
House on January 27, 2015.15
•
Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015 (H.R. 181), as passed by the House
on January 27, 2015.16
•
To Improve the Response to Victims of Child Sex Trafficking (H.R. 246), as
passed by the House on January 27, 2015.17
14
Section 103(8) of Div. A of P.L. 106-386, Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000; approved
October 28, 2000; 22 U.S.C. §7102.
15
Companion legislation (S. 166) was reported favorably by the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 26, 2015.
Bills with similar names and provisions—the Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act of 2014 (S. 2599; H.R. 3610,
passed by the House) and the Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act of 2013 (S. 1733)—were introduced in the
113th Congress.
16
S. 178 in the 114th Congress has the same name and some similar provisions to H.R. 181. Bills with similar names
and provisions—the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2014 (H.R. 3530, passed by the House) and the Justice
for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2013 (S. 1738)—were introduced in the 113th Congress.
17
A bill with the same name and similar provisions—To Improve the Response to Victims of Child Sex Trafficking
(H.R. 5111)—was passed by the House in the 113th Congress.
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•
Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation Act of 2015 (SAVE Act, H.R. 285), as
passed by the House on January 27, 2015.18
•
Human Trafficking Prevention, Intervention, and Recovery Act of 2015 (H.R.
350), as passed by the House on January 27, 2015.19
•
Human Trafficking Prevention Act (H.R. 357), as passed by the House on
January 26, 2015.20
•
Trafficking Awareness Training for Health Care Act of 2015 (H.R. 398; S. 205),
as passed by the House on January 27, 2015.21
•
Human Trafficking Detection Act of 2015 (H.R. 460), as passed by the House on
January 27, 2015.22
•
Enhancing Services for Runaway and Homeless Victims of Youth Trafficking Act
of 2015 (H.R. 468), as passed by the House on January 26, 2015.23
•
Strengthening Child Welfare Response to Trafficking Act of 2015 (H.R. 469), as
passed by the House on January 27, 2015.24
•
Human Trafficking Prioritization Act (H.R. 514), as passed by the House on
January 26, 2015.25
•
International Megan’s Law to Prevent Demand for Child Sex Trafficking (H.R.
515), as passed by the House on January 26, 2015.26
•
Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act of 2015 (S. 166), as reported by the
Senate Judiciary Committee on February 26, 2015.27
18
A bill with a similar name and provisions—the SAVE Act of 2014 (H.R. 4225)—was passed by the House in the
113th Congress.
19
A bill with a similar name and provisions—the Human Trafficking Prevention, Intervention, and Recovery Act of
2014 (H.R. 5135)—was passed by the House in the 113th Congress.
20
A bill with the same name and similar provisions—the Human Trafficking Prevention Act (H.R. 4499)—was passed
by the House in the 113th Congress.
21
A bill with a similar name and provisions—the Trafficking Awareness Training for Health Care Act of 2014 (H.R.
5411)—was introduced in the 113th Congress.
22
A bill with a similar name and provisions—the Human Trafficking Detection Act of 2014 (H.R. 5116)—was passed
by the House in the 113th Congress.
23
Another pending bill (S. 262) includes similar provisions. A bill with a similar name and provisions—the Enhancing
Services for Runaway and Homeless Victims of Youth Trafficking Act of 2014 (H.R. 5076)—was passed by the House
in the 113th Congress.
24
A bill with a similar name and provisions—the Strengthening the Child Welfare Response to Human Trafficking Act
of 2014 (H.R. 5081)—was passed by the House in the 113th Congress.
25
A bill with the same name and similar provisions—the Human Trafficking Prioritization Act (H.R. 2283)—was
passed by the House in the 113th Congress.
26
A bill with the same name and similar provisions—the International Megan’s Law to Prevent Demand for Child Sex
Trafficking (H.R. 4573)—was passed by the House in the 113th Congress.
27
Companion legislation (H.R. 159) was reported favorably by the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 26, 2015.
Bills with similar names and provisions—the Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act of 2014 (S. 2599; H.R. 3610,
passed by the House) and the Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act of 2013 (S. 1733)—were introduced in the
113th Congress.
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•
Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015 (S. 178), as reported by the Senate
Committee on the Judiciary on February 26, 2015.28
The sections that follow discuss issues raised in the bills. The issues are grouped under the
following themes: (1) restoring victims through services and benefits, (2) criminal justice, (3)
domestic sex trafficking of children, and (4) other issues that include inter-agency coordination,
training, and sex offender registry and notification.
Restoring Victims: Services and Benefits
In general, the trafficking business feeds on continuing demand and conditions of vulnerability,
such as youth, gender, poverty, and social exclusion. Actors engaged in human trafficking range
from family-run organizations to sophisticated transnational organized crime syndicates.
Trafficking victims are often subjected to mental and physical abuse in order to control them.
Abuses may include debt bondage, social isolation, removal of identification cards and travel
documents, violence, and threat of reprisals against them or their families.29
A major aspect of U.S. anti-trafficking efforts is victim assistance: providing immediate services
when victims are identified and helping them recover from the victimization and reclaim their
lives. Pending legislation (H.R. 181, H.R. 159, H.R. 350, S. 166, and S. 178) seeks to improve
services to victims.
Adequacy of Services for Victims
One issue surrounding U.S. policy to combat human trafficking is whether the United States
provides equal treatment of all victims—foreign nationals and U.S. citizens, as well as victims of
labor trafficking and sex trafficking. Related to this is whether current services are adequate to
combat sex trafficking of minors in the United States (i.e., the prostitution of children). There is
confusion over whether U.S. citizens, as well as noncitizens, are eligible for services under all the
anti-trafficking grant programs authorized by the TVPA, and whether Congress has provided
funding for programs that target U.S. citizen and lawful permanent resident (LPR) victims.30
Under the TVPA, DOJ, HHS, and DOL have programs or administer grants to other entities to
provide services to trafficking victims.31 Only the DOJ and HHS programs receive specified
funding for trafficking victims services.
28
H.R. 181 in the 114th Congress has the same name and some similar provisions to S. 178. Bills with similar names
and provisions—the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2014 (H.R. 3530, passed by the House) and the Justice
for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2013 (S. 1738)—were introduced in the 113th Congress.
29
CRS Report RL34317, Trafficking in Persons: U.S. Policy and Issues for Congress, by Alison Siskin and Liana W.
Rosen.
30
Under the TVPA, ”noncitizen victims” refers to victims of human trafficking in the United States who are either on
temporary visas or are illegally present (i.e., unauthorized aliens). It does not include LPRs. References to U.S. citizen
trafficking victims include LPR victims.
31
In addition, the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) has instructed its lawyers to provide legal assistance to trafficking
victims. The LSC, established by Congress, is a private, nonprofit, federally funded corporation that helps provide legal
assistance to low-income people in civil (i.e., noncriminal) matters.
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A related issue is the overall amount of funding for victims services, especially as the focus on
sex trafficking is broadening to include minor sex trafficking victims in the United States who are
U.S. citizens. Between FY2002 and FY2013, Congress appropriated approximately $20 million
each year for victims services, and the amount was increased to approximately $28 million in
FY2014 and approximately $58 million in FY2015. Between FY2009 and FY2013, HHS used all
of its appropriated money on services for trafficking victims before the end of the fiscal year—
and all of the services were provided to noncitizen victims. Notably, the Department of State’s
Trafficking in Persons Report, FY2012 recommended increasing funding for relevant agencies to
provide victims services.32 Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) report a critical need for an
increase in the overall funding for comprehensive services.33
The 113th Congress amended certain grant programs so that sex trafficking victims would be
eligible for victims services programs. For example, the 2013 reauthorization of the Violence
Against Women Act (VAWA, P.L. 113-4) clarifies that victims services and legal assistance under
VAWA34 include services and assistance to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual
assault, or stalking who are also victims of severe forms of trafficking in persons.35 In addition,
P.L. 113-4 amended the purpose for grants to tribal governments to combat violence against
women to include sex trafficking and created a new purpose area to provide services to address
the needs of youth who are victims of several crimes, including sex trafficking. The act also
created a new tribal coalition grant program (administered by DOJ), which, among other
purposes, seeks to enhance access to essential services for Indian women victimized by domestic
and sexual violence, including sex trafficking; and to assist Indian tribes in developing and
promoting state, local, and tribal laws and policies that enhance best practices for responding to
violent crimes against Indian women, including sex trafficking.36 In addition, P.L. 113-4 amended
the grant program for state and local law enforcement’s anti-trafficking programs focusing on
U.S. citizen victims37 so that these grants can be used for anti-trafficking programs for noncitizen
victims as well.38
Pending legislation in the 114th Congress also aims to enhance services to trafficking victims. The
Human Trafficking Prevention, Intervention, and Recovery Act of 2015 (H.R. 350), and S. 178
would clarify that DOJ grants for trafficking victims services could be used to provide housing.
The Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act of 2015 (H.R. 159 and S. 166) would require,
beginning in FY2017, that the Secretary of HHS make grants for a national communications
system to help victims of severe forms of trafficking communicate with service providers. The
Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015 (H.R. 181 and S. 178) would, among other things,
add additional rights for victims of federal crime, including the right to be informed in a timely
32
U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report, FY2012, June 2013, p. 382.
Ibid., p. 381.
34
For more on these grants, see CRS Report R42499, The Violence Against Women Act: Overview, Legislation, and
Federal Funding, by Lisa N. Sacco.
35
Under these provisions, “severe forms of trafficking in persons” is defined under the Trafficking Victims Protection
Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 7102).
36
For more on these grants, see CRS Report R42499, The Violence Against Women Act: Overview, Legislation, and
Federal Funding, by Lisa N. Sacco.
37
This grant program was created in P.L. 109-164, §204 (42 U.S.C. §14044c(d)).
38
The grant program was also modified so that funding is available for victim identification training and prioritizing
cases involving minor victims of sex trafficking.
33
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manner of court agreements and, with some exceptions, to be informed about certain victims
services.
Certification
Under the TVPA, noncitizen victims of trafficking are certified as victims by HHS, which makes
them eligible for services.39 U.S. citizen and LPR trafficking victims are not required to be
certified by HHS, and indeed would not meet the criteria to be certified because certification
applies only to foreign nationals who need an immigration status (e.g., T status or continued
presence)40 to remain in the United States.41 Thus, an issue that has arisen is whether U.S. citizen
and LPR victims are eligible for certain victims services (e.g., those funded by HHS and DOL)
since they do not need to undergo certification.42 H.R. 181 and S. 178 would clarify that U.S.
citizen and LPR victims of trafficking are not required to be certified by HHS in order to be
eligible for HHS-provided services for trafficking victims.43
Job Corps Program
Job Corps is an employment and job training program for 16-to-24 year olds that is administered
by DOL.44 H.R. 159 and S. 166 would amend the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act
(which supersedes the Workforce Investment Act as of July 1, 2015) to specify that victims of a
severe form of trafficking (as defined in the TVPA) do not need to meet the income requirement
to be eligible for the Job Corps program.45
Restitution and Damages
Victims of human trafficking often suffer injuries that can affect them for the rest of their lives.
Medical care, psychological treatment, job training, and more may be necessary to assist victims
in recovering.46 Current law allows a victim of peonage, slavery, or trafficking in persons to bring
39
The programs in TVPA for noncitizen victims were created in part because under the law noncitizen victims are
statutorily ineligible for many public benefits (e.g., Medicaid, housing assistance). For a discussion of noncitizen
eligibility for public benefits, see CRS Report RL33809, Noncitizen Eligibility for Federal Public Assistance: Policy
Overview and Trends, by Alison Siskin.
40
T status or T visas are given to victims of severe forms of trafficking who meet certain requirements. Continued
presence is not an immigration status; it refers to the Secretary of DHS’ discretionary authority to use a variety of
statutory and administrative mechanisms to ensure the alien’s continued presence in the United States. For more on T
status and continued presence, see CRS Report RL34317, Trafficking in Persons: U.S. Policy and Issues for Congress,
by Alison Siskin and Liana W. Rosen.
41
Before certification however, victims are eligible for services that are funded by DOJ.
42
Under the TVPA, certification appears to be required for victims receiving services though HHS and DOL. For an indepth discussion of this issue, see CRS Report RL34317, Trafficking in Persons: U.S. Policy and Issues for Congress,
by Alison Siskin and Liana W. Rosen.
43
TVPA §107(f); 22 U.S.C. 7105(f).
44
For further information about the Job Corps program, see CRS Report R40929, Vulnerable Youth: Employment and
Job Training Programs, by Adrienne L. Fernandes-Alcantara.
45
One of the eligibility requirements for the Job Corps program is that the applicant is a low-income individual.
Section 144 of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (P.L. 113-128).
46
Polaris Project and the Law Firm of Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P., Maximizing Restitution Awards for Labor and Sex
Trafficking Victims, A Guide for Federal Prosecutors and Pro Bono Attorneys, 2013, p. 5.
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a civil action against his/her perpetrator and obtain civil remedies. H.R. 159 and S. 166 would
require the Attorney General to collect and tabulate data on mandatory restitution orders (the
TVPA requires the court to order restitution—paid by the defendant to the victim—for any crime
of peonage, slavery, or trafficking in persons) including demographic data on the perpetrators. S.
178 would provide for the forfeiture of property involved in human trafficking offenses; these
properties (or the proceeds from their sale) would be used to satisfy victim restitution orders. It
would also require DOJ to provide training for certain court officers to assist in seeking
restitution. (See the section entitled “Training”.)
Criminal Justice
While the United States has a number of statutes that can and have been used to combat human
trafficking, law enforcement and policy makers remain interested in ways to enhance
investigations and prosecutions of individuals who commit trafficking offenses. In general,
federal law enforcement has targeted criminal networks that may involve individuals operating in
a number of capacities.
In an effort to help law enforcement combat the advertising side of commercial sexual
exploitation, H.R. 285 aims to permit the prosecution of entities (including websites) that
advertise a person “knowing”, or in reckless disregard of the fact, that force or fraud has been
used to cause the person to engage in a commercial sex act or that the victim is a minor. For
entities that have not advertised but “benefit” from participating in a venture that has engaged in
such advertising, reckless disregard of the fact that force or fraud has been used or that a minor
was involved would not be enough; they would have to know either fact exists.
H.R. 181 and S. 178 would expand the ability of federal, state, and local prosecutors to obtain
wiretap orders from courts for certain investigations by including additional trafficking-related
offenses as allowable investigations. H.R. 181 and S. 178 would also expand law enforcement’s
“toolbox” for prosecuting individuals who transport minors for illegal sexual activity by requiring
prosecutors to show “clear and convincing evidence” rather than a “preponderance of evidence”
that the defendants knew that the individual with whom they had engaged in sexual activity had
not attained 18 years of age.47 H.R. 159 and S. 166would clarify that the U.S. Marshals Service
has the authority to help (upon request) federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in
locating and recovering missing children.
Enhanced Financial Penalties
S. 178 would impose an additional $5,000 penalty on anyone convicted of offenses including
peonage, slavery, or trafficking in persons; sexual abuse; sexual exploitation and other child
abuse; transportation for illegal sexual activity; and certain human smuggling offenses. These
monies would be deposited into a Domestic Trafficking Victims’ Fund that S. 178 would also
establish. Money from the fund could be used to award certain grants authorized by the TVPA or
enhance victims’ programming under the Victims of Child Abuse Act, including for victims of
child pornography. The bill would prohibit the use of money from the fund for abortions or for
health benefits coverage that includes abortion coverage, except in instances where the pregnancy
47
It would amend 18 U.S.C. §2423(g).
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is the result of a rape or incest or where the mother’s life would be in danger without an abortion.
Unobligated money in the fund would be transferred to the Crime Victims Fund at the end of each
fiscal year.
Reducing Demand
Experts widely agree that any efforts to reduce the prevalence of trafficking should address not
only the supply but also the demand.48 While statutes exist to allow federal law enforcement to
prosecute the buyers of commercial sex, federal legislation has focused more extensively on
penalizing the traffickers and placed less emphasis on the buyers. To increase focus on combating
the demand for sex trafficking, H.R. 181 and S. 178 would, among other things, explicitly
prohibit the patronizing or soliciting of commercial sex (or benefiting from these activities).49
These bills would also clarify that federal prosecutors need not prove that a defendant both knew
and disregarded the fact that a victim had not yet attained 18 years of age. In addition, H.R. 181
and S. 178 would require the Attorney General to ensure that working groups and task forces
within the Violent Crimes Against Children program (which includes the Innocence Lost National
Initiative) work to enhance state and local law enforcement investigative capabilities to detect,
investigate, and prosecute individuals who patronize or solicit children for sex. The Innocence
Lost National Initiative is a partnership between the FBI, DOJ’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity
Section, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC)50 that develops
task forces and working groups to recover children who are prostituted and prosecutes the
perpetrators of child sex trafficking.51 S. 178 would also require the Bureau of Justice Statistics to
report annually on statistics related to the arrest and prosecution of buyers.
Cyber Crimes Unit in Immigration and Customs Enforcement
S. 178 would require the Secretary of Homeland Security to operate a Cyber Crimes Center (the
Center) within ICE to provide investigative assistance, training, and equipment support to ICE’s
domestic and international investigations of cyber-related crimes. Within the Center there would
be a Child Exploitation Investigations Unit (CEIU), Computer Forensics Unit (CFU), and Cyber
Crimes Unit (CCU). The CEIU would be charged with coordinating all ICE child exploitation
initiatives and investigations into child exploitation, child pornography, child victim
identification, child sex tourism, and forced child labor. The CEIU would also provide: training,
technical expertise, and support, as needed, to law enforcement agencies and personnel; support
and counseling services to ICE personnel engaged in child exploitation prevention; and outreach
and training activities. The CEUI would also collect and maintain data regarding law enforcement
activities of ICE, and produce reports using this data.
48
Polaris Project, Why Trafficking Exists, http://www.polarisproject.org/human-trafficking/overview/why-traffickingexists. The Polaris Project is a nonprofit organization that works on human trafficking issues. See also Shared Hope
International, DEMAND. A Comparative Examination of Sex Tourism and Trafficking in Jamaica, Japan, the
Netherlands, and the United States, 2007.
49
The amendment would be made to the criminal code concerning sex trafficking of children: 18 U.S.C. §1591.
50
NCMEC is a nonprofit, federally funded organization that operates the national clearinghouse on missing and
sexually exploited children.
51
For more on the Innocence Lost Initiative, see Federal Bureau of Investigation, Violent Crimes Against Children –
Innocence Lost, http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/vc_majorthefts/cac/innocencelost.
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The CFU would, among other duties, provide technical and digital forensics to ICE personnel as
well as, subject to available funding, other federal, state, local, tribal, military and foreign law
enforcement agencies investigating crimes, and research and develop digital forensics.
Furthermore, CCU would oversee ICE’s cyber security strategy and operations, and to enhance
ICE’s ability to combat criminal enterprises operating on or through the Internet. The CEUI,
CFU, and CCU would be authorized to collaborate with the Department of Defense and National
Association to Protect Children to recruit, train and hire wounded, ill and injured veterans and
transitioning service members.
Domestic Sex Trafficking of Children
Domestic sex trafficking of children is trafficking within the United States involving a
commercial sex act in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of
age.52 Regardless of whether a child is believed to have consented to sex or whether the child
represents himself/herself as an adult, the child is considered a trafficking victim under federal
law.53 The exact number of child victims of sex trafficking in the United States is unknown
because of challenges in defining the population and varying methodologies used to arrive at
estimates. Most of the victims are U.S. citizens and LPRs.54
Commercial sexual exploitation of children appears to be fueled by a variety of individual (e.g.,
homelessness or history of child abuse), relationship (e.g., family conflict or dysfunction),
community (e.g., peer pressure or gang involvement), and societal (e.g., sexualization of children)
variables.55 These factors may interact in ways that can increase the risk of exploitation. As part
of its 2013 report on child sex trafficking, the National Academy of Sciences recommended that
multiple stakeholders—such as the federal government, state and local governments, academic
and research institutions, foundations and nongovernmental organizations, and the commercial
sector—collaborate to address this issue.56
The 113th Congress passed legislation to address sex trafficking of children, including the E. Clay
Shaw, Jr. Missing Children’s Assistance Reauthorization Act (P.L. 113-38) and the Preventing Sex
Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act (P.L. 113-183). P.L. 113-38 directs DOJ’s Missing
52
For more information on sex trafficking of children in the United States, see CRS Report R41878, Sex Trafficking of
Children in the United States: Overview and Issues for Congress, by Kristin Finklea, Adrienne L. Fernandes-Alcantara,
and Alison Siskin.
53
Under 18 U.S.C. §1591(c), the prosecution is relieved of proving the defendant “knew” the victim was under 18
years old if he had a “reasonable opportunity” to observe the victim. However, the lower courts are split on whether
this alternative mental state requirement relieves the government of proving both “knowing” and “reckless disregard”
in §1591(a) or just the “knowing” requirement. Compare United States v. Robinson, 702 F.3d 22, 31-32 (2d Cir. 2012)
(holding that subsection (c) relieves both requirements where the defendant had opportunity to observe) with United
States v. Wilson, No. 10-60101-CR, 2010 WL 2991561, *7 (S.D. Fl July 27, 2010) (holding that subjection (c) only
relieves the knowing, and not the reckless disregard, requirement). As noted, H.R. 181 would address this issue in favor
of an alternative reading (either knew or recklessly disregarded, but not both).
54
Linda A. Smith, Samantha Headly Vardaman, and Melissa A. Snow, The National Report on Domestic Minor Sex
Trafficking: America’s Prostituted Children, Shared Hope International, May 2009. (Hereinafter Linda A. Smith,
Samantha Healy Vardaman, and Melissa A. Snow, The National Report on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking: America’s
Prostituted Children).
55
Ellen Wright Clayton, Richard D. Krugman, and Patti Simon, eds., Confronting Commercial Sexual Exploitation and
Sex Trafficking of Minors in the United States, National Academy of Sciences, 2013, pp. 42-43.
56
Ibid, pp. 337-342.
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and Exploited Children’s program to provide assistance to responders that assist child sex
trafficking victims, and P.L. 113-183 requires child welfare agencies to identify and determine
appropriate services for certain children who are victims of sex trafficking, or are at risk of
victimization. In addition, the 2013 TVPA reauthorization act (P.L. 113-4) created a new
discretionary grant program for child sex trafficking victims.57 The new grant program authorizes
DOJ, in consultation with HHS, to award one-year grants to six grantees to combat sex trafficking
of children in the United States, with a focus on providing direct services to victims.
The 114th Congress continues to consider legislation on sex trafficking of children. Many of these
bills touch on a variety of policy areas, including missing and runaway youth, the child welfare
system, and juvenile justice. For instance, the House has passed three bills that seek to strengthen
the federal and state responses to trafficking through a variety of service systems. H.R. 246 would
ensure that reports to a federally funded tipline of sexually exploited children can include children
who are victims of sex trafficking. H.R. 468 would require the Runaway and Homeless Youth
program to prioritize staff training on sexual exploitation and sex trafficking and target certain
services to youth who are vulnerable to sex and labor trafficking. H.R. 469 would reinforce the
type of requirements enacted under P.L. 113-183 for state child welfare agencies to respond to
child sex trafficking and would further specify that these agencies can respond to child victims of
labor trafficking.
Missing and Exploited Children
The Missing and Exploited Children’s (MEC) program, administered by DOJ, authorizes supports
for children who are missing and/or sexually exploited. The Missing Children’s Assistance Act
requires DOJ to provide an annual grant to the National Center for Missing and Exploited
Children (NCMEC), which serves as a clearinghouse for assisting law enforcement and other
stakeholders in responding to cases involving these children.58
As noted, the E. Clay Shaw, Jr. Missing Children’s Assistance Reauthorization Act (P.L. 113-38)
addressed child sex trafficking through amendments to the Missing Children’s Assistance Act. In
addition to reauthorizing the MEC Program, it added a requirement for NCMEC that pertains to
child sex trafficking. Specifically, the law directed NCMEC to provide technical assistance to law
enforcement agencies and first responders in identifying, locating, and recovering victims of, and
children at risk for, child sex trafficking. Although this responsibility was not specified in the law
before P.L. 113-38 was enacted, generally such activities have been carried out by NCMEC in
recent years.
H.R. 246 and S. 178 in the 114th Congress would make additional changes to the Missing
Children’s Assistance Act. Currently, the law specifies that NCMEC is to operate a tipline for
online users and electronic service providers to report Internet-related child sexual exploitation.
The act currently outlines eight categories that can be reported to the tipline (referred to as the
CyberTipline), including child prostitution. Both bills would strike “child prostitution” and
57
This grant program replaced the HHS grant program for states; Indian tribes; units of local government; and
nonprofit, nongovernmental victims’ service organizations to provide assistance programs for U.S. citizens or LPR
trafficking victims created in P.L. 109-164 (§202).
58
The MEC program supports a range of activities authorized under the Missing Children’s Assistance Act and other
laws. For further information, see CRS Report RL34050, Missing and Exploited Children: Background, Policies, and
Issues, by Adrienne L. Fernandes-Alcantara.
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replace it with “child sex trafficking, including child prostitution.” In practice, NCMEC already
refers to this category as “child sex trafficking.”59
H.R. 181 and S. 178 would amend the Crime Control Act of 1990 concerning reporting children
to the federal National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Missing Person File. The NCIC is a
computerized index of information on crimes and criminals that is maintained by the FBI. Under
current federal law, (1) no law enforcement agency within a state may establish or maintain
policies that require a waiting period before accepting a missing child or unidentified person
report; (2) no law enforcement agency may establish or maintain any policy that requires the
removal of a missing person entry from the NCIC (or the state law enforcement system) solely
based on the age of the person; and (3) the report of each missing child must include certain
items, such as demographic information, location of the last known contact with the child, and the
category under which the child is reported. States must further ensure that law enforcement
agencies enter the profile of each child—including young adults ages 18 to 21—to the NCIC (and
state law enforcement database) within two hours of receiving a report that he or she is missing.60
Within 60 days after the profile is entered, the law enforcement agency must verify and update
records with any additional information, including medical and dental records, and they must
make these records available to the state’s missing children information clearinghouse or other
agency designated within the state to receive such reports. Finally, the law enforcement agency
must also institute or assist with appropriate search and investigative procedures, and maintain
close contact with NCMEC to exchange information and receive technical assistance.
In order to gain information on one pool of potential human trafficking victims, H.R. 181 and S.
178 would require law enforcement agencies submitting information to NCIC on a missing child
to include a recent (within 180 days) photograph and to notify NCMEC of each report that relates
to a child reportedly missing from foster care. S. 178 would also change the period of time for
verifying and updating records of missing children, from 60 days to 30 days. S. 178 would further
specify that the record be updated, where available, with a photograph taken within the prior 180
days of the original entry into the NCIC and the state law enforcement database. The bill would
also require the applicable state law enforcement agency to notify NCMEC of each report that
relates to a child reportedly missing from foster care. In addition, it would require the state law
enforcement agency to grant permission to the NCIC Terminal Contractor61 for the state to update
the missing person record in the NCIC with additional information on the missing child that is
learned during the investigation.
Runaway and Homeless Youth
The Runaway and Homeless Youth program is administered by HHS and authorized under the
Runaway and Homeless Youth Act. The act funds organizations throughout the country to provide
59
See, NCMEC, “CyberTipline,” http://www.missingkids.com/cybertipline/.
42 U.S.C. §5779 et seq.
61
It appears that the language may be referring to a Contracting Government Agency (CGA) that enters into an
agreement with a private contractor, subject to Department of Justice (DOJ) policies on security. The CGA entering
into an agreement with a contractor is to appoint an agency coordinator. See, DOJ, Federal Bureau of Investigation
(FBI), Criminal Justice Information Services Division, Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Security Policy
version 5.3, August 4, 2014, http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/cjis-security-policy-resource-center/view.
60
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services to youth who have run away and/or experienced homelessness. It also supports research,
evaluations, and technical assistance for grantees.62
The Enhancing Services for Runaway and Homeless Victims for Youth Trafficking Act of 2015
(H.R. 468) and S. 178 would amend provisions in the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act on
grants for research, evaluation, demonstration, and service projects. Specifically, the bill would
expand on the types of research and other projects that HHS should prioritize, including projects
that address staff training on (1) the behavioral and emotional effects of severe forms of
trafficking (both sex and labor trafficking) and sex trafficking, (2) responding to youth showing
effects of such trafficking victimization, and (3) agency-wide strategies for working with runaway
and homeless youth who have been sexually victimized, including victims of sex trafficking. The
bills would separately amend the Street Outreach Program (SOP) to make a change to the law that
addresses HHS’ authority to make grants under the program. Current law specifies that the SOP is
to serve runaway and homeless youth, and street youth, who have been subjected to, or are at risk
of being subjected to, sexual abuse, prostitution, or sexual exploitation. The bills would add
severe forms of trafficking in persons or sex trafficking, as defined by the TVPA, to the list of
victimization categories. By referencing the TVPA definitions of “severe forms of trafficking in
persons” and “sex trafficking” for both the SOP and the provisions on research and other projects,
the bills encompass child and adult victims of sex and labor trafficking.
Improving Investigations and Prosecutions of Child Abuse
Subtitle A of the Victims of Child Abuse Act supports improving investigation and prosecution of
child abuse through the expansion and improvement of Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs). In
addition, it provides for related technical assistance and training, including training for attorneys
or others involved in the prosecution of child abuse.
CACs are intended to coordinate a multi-disciplinary response to child abuse (e.g., law
enforcement, child protection/social service, medical, mental health) in a manner that ensures
child abuse victims (and any nonoffending family members) receive the support services they
need and do not experience added trauma as a result of the investigation of child abuse. CACs are
located in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.63 The law also requires the establishment and
support of four regional children’s advocacy centers to increase the number of communities with
CACs, help improve their practices, and support development of state chapter organizations for
CACs.
H.R. 181 and S. 178 would amend Subtitle A of the Victims of Child Abuse Act by expanding the
definition of “child abuse” used by CACs—meaning physical or sexual abuse or neglect of a
child—to include the production of child pornography64 and human trafficking. In addition, H.R.
181 would direct grantees receiving funding for CACs or training and technical assistance to meet
certain oversight and accountability requirements, and to disclose other sources of federal
funding. Separately, the bills would enable DOJ to make grants for the development and
62
For further information about the Runaway and Homeless Youth program, see CRS Report RL33785, Runaway and
Homeless Youth: Demographics and Programs, by Adrienne L. Fernandes-Alcantara.
63
For further information about Children’s Advocacy Centers, see CRS Report R43458, Child Welfare: An Overview
of Federal Programs and Their Current Funding, by Emilie Stoltzfus.
64
The production of child pornography for profit could be a human trafficking violation.
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implementation of specialized programs to identify and provide direct services to victims of child
pornography.
As mentioned, S. 178 would establish a Domestic Trafficking Victims’ Fund. The bill would
direct the Attorney General, in coordination with the HHS Secretary, to use the amounts available
in the fund to, among other things, award grants or enhance victims programming provided
through grants for CACs (and specified activities under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act).
Of the amounts available in the fund, and assuming enough funds are available in a given fiscal
year, not less than $2 million could be used for such services.
Response by the Child Welfare System
State and local child welfare agencies are responsible for carrying out child welfare policies that
are intended to promote the safety, well-being, and permanency of all children. Child victims of
sex trafficking may come to the attention of a child welfare agency if they are reported to an
agency’s child protective services (CPS) hotline. Children in foster care—who are placed out of
their homes typically due to abuse or neglect by their parents or caregivers—may be vulnerable to
trafficking. Youth who run away from foster care are perceived to be especially susceptible to this
type of victimization. The capacity for state and local child welfare agencies to respond to the
needs of sex trafficking victims is believed to be limited. This may be due, in part, to inadequate
training, insufficient resources, high caseloads, and the perception that victims should be handled
in the juvenile justice system.65 In addition, states may not have mechanisms in place to “screen
in” cases involving a child who is sex trafficked because the perpetrator involved is not the
child’s parent or caregiver as these terms are defined under state law.66
The Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act (P.L. 113-183), enacted in
September 2014, specified a new role for state child welfare agencies in responding to child sex
trafficking.67 Specifically, it amended the federal foster care program (authorized in Title IV-E of
the Social Security Act) to require state child welfare agencies to develop and implement
procedures to identify, document in agency records, and determine appropriate services for
certain children or youth who are victims of sex trafficking, or at risk of being such victims. The
procedures need to ensure relevant training for caseworkers and must be developed in
consultation with state and local law enforcement, juvenile justice systems, health care providers,
education agencies, and organizations with experience in dealing with at-risk children and youth.
The law further requires state child welfare agencies to report (1) information it receives on
missing and abducted children to NCMEC and to law enforcement authorities for inclusion in the
NCIC database; and (2) to HHS annually on the total number of children and youth who are sex
65
Ellen Wright Clayton, Richard D. Krugman, and Patti Simon, eds., Confronting Commercial Sexual Exploitation and
Sex Trafficking of Minors in the United States, National Academy of Sciences, pp. 186, 237-241.
66
For further information, see CRS Report R41878, Sex Trafficking of Children in the United States: Overview and
Issues for Congress, by Kristin Finklea, Adrienne L. Fernandes-Alcantara, and Alison Siskin.
67
For further information, see CRS Report R43757, Child Welfare and Child Support: The Preventing Sex Trafficking
and Strengthening Families Act (P.L. 113-183), by Emilie Stoltzfus, Adrienne L. Fernandes-Alcantara, and Carmen
Solomon-Fears. P.L. 113-183 draws from Section 103 of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) to define a
“sex trafficking victim” as an individual subject to the “recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining
of a person for the purposes of a commercial sex act” or who is a victim of a “severe form of trafficking in persons” in
which “a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform the act
is under 18 years of age.”
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trafficking victims. The procedures to identify, document in agency records, and determine
services for victims of, or those at risk of, sex trafficking must apply to all children in the care,
placement, or supervision of the state child welfare agency.68 In addition, a state may elect to use
these procedures to identify individuals up to the age of 26 who are victims, or at risk of
becoming victims, of sex trafficking without regard to whether the youth was ever in foster care.
Separately, HHS is required under the law to establish a national advisory committee on child sex
trafficking that must develop policies on improving the nation’s response to domestic sex
trafficking, among other responsibilities.
A pending bill, the Strengthening the Child Welfare Response to Trafficking Act of 2015 (H.R.
469), seeks to reinforce some of these same concepts via the state grants program under Section
106 of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA). The bill would seek to ensure
that initial investigation and assessment of child trafficking occurs, and to support states in
developing procedures with regard to child victims of labor trafficking as well. Funding for
CAPTA state grants is provided to help states improve their child welfare systems and may be
used for a range of purposes specified in the law.69 As part of their CAPTA state plans submitted
to HHS, states are required to have a statewide law or program to receive and respond to
allegations of child abuse or neglect, ensure children’s safety, and provide appropriate referrals;
and to have in place other procedures to respond to abused and neglected children.70
H.R. 469 would add that the state plans must include provisions and procedures related to sex
trafficking of children. Specifically, such provisions and procedures would have to address (1)
identifying and assessing reports involving children who are sex trafficking victims, (2) training
representatives of the state child protective services about identifying and assessing such children,
and (3) identifying services (including services provided by state law enforcement officials, the
state juvenile justice system, and social service agencies such as runaway and homeless youth
shelters) and procedures for appropriately referring child victims of sex trafficking to address
their needs. Further, the bill would permit states to develop these same provisions and procedures
for children who are victims of labor trafficking. States would also be required to include in their
annual data reports to HHS the number of children identified as sex trafficking victims, and if
applicable, labor trafficking victims.
Separately, H.R. 469 would direct HHS to report to Congress on child sex and labor trafficking,
including (1) the specific type and prevalence of severe forms of trafficking (both sex and labor
trafficking) perpetrated against children who have been identified for services or intervention
while under the care and placement of the child welfare agency (including a state or Indian child
welfare agency or Indian tribe); (2) the practices and protocols used by states under the CAPTA
state grants program to identify and serve children who are, or are at-risk of becoming, victims of
68
This includes children who are in foster care and under age 18 (or up to any age under 21, if the state has elected to
serve such older youth with Title IV-E foster care assistance); children (under age 18) who are not in foster care but for
whom the agency has an open case file; current and former foster youth (up to age 21, or 23 in limited circumstances)
who are receiving services under the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (CFCIP); and children who run away
from foster care, provided they have not reached the age at which the state ends Title IV-E assistance (or have not been
formally discharged from care).
69
To see CAPTA as it is included in current law, see HHS, Administration for Children and Families, Administration
on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau website, “The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act,
Including Adoption Opportunities & The Abandoned Infants Assistance Act,” http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/
files/cb/capta2010.pdf.
70
Section 106(b)(2)(B) of CAPTA.
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trafficking; and (3) any barriers in federal laws or regulations that may prevent identifying and
assessing children who are such victims, including an evaluation of the extent to which states are
able to address the needs of trafficked children without amending the definition of “abuse and
neglect” under CAPTA.71
Grant Programs for Domestic Minor Victims of Sex Trafficking
One overriding issue concerning minor victims of sex trafficking is the extent to which federal
agencies can and do provide services to U.S. citizen and lawful permanent resident (LPR) minor
sex trafficking victims. The 2013 TVPA reauthorization law (P.L. 113-4) created a discretionary
new grant program for child sex trafficking victims.72 The new grant program authorizes DOJ, in
consultation with HHS, to award one-year grants to six grantees to combat sex trafficking of
children in the United States. Of the grant amounts, at least 67% must be allocated to
nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to provide counseling, legal services, shelter, clothing,
and other social services to victims, while not less than 10% must be allocated to provide services
to victims or training for service providers on sex trafficking of children.73
Likewise, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015 (H.R. 181 and S. 178) would
authorize the Attorney General to make grants to an eligible entity to develop, improve, or expand
domestic child human trafficking deterrence programs designed to aid victims while investigating
and prosecuting the trafficking offenses. An eligible entity is a state or unit of local government
that meets specified criteria.74 The grants could be used to establish or enhance specialized
training programs on the prevention of child trafficking for law enforcement, first responders,
health care officials, child welfare officials, juvenile justice personnel, prosecutors, and judicial
personnel; establish law enforcement and prosecution units dedicated to fighting trafficking of
children; and establish or enhance court programs to assist child trafficking victims.75 S. 178
71
States and territories that receive CAPTA basic state grants must define “child abuse and neglect” to be consistent
with the federal definition of abuse and neglect under CAPTA: “at a minimum, any recent act or failure to act on the
part of a parent or caretaker, which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation, or
an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.” The terms “parent” and “caretaker” are not
defined in law, and trafficking of children may not be considered abuse or neglect under CAPTA because the
perpetrator (the trafficker) may not be understood in state law as the child’s “parent or caretaker.”
72
This grant program replaced the HHS grant program for states; Indian tribes; units of local government; and
nonprofit, nongovernmental victims’ service organizations to provide assistance programs for U.S. citizens or LPR
trafficking victims created in P.L. 109-164 (§202).
73
Funds can also be used for training for law enforcement; investigative and prosecution expenses; case management;
salaries for law enforcement officers and state and local prosecutors; and outreach, education, and treatment programs.
74
The criteria are that the state or unit of local government
1. has significant criminal activity involving child human trafficking;
2. has demonstrated cooperation between federal, state, local, and, if applicable, tribal law enforcement
agencies, prosecutors, and social service providers in addressing child human trafficking;
3. has developed a workable, multi-disciplinary plan to combat child human trafficking;
4. has a victim certification process for eligibility for state-administered medical care to ensure that minor
victims of human trafficking who are not eligible for interim assistance under TVPA §107(b)(1)(F) are
granted eligibility for, and have access to, state-administered medical care immediately upon certification;
and
5. provides an assurance that a victim of child human trafficking shall not be required to collaborate with law
enforcement officers to have access to any shelter or services.
75
This grant program would replace a pilot program to create residential treatment facilities for juvenile trafficking
(continued...)
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Domestic Human Trafficking Legislation in the 114th Congress
would authorize DOJ to use the Domestic Trafficking Victims’ Fund (as would be established by
the bill) to carry out these grants. Furthermore, both bills would direct DOJ to audit the grantees
every year to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse of the grant monies.
Juvenile Justice76
Under the TVPA, the federal government treats individuals under the age of 18 who are involved
in commercial sexual activity as victims rather than perpetrators,77 and victims are eligible for
specialized services. The same is not always true at the state level; at times, minors involved in
commercial sexual activity may be labeled as child prostitutes or juvenile delinquents and treated
as criminals rather than being labeled and treated as victims.78
The 2013 TVPA reauthorization (P.L. 113-4) specified that the model state anti-trafficking laws
created by the Attorney General should include safe harbor provisions that treat an individual
under 18 years of age who has been arrested for prostitution as a victim of a severe form of
trafficking, prohibit the prosecution of such a person, and refer them to service providers who
provide assistance to victims of commercial sexual exploitation.
H.R. 159 and S. 166 would incentivize states to enact safe harbor laws that would (1) treat each
minor involved in commercial sexual activity as a victim of a severe form of trafficking in
persons, (2) discourage the charging and prosecution of these minors for prostitution or sex
trafficking offenses, and (3) encourage the diversion of these minors to child protection services.
These bills would allow DOJ to give community policing grants preference to applicants from
states that had adopted safe harbor laws.79
Other Issues
Inter-agency Coordination/Efficiency
There have been concerns about possible duplication of efforts and a lack of coordination among
the agencies that conduct anti-trafficking activities, and whether the fact that so many agencies
are involved with anti-trafficking policy leads to duplication or funds not being used in the most
efficient manner.80 The TVPA, as amended, established both the President’s Interagency Task
(...continued)
victims in the United States. The pilot program, which was established in the Trafficking Victims Protection
Reauthorization Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-164), was never funded.
76
For more information, see CRS Report R43677, Juvenile Victims of Domestic Sex Trafficking: Juvenile Justice
Issues, by Kristin Finklea.
77
18 U.S.C. §1591(a).
78
See, for example, Linda A. Smith, Samantha Healy Vardaman, and Melissa A. Snow, The National Report on
Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking: America’s Prostituted Children.
79
For more information about DOL’s community policing grants, see CRS Report RL33308, Community Oriented
Policing Services (COPS): In Brief, by Nathan James.
80
At a 2011 hearing on the TVPA reauthorization, the then-ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee,
Senator Charles Grassley, stated: “[I] feel that the bill ought to be reauthorized. But I make a point of saying that we
have a terrible budget situation and it requires that we take a close look at how some of this money is spent.” U.S.
Congress, Senate Committee on the Judiciary, The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act: Renewing the
(continued...)
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Domestic Human Trafficking Legislation in the 114th Congress
Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking (PITF) and the Senior Policy Operating Group (SPOG)
in part to facilitate coordination on anti-trafficking policy across U.S. government agencies to
ensure that there is not a duplication of efforts.81 In addition, the Preventing Sex Trafficking and
Strengthening Families Act (P.L. 113-183) requires HHS to establish, by September 2016, the
National Advisory Committee on Sex Trafficking of Children and Youth in the United States to
improve the nation’s response to sex trafficking and develop best practices and recommendations
for states to combat sex trafficking of children, among other duties.
The federal government does not currently have a national strategy broadly directed at combating
human trafficking.82 H.R. 350 and S. 178 would direct the President’s Interagency Task Force to
Monitor and Combat Trafficking to conduct a review of human trafficking within the United
States. The report would include (1) cataloging the U.S. government’s efforts to prevent
individuals from committing trafficking offenses and prevent children from becoming victims; (2)
surveying the literature related to deterring individuals from trafficking, and preventing children
from becoming victims; (3) identifying best practices related to preventing human trafficking of
children; and (4) identifying gaps in research and data that would be helpful in formulating
strategies to prevent child trafficking. H.R. 350 and S. 178 would also require a Government
Accountability Office (GAO) report to Congress that would include information on federal and
state law enforcement agencies’ efforts to combat human trafficking, and information on each
federal grant program that has an anti-trafficking purpose.
S. 178 would create the United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking (Council) which
would be comprised of between 8 and 14 human trafficking survivors. The Council would serve
as an advisory body to the Senior Policy Operating Group on Trafficking in Persons, reviewing
federal anti-trafficking policy and programs. In addition, the group would serve as the point of
contact for federal agencies seeking input of trafficking survivors on programs and policies. The
group would also formulate assessments and recommendations to ensure that policies of the
federal government conform, to the extent practicable, to the best practices in the field of human
trafficking prevention. The Council would also be required to produce an annual report regarding
its review of anti-trafficking policies and programs. Council members would be eligible for travel
expenses and a per diem but would not be federal employees. The Council would terminate at the
end of FY2020.
The Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act of 2015 (S. 166) would direct the Attorney
General to implement and maintain a National Strategy for Combating Human Trafficking that
includes (1) integrating federal, state, local, and tribal efforts to investigate and prosecute human
trafficking cases; (2) coordinating cases within the Department of Justice; (3) addressing annual
budget priorities and federal efforts dedicated to preventing and combating human trafficking; (4)
continually assessing future trends, challenges, and opportunities to enhance federal, state, local,
(...continued)
Commitment to Victims of Human Trafficking, 112th Cong., 1st sess., September 14, 2011.
81
The PITF is a cabinet-level entity which consists of 14 departments and agencies across the federal government that
are responsible for coordinating U.S. government-wide efforts to combat trafficking in persons. The SPOG is
comprised of the senior officials designated as representatives of the PITF members. See Department of State,
“President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons,” accessed January 29, 2015,
http://www.state.gov/j/tip/response/usg/.
82
There is a strategic plan to provide services to victims of human trafficking. See the Federal Strategic Action Plan on
Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States 2013-2017.
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Domestic Human Trafficking Legislation in the 114th Congress
and tribal efforts to combat human trafficking; and (5) encouraging the cooperation, coordination,
and mutual support between the private sector and federal agencies to combat human trafficking.
Among other things,83 the Human Trafficking Prioritization Act (H.R. 514) would change the
status of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking within the Department of State (DOS) to
that of the Bureau to Combat Trafficking in Persons. The bill would also require that DOS report
to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on
whether DOS intends to designate one of the Assistant Secretary of State positions as the
Assistant Secretary of State to Combat Trafficking in Persons, and the reasons for that decision.
According to the bill’s Sense of Congress statement, changing the status of the office “would be
more effective in carrying out the duties mandated by Congress in the Trafficking Victims
Protection Act of 2000 if the Bureau were headed by an Assistant Secretary with direct access to
the Secretary of State, rather than an Ambassador-at-Large.”
Training
While U.S. Inspections and Customs Enforcement is one of the two lead agencies responsible for
human trafficking investigations,84 personnel from several agencies within DHS may encounter
instances and victims of trafficking during the course of their regular duties.85 For example,
agents from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) may encounter trafficking victims
at airports as traffickers attempt to move the victims around the country. The Human Trafficking
Detection Act of 2015 (H.R. 460) would direct the Secretary of DHS, within 180 days, to
implement a training program on deterring, detecting, and disrupting human trafficking during the
course of their primary roles and responsibilities for personnel from TSA, Customs and Border
Protection (CBP), and any other agency that the Secretary deems appropriate. The bill would also
require the Secretary to ensure that such personnel regularly receive current information related to
the detection of human trafficking. The Secretary would be required to certify to the appropriate
congressional committees no later than one year after enactment that the training has been
completed. The bill would also require the Secretary to submit an annual report to the committees
on the effectiveness of the training program required under the bill, including the number of cases
in which DHS personnel suspected human trafficking, and the number of confirmed cases of
human trafficking. The bill would allow the Secretary to provide the training curricula to any
state, local or private government, or any private organization to assist such entities in creating
their own programs to identify human trafficking.
S. 178 would require the Attorney General to assure that each DOJ anti-trafficking program,
including training programs for federal, state, or local law enforcement include technical training
on effective measures for: (1) investigating and prosecuting an individual who obtains,
83
The bill would also make changes to how countries are rated for the purpose of the annual DOS Trafficking in
Persons report. This issue is beyond the scope of this report, but for more information, see CRS Report RL34317,
Trafficking in Persons: U.S. Policy and Issues for Congress, by Alison Siskin and Liana W. Rosen; and CRS Report
R42497, Trafficking in Persons: International Dimensions and Foreign Policy Issues for Congress, by Liana W.
Rosen.
84
The other agency is the FBI.
85
For a discussion of DHS efforts related to human trafficking, see Department of Homeland Security, “Government
Roles,” press release, December 22, 2014, http://www.dhs.gov/government-roles. For U.S. efforts on combating human
trafficking, see Department of Justice, Attorney General’s Annual Report to Congress and Assessment of U.S.
Government Activities to Combat Trafficking in Persons: Fiscal Year 2012, Washington, DC, July 14, 2014.
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Domestic Human Trafficking Legislation in the 114th Congress
patronizes, or solicits a commercial sex act involving a trafficking victim; and (2) facilitating the
provision of physical and mental health services to trafficking victims. It would also require that
any DOJ anti-trafficking program for U.S. Attorneys or other federal prosecutors include training
on seeking restitution for trafficking offenses. S. 178 would also require that the Federal Judicial
Center provide training to judges related to ordering restitution for trafficking offenses.
H.R. 357, the Human Trafficking Prevention Act, would amend the TVPA to include members of
the Foreign Service as persons who are required to be trained on how to identify and protect
trafficking victims. The bill would also specify minimum requirements for the training. For
example, the bill would require that all ambassadors and deputy chiefs of mission receive a
briefing on trafficking issues prior to departing for their posts.
Separately, the Trafficking Awareness Training for Health Care Act of 2015 (H.R. 398) would
require HHS’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to competitively award a
grant to one medical or nursing school for developing best practices for health care professionals
to recognize and appropriately respond to victims of severe forms of human trafficking. This
entity would be required to analyze and evaluate, in consultation with others, existing best
practices for interprofessional collaboration, and develop trainings for health care professionals
on such best practices. Further, the grantee would make a subgrant to one entity near an
established anti-human trafficking task force initiative in each of the 10 administrative regions of
HHS to establish a pilot program that uses the best practices and training, and to analyze the
results of the pilot programs. The bill would further require AHRQ to post and disseminate the
best practices identified by the medical or nursing school.
As noted previously, the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act (P.L. 113183) amended federal child welfare law to require state child welfare agencies to develop
procedures needed to ensure relevant training for caseworkers. These procedures must be
developed in consultation with state and local law enforcement, juvenile justice systems, health
care providers, education agencies, and organizations with experience in dealing with at-risk
children and youth. H.R. 469 would similarly amend a separate child welfare law to ensure that
state child welfare agencies develop provisions and procedures for training child protective
services (CPS) workers about identifying and assessing children who are victims of sex
trafficking (and may develop such procedures with regard to victims of labor trafficking).
Sex Offender Registry
The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA)86 provides a set of minimum
standards for sex offender registration and notification in the United States.87 SORNA defines sex
offenders according to three tiers. Tier III is the highest classification and includes those
individuals convicted of the most egregious crimes (predicate offenses for sex offender
registration and notification).88 The SORNA requirements involve Tier III offenders being subject
to the strictest registration and notification requirements.
86
Title I of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006; P.L. 109-248.
For more information about SORNA and how these standards are administered by the federal government, see the
website of the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART
Office), at http://www.smart.gov/.
88
A Tier II sex offender means, among other things, a sex offender whose offenses are “comparable to or more severe
than” offenses including sex trafficking (as defined under 18 U.S.C. §1591) when committed against a minor. Tier II
(continued...)
87
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Domestic Human Trafficking Legislation in the 114th Congress
Tier I: Predicate offenses include whatever offenses do not support a higher classification,
such as misdemeanor registration offenses and child pornography possession.
Tier II: Predicate offenses include most felonious sexual abuse or sexual exploitation crimes
involving victims who are minors, including distribution and production of child
pornography.
Tier III: Predicate offenses generally encompass sexual assaults involving sexual acts
regardless of victim age, sexual contact offenses against children below the age of 13,
nonparental kidnapping of minors, and attempts or conspiracies to commit such offenses. 89
H.R. 515 would direct the Secretary of DHS to establish a center in ICE, to be known as the
“Angel Watch Center.” The Angel Watch Center would receive information on travel by child-sex
offenders,90 and would establish procedures for notifying or making the decision not to notify a
destination country of current or impending travel by a child-sex offender.91 H.R. 515 would also
express a sense of Congress that the President should negotiate bilateral agreements with foreign
governments to transmit and receive information on international travel by child-sex offenders,
including U.S. citizens who are arrested or convicted for child-sex offenses in a foreign country.
(...continued)
offenses include sex trafficking or an attempt or conspiracy to commit such an offense against a minor.
89
More information on the tiering system can be found at http://www.smart.gov/faqs/faq_subimplementation.htm#4.
90
The bill would reference the definition of “child-sex offender” under the Adam Walsh Act (42 U.S.C. §16911),
which means an individual who is convicted of a child-sex offense.
91
If the center has reason to believe that transmission of the notice poses a risk to the life or well-being of the child-sex
offender, the center would be required to make every reasonable effort to issue a warning to the child-sex offender. In
addition, if the center has reason to believe that the destination country is highly likely to deny entry to the child-sex
offender, the center would be required to make a reasonable effort to notify the offender.
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Domestic Human Trafficking Legislation in the 114th Congress
Appendix. Pending Human Trafficking Bills that
Have Received Congressional Action or Are of
Significant Congressional Interest
Table A-1. Active Legislation in the 114th Congress that Addresses Human Trafficking
Bill/Law
Number and
Sponsor(s)
H.R. 159,
Rep. Paulsen
Companion
Bill
S. 166,
Sen.
Klobuchar
Brief Overview of the Bill
Latest Action
Would incentivize states to enact safe harbor legislation, and create a
system to assist victims in communicating with service providers.
Would specify that victims of severe forms of trafficking in persons are
eligible for the Job Corps program. Would require the Department of
Justice (DOJ) to report on mandatory restitution amounts for victims
of trafficking, including demographic data on perpetrators. Would
clarify U.S. Marshals Service’s authority to assist in recovering missing
children. S. 166 would direct the Attorney General to implement and
maintain a National Strategy for Combating Human Trafficking.
As passed by the
House on
January 27, 2015
(H.R. 159) and as
reported by the
Senate Judiciary
Committee on
February 26,
2015 (S. 166).
H.Rept. 114-6
Part I.
H.R. 181,
Rep. Poe
Would amend the TVPA to allow the Attorney General to award
grants to combat domestic child trafficking, and would direct DOJ to
audit the grantees every year. Would amend Subtitle A of the Victims
of Child Abuse Act by expanding the definition of “child abuse” used
by the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) program to include the
production of child pornography and human trafficking. Would enable
DOJ to make grants for the development and implementation of
specialized programs to identify and provide direct services to victims
of child pornography. Would expand the ability of federal, state, and
local prosecutors to obtain wiretap orders from courts for certain
investigations by including additional trafficking-related offenses as
allowable investigations. Would expand the requirements for
submitting information to the National Crime Information Center.
Would prohibit the patronizing or soliciting of commercial sex (or
benefiting from these activities), and would remove the requirement
that federal prosecutors prove that the defendant knew that victim
had not yet attained 18 years of age. Would require the Attorney
General to ensure task forces within the Violent Crimes Against
Children program work to enhance state and local law enforcement
investigative capabilities to reduce demand. Would change the
standard of evidence (from “a preponderance of the evidence” to
“clear and convincing evidence”) for prosecuting individuals for
transporting minors for illegal sexual activities. Would establish
mandatory audits for anti-trafficking grant programs. Would clarify that
U.S. citizen and lawful permanent resident victims of trafficking are not
required to be certified by the Department of Health and Human
Services (HHS) in order to be eligible for HHS-provided services for
trafficking victims.
Congressional Research Service
As passed by the
House on
January 27, 2015
H.Rept. 114-7.
22
Domestic Human Trafficking Legislation in the 114th Congress
Bill/Law
Number and
Sponsor(s)
S. 178,
Sen. Cornyn
Companion
Bill
Brief Overview of the Bill
Would impose an additional $5,000 penalty on anyone convicted of
certain trafficking and abuse/exploitation offenses. Would establish a
Domestic Trafficking Victims’ Fund into which revenues from such
penalties would be deposited and used in FY2016-FY2020 to award
certain grants authorized by the TVPA or to enhance victims’
programming under the Victims of Child Abuse Act, including for child
pornography victims. Would prohibit the use of amounts from the
fund for abortion or for health benefits coverage that includes
abortion coverage, except where the pregnancy is the result of rape
or incest or the woman’s life is in danger without an abortion. Would
require the transfer of all unobligated balances in the fund to the
Crime Victims Fund.
Latest Action
As reported by
the Senate
Committee on
the Judiciary on
February 26,
2015
Would amend the TVPA to create a new program allowing the
Attorney General to award grants to combat domestic child
trafficking, and would direct DOJ to audit the grantees every year.
Would amend Subtitle A of the Victims of Child Abuse Act by
expanding the definition of “child abuse” used by the CAC program to
include the production of child pornography and human trafficking.
Would enable DOJ to make grants for the development and
implementation of specialized programs to identify and provide direct
services to victims of child pornography.
Would expand the ability of federal, state, and local prosecutors to
obtain wiretap orders from courts for certain trafficking-related
investigations.
Would expand the requirements for submitting information on missing
children to the National Crime Information Center.
Would establish the United States Advisory Council on Human
Trafficking to provide advice and recommendations to the Senior
Policy Operating Group established under the Trafficking Victims
Protection Act of 2000 and to other federal agencies.
Would prohibit the patronizing or soliciting of commercial sex (or
benefiting from these activities), and would require the Attorney
General to ensure task forces within the Violent Crimes Against
Children program work to enhance state and local law enforcement
investigative capabilities to reduce demand. Would change the
standard of evidence (from “a preponderance of the evidence” to
“clear and convincing evidence”) for prosecuting individuals for
transporting minors for illegal sexual activities.
Would establish mandatory audits for anti-trafficking grant programs.
Would clarify that U.S. citizen and lawful permanent resident victims of
trafficking are not required to be certified by HHS in order to be
eligible for HHS-provided services for trafficking victims.
Would direct the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to
operate, within U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a
Cyber Crimes Center to provide investigative assistance, training, and
equipment to support domestic and international investigations by ICE
of cyber-related crimes.
H.R. 246,
Rep. Beatty
Would change the name of a category from “child prostitution” to
“child sex trafficking, including child prostitution” within the federally
mandated tipline (CyberTipline) for online users and electronic service
providers to report Internet-related child sexual exploitation.
Congressional Research Service
As passed by the
House on
January 27, 2015.
23
Domestic Human Trafficking Legislation in the 114th Congress
Bill/Law
Number and
Sponsor(s)
Companion
Bill
Brief Overview of the Bill
Latest Action
H.R. 285,
Rep. Wagner
Would permit the prosecution of entities that advertise a person
“knowing”, or in reckless disregard of the fact, that force or fraud has
been used to cause the person to engage in a commercial sex act or
that the victim is a minor.
As passed by the
House on
January 27, 2015.
H.R. 350,
Rep. Noem
Would direct the Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat
Trafficking to conduct a review of trafficking in persons in the United
States that includes (1) consulting with nongovernmental organizations
to determine appropriate surveys and catalogs of federal and state
activities to deter individuals from committing offenses and to prevent
children from becoming victims; (2) surveying academic literature on
such deterrence and prevention, commercial sexual exploitation of
children, and similar topics; (3) identifying best practices and strategies
on deterrence and prevention; and (4) identifying current gaps in
research on deterrence and prevention. Would require a report to
Congress on this review. Would also direct the Government
Accountability Office (GAO) to report to Congress on federal and
selected state law enforcement agencies’ efforts to combat human
trafficking, and information on each federal trafficking grant. Would
clarify that the DOJ grant program for victims services programs for
victims of trafficking can include programs that provide housing to
victims.
As passed by the
House on
January 27, 2015.
Would require (1) members of the Foreign Service to receive training
on trafficking-in-persons issues and DOS’s obligations under the TVPA;
(2) trafficking-in-persons briefings for all ambassadors and deputy
chiefs of mission before they depart for their posts; and (3) at least
annual reminders to relevant personnel on key problems and signs of
trafficking and procedures for reporting trafficking.
As passed by the
House on
January 26, 2015.
Would require HHS’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
(AHRQ) to competitively award a grant to one medical or nursing
school for developing best practices for health care professionals to
recognize and respond to victims of severe forms of human trafficking.
Would require the grantee, among other things, to evaluate best
practices for interprofessional collaboration; develop materials to train
health care professionals; create a pilot program to test the best
practices and training; and analyze the pilot program results. Would
require AHRQ to post and disseminate the best practices identified.
As passed by the
House on
January 27, 2015.
Would direct the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security
(DHS) to implement a program to (1) train, and periodically retrain,
relevant Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Customs and
Border Protection, and other DHS personnel on how to (during the
course of their primary roles and responsibilities) effectively deter,
detect, and disrupt human trafficking and interdict suspected
perpetrators; and (2) ensure that such personnel regularly receive
current information on matters related to the detection of human
trafficking. Would direct the DHS Secretary to certify to the
appropriate congressional committees that all appropriate personnel
have completed the required training, and provide an annual report to
Congress on the overall effectiveness of the program and the number
of suspected and confirmed cases of human trafficking reported by
DHS personnel. Would also allow DHS to provide training curricula to
any state, local, or tribal government or private organization to assist
them in establishing training programs on identifying human trafficking.
As passed by the
House on
January 27, 2015.
H.R. 357,
Rep. Maloney
H.R. 398,
Rep. Ellmers
H.R. 460,
Rep. Walker
S. 205,
Sen. Cassidy
Congressional Research Service
H.Rept. 114-9,
Part I.
24
Domestic Human Trafficking Legislation in the 114th Congress
Bill/Law
Number and
Sponsor(s)
Companion
Bill
Brief Overview of the Bill
Latest Action
H.R. 468,
Rep. Heck
Would expand on the types of projects that HHS should prioritize
under the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act, including projects that
address staff training on the behavioral and emotional effects of severe
forms of trafficking (both sex and labor trafficking) and sex trafficking,
responding to youth showing effects of such trafficking victimization,
and agency-wide strategies for working with runaway and homeless
youth who have been sexually victimized, including those who are
victims of sex trafficking. Would separately amend the Street
Outreach Program to add that the program is intended to serve youth
who are victims of severe forms of trafficking in persons or sex
trafficking (among other sexually victimized youth, as specified in
current law).
As passed by the
House on
January 26, 2015.
H.R. 469,
Rep. Bass
Would require states, as part of their state plan under the Child
Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) state grant program,
to have a statewide law or program that includes provisions and
procedures on (1) identifying and assessing reports involving children
who are sex trafficking victims (and that may also involve reporting
children who are victims of severe forms of trafficking in persons), (2)
training representatives of the state child protective services agencies
about identifying and assessing such children, and (3) identifying
services and procedures for appropriate referral to address the needs
of such children. Would also require states to include in their annual
data reports to HHS the number of children identified as sex
trafficking victims, and if applicable, labor trafficking victims. Would
separately direct HHS to report to Congress on child and sex labor
trafficking, including on the type and prevalence of trafficking victims
served by child welfare agencies; practices and protocols used under
the CAPTA state grant program to identify and serve victims and
those at risk; and any barriers in federal law or regulation that may
prevent identification and assessment of children who are such victims,
including the extent to which states can address the needs of trafficked
children without altering the CAPTA definition of “abuse and neglect.”
As passed by the
House on
January 27, 2015.
H.R. 514,
Rep. Smith
Would change the status of the Office to Monitor and Combat
Trafficking to that of the Bureau to Combat Trafficking in Persons.
According to the bill, this would enable the Department of State to
more effectively carry out the duties mandated by Congress in the
Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 if the bureau were headed
by an Assistant Secretary with direct access to the Secretary of State,
rather than an Ambassador-at-Large. Would direct the DOS Secretary
to report to Congress on specified details for each current Assistant
Secretary of State position (e.g., whether that designation was
legislatively mandated) and whether the DOS Secretary intends to
designate one of the Assistant Secretary of State positions as the
Assistant Secretary of State to Combat Trafficking in Persons. Would
prohibit additional funds to be appropriated for diplomatic and
consular programs to carry out these provisions.
As passed by the
House on
January 26, 2015.
H.R. 515,
Rep. Smith
Would create a new center in DHS that would receive information on
travel by child-sex offenders, and, if appropriate, notify a foreign
country of travel to that country by a child-sex offender.
As passed by the
House on
January 26, 2015.
Source: Congressional Research Service (CRS).
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Domestic Human Trafficking Legislation in the 114th Congress
Author Contact Information
Kristin Finklea
Specialist in Domestic Security
[email protected], 7-6259
Alison Siskin
Specialist in Immigration Policy
[email protected], 7-0260
Adrienne L. Fernandes-Alcantara
Specialist in Social Policy
[email protected], 7-9005
Congressional Research Service
26
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