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December 1, 2017 3:00 PM, EST

House Committee Advances Human Trafficking Prevention Legislation

Rep. Elizabeth Esty Esty by Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press

Legislation designed to exclude from the industry people involved in human trafficking was advanced by a House panel on Nov. 30.

Katko

Bill sponsor Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.) explained the legislation would disqualify from commercial trucking drivers found guilty of operating vehicles for human trafficking.

“As a former organized crime prosecutor on both the northern border at home in New York and on the southern border in El Paso, Texas, I’ve seen firsthand the horrors of human trafficking,” Katko said in a statement. “Too often, human traffickers take advantage of our nation’s transportation network to transport their victims from one location to the next, and the U.S. Department of Transportation and the transportation industry play a critical role in preventing and stopping these heinous exploitations.”

Policymakers also advanced legislation that would require the Transportation Secretary to designate a human trafficking prevention coordinator, as well as expand the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s outreach and education programs to include human trafficking prevention activities.

“Human trafficking is an appalling and inhumane crime, and it’s happening throughout Connecticut and all over the country,” said Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.), the bill’s sponsor. “As I sadly learned firsthand when a human trafficking ring was broken up in my hometown of Cheshire, anyone can become a victim of this crime, regardless of race, age, gender or socioeconomic status. It’s even worse that the majority of human trafficking incidents exploit young girls sexually: the average age a teen enters the sex trade in the United States is between the ages of 12 and 14.”

House Republican leaders have yet to schedule floor consideration for the bills. In August, a Senate committee advanced similar legislation.