Maloney and Poe Renew Legislation Empowering IRS to Punish Human Traffickers
WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY-12) and Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX-2) renewed efforts to give the federal government more funding and resources to go after pimps and traffickers with the reintroduction of the Human Trafficking Fraud Enforcement Act. The legislation gives the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) more resources to target pimps and traffickers for taxable income, as well as providing financial assistance and whistleblower protections to survivors. The two representatives were also cosponsors of the Justice for Victims of Trafficking which became law in 2015.
“Modern day slavery is happening here, on our shores, and we must do everything we can to stop it,” said Rep. Maloney. “Pimps and traffickers are holding women captive, degrading their humanity and selling victims and their bodies over-and-over again. We must use every tool possible, including the IRS, to take down traffickers, who have often proven elusive to apprehend and prosecute. In 1931, the infamous gangster Al Capone was ultimately indicted for tax fraud. The IRS can play a similar role in cracking down on criminals profiting from human trafficking and prostitution. This bill will target the real criminals, those involved in the promotion of commercial sex acts – pimps and traffickers – and exploited persons in prostitution. ”
"Human trafficking is a criminal enterprise, and like any business the answer to exposing it is to follow the money trail,” said Rep. Poe. “This bill will better equip law enforcement in their efforts to identify, track down and take down traffickers by giving the IRS more resources to go after traffickers for income. I believe this will be a valuable tool in identifying these criminals who are now able to live freely, and make money, while enslaving innocent people."
Human Trafficking Fraud Enforcement Act Background:
- The bill authorizes $4 million to establish an office within the IRS to prosecute sex traffickers for violations of tax laws. The new IRS office would coordinate closely with existing sex trafficking task forces in the Department of Justice.
- Imposes stiffer penalties – including fines of up to $50,000 and jail sentences of up to 10 years – for traffickers who fail to file tax returns, supply tax information, or pay taxes
- Establishes a new felony offense for an “aggravated failure to file” in cases where income or payments are derived from criminal activities.
- Designates the victims of criminal sex traffickers as whistleblowers and allows them collect up to 15 percent of the fines levied against their abusers.