The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives passed three bills to combat human trafficking this week, all of which received widespread support from Democratic Party lawmakers.
The Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Act reauthorized $520 million over four years to fund programs aimed at preventing human trafficking, protecting victims, and prosecuting criminals involved in the sale and transport of human beings in the United States, according to an email sent to The Blaze by House Republicans.
The Frederick Douglass Act will help educate children about how to avoid human trafficking, provide funding for training programs for employees in industries in which human trafficking often occurs, and calls for efforts to prevent businesses from selling goods in the United States that are believed to have been made by slave labor, according to a report by USA Today.
The Enhancing Detection of Human Trafficking Act requires the U.S. Department of Labor “to train certain Department of Labor personnel how to effectively detect and assist law enforcement in preventing human trafficking during the course of their primary roles and responsibilities.” DOL will also be required to submit an annual report to ensure the agency is following through on this and other requirements.
The Empowering Law Enforcement to Fight Sex Trafficking Demand Act allows the U.S. Department of Justice to use additional federal funds to help assist law enforcement agencies’ sex-trafficking programs.
According to House Republicans, 13 bills have been passed in the House to fight human trafficking in 2017.
“The horror of trafficking, however, does not lie in statistics but in stolen lives,” House Republicans wrote in an email. “Sadly, human trafficking is seeping into communities across this country, where we have people that are preying on some of our most vulnerable. All Americans deserve to live in a country that puts their safety first, and House Republicans continue to fulfill that promise by facing these heinous crimes head on.”
It’s unclear how many victims of human trafficking are in the United States, but in 2016, more than 7,500 cases were reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, including about 2,300 cases involving minors. The number of reports rose by greater than 35 percent from 2015, according to a report by UPI. The Global Slavery Index estimates there are about 57,700 human trafficking victims currently in the United States and about 45.8 million victims around the world.