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Sheila J.
Democrat TX 18

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  • Human Trafficking Prevention Act

    by Representative Sheila Jackson Lee

    Posted on 2015-01-26

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    JACKSON LEE of texas in the house of representatives Monday, January 26, 2015 Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, as a senior member of the Judiciary and Homeland Security Committees, I rise in strong support of H.R. 357, the ``Human Trafficking Prevention Act.'' Mr. Speaker, I want to thank Chairman Royce and Ranking Member Engel for their stewardship in bringing this legislation to the floor and for their commitment to expanding the training and capability of federal government personnel in detecting and combating human trafficking and assisting its victims.

    Throughout my tenure in Congress and a founder and Co-Chair of the Congressional Children's Caucus, I have advocated on behalf of victims of human trafficking, especially children, who are the most vulnerable and innocent victims.

    I am also committed to ensuring that law enforcement agencies have the tools, resources, and training necessary to identify, apprehend, and prosecute criminals who ruthlessly traffic in people.

    H.R. 357 strengthens the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 by amending it to require training related to trafficking in persons for all State Department personnel. Specifically, the bill requires the following: 1. A distance learning course on trafficking in persons issues and the Department of State's obligations under the Act to be completed by embassy reporting officers, regional bureaus' trafficking in persons coordinators, and their supervisors; 2. Specific trafficking-in-persons briefings for all ambassadors and deputy chiefs of mission before they depart for their posts; and 3. Annual reminders to all such personnel and other federal personnel at each diplomatic or consular post of the Department of State located outside the United States of key human trafficking problems, threats, methods, and warning signs.

    This legislation does for the State Department what the Jackson Lee Amendment to H.R. 4660, ``Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Act for 2015,'' approved by the House in the last Congress does for the Justice Department.

    That amendment, adopted in May 2014 by the House, provides another tool in law enforcement's arsenal to tip the balance in favor of victims by ensuring funding for the Attorney [[Page E121]] General to provide training for State and local law enforcement agencies on immigration law that may be useful for the investigation and prosecution of crimes related to trafficking in persons.

    Mr. Speaker, trafficking in humans, and especially child trafficking, has no place in a civilized society and those who engage in this illicit trade should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

    To effectively combat human trafficking, we need to provide resources and training to government personnel to assist victims and apprehend criminals.

    By providing the necessary training and support, we will catch more human trafficking criminals and save lives, and prevent many other persons, including children, from becoming human trafficking victims.

    I ask my colleagues to join me in supporting H.R. 357, the Human Trafficking Prevention Act.


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