Cornyn-Klobuchar Human Trafficking Bill Goes to Floor Tomorrow, Hoeven is an Original Cosponsor

Bill creates Fund to Compensate Victims and Help Prevent Human Trafficking

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today announced that Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) have reintroduced the Justice for Victims of Human Trafficking Act, a bill that they originally introduced in 2013. Hoeven was an early cosponsor of that bill and is an original cosponsor of the bipartisan legislation that they introduced earlier this year. The bill helps survivors of human trafficking and child pornography.

Hoeven said the bipartisan legislation has passed the Senate Judiciary Committee and will move to the Senate floor tomorrow.

“This is an important bill because it not only compensates victims of human trafficking and other crimes of exploitation for their traumatic injuries, but also provides resources to help law enforcement prevent such crimes in the future,” Hoeven said. “I believe the legislation has strong bipartisan support, and we’ll be able to pass it through the Senate.”

The legislation creates a Domestic Trafficking Victims Fund paid for through fines on persons convicted of child pornography, human trafficking, child prostitution, sexual exploitation and human smuggling offenses. The fund will be used to increase the federal resources available for human trafficking victims by up to $30 million a year.

Funding will be awarded as block grants to help states and local governments develop and implement victim-centered programs that train law enforcement to rescue trafficking survivors, prosecute human traffickers, and restore the lives of victims. This program is funded entirely through the “Domestic Trafficking Victims’ Fund” created by the bill.

In addition, the Justice for Victims of Human Trafficking Act:

  • Prioritizes victim restoration and witness assistance for trafficking survivors by directing the proceeds of forfeited criminal assets to pay victim restitution orders and financial awards for witnesses who come forward and assist law enforcement. Encourages prosecutor training on restitution in human trafficking cases. Allows law enforcement authorities to seize the assets of convicted human traffickers.
  • Recognizes that child pornography production is a form of human trafficking and ensures that victims have access to direct restorative services at Child Advocacy Centers.
  • Allows state and local human trafficking task forces 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.
  • Ensures regular reporting on the number of human trafficking crimes by making human trafficking a Part I offense for purposes of the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Program. Requires law enforcement to upload available photos of missing individuals into the National Criminal Information Center database and to notify the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children of any child reported missing from foster care.
  • Clarifies current law to reduce demand for human trafficking by encouraging police, prosecutors, judges and juries to target all persons involved in the buying and selling of human trafficking victims.
  • Protects victims and witnesses by requiring human traffickers to be treated as violent criminals for purposes of pre-trial release and detention pending judicial proceedings.
  • Ensures that federal crime victims are informed of any plea bargain or deferred prosecution agreement in their case and clarifies that the ordinary standard of appellate review applies in cases concerning federal crime victims’ rights petitions.

The legislation is supported by a wide range of national victims’ rights and law enforcement groups, including Shared Hope International, Rights 4 Girls, Fraternal Order of Police, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, National Children’s Alliance, National Criminal Justice Association, End Child Prostitution and Trafficking, PROTECT, National Association of Police Organizations, National Conference of State Legislatures.