Maloney and Poe applaud House passage of the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act

Jan 27, 2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON -- Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Co-chair of the Human Trafficking Caucus and Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX), Chairman of the Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus, today issued the following statements on the House passage of the bipartisan Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act. The bill passed the House by voice vote.

“The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act will strengthen our hand against human trafficking and is long overdue,” said Congresswoman Maloney. “This legislation will attack this crime at the source by going after the Johns and the traffickers. It will also provide services to the women and girls who have been sold into sexual slavery. I thank Congressman Poe for his strength and leadership on this issue. Now that the House has taken action, I am hopeful that the Senate will do so as well.”  

“In a time of seemingly constant partisan gridlock, there is one thing we can all agree on: our children are not for sale,” said Congressman Ted Poe.  “Human trafficking is a $9.8 billion criminal enterprise that exists in cities across America. The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA) addresses each of the three different groups involved in the crime of human trafficking: the trafficker, the buyer and the victim. JVTA implements a new, robust and aggressive strategy to help combat human trafficking in the United States. It targets demand by treating those who buy sex from minors and other trafficking victims like what they are: criminals. Finally, JVTA encourages a victim-centered approach to fighting human trafficking so that victims are no longer treated as criminals. The House has once again taken action to end modern day slavery in America. I am hopeful that the bill will make it to the President’s desk.”

Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act Background:

  • Repurposes and reauthorizes a grant program to create a victim-centered model block grant to help state and local governments develop and implement comprehensive victim-centered programs to train law enforcement to rescue victims, prosecute human traffickers, and restore the lives of victims.
  • Allows state and local human trafficking taskforces to obtain wiretap warrants within their own state courts without federal approval in order to investigate crimes of child pornography, child sexual exploitation, and human trafficking.
  • Requires law enforcement to upload available photos of missing children into the National Criminal Information Center database and to notify the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children of any child reported missing from a foster care family home or childcare institution.
  • Reduces demand for human trafficking by clarifying current law and encouraging police, prosecutors, judges, and juries to target and punish persons who purchase illicit sexual activities from trafficking victims as human traffickers, rather than petty criminals.
  • Reduces affirmative defenses for persons who exploit children through interstate prostitution by requiring them to show by clear and convincing evidence, rather than a preponderance of the evidence (current law), that they believed the child to be an adult.

Maloney is also proud to support several additional human trafficking bills on the House floor this week:

  • H.R. 514 – Human Trafficking Prioritization Act
  • H.R. 515 – International Megan’s Law to Prevent Demand for Child Sex Trafficking
  • H.R. 357 – Human Trafficking Prevention Act
  • H.R. 468 – Enhancing Services for Runaway and Homeless Victims for Youth Trafficking Act of 2015
  • H.R. 469 – Strengthening Child Welfare Response to Trafficking Act of 2015
  • H.R. 246 – To improve the response to victims of child sex trafficking
  • H.R. 398 – Trafficking Awareness Training for Health Care Act of 2015
  • H.R. 460 – Human Trafficking Detection Act of 2015
  • H.R. 350 – Human Trafficking Prevention, Intervention, and Recovery Act of 2015
  • H.R. 159 – Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act of 2015
  • H.R. 181 – Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015
  • H.R. 285 – Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation Act of 2015