Senate moves on human trafficking

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The U.S. Senate passed a bill to fight human trafficking on Monday night.

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2017, coauthored by Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., passed unanimously, according to a release from Grassley’s office.

“We need a united approach to taking down human traffickers and bringing victims the justice they deserve. This bill takes meaningful steps to shed light on this terrible abuse of human rights by improving awareness and streamlining federal law enforcement’s response,” Grassley said in the release. “I’m grateful for the Senate’s sweeping support of this bill to assist victims and look forward to House action so we can get it to the president’s desk and on the books.” 

Feinstein said that of all crimes, she thinks sex trafficking is one of the most reprehensible, and she said she hopes the act builds on bipartisan efforts to combat trafficking and help victims. 

“The key to reducing demand is addressing the exploitation of young girls on the Internet,” she said in the realease. “The bill provides the Justice Department with civil-injunction authority to get court orders forcing traffickers to remove their ads for underage girls.”

Under the bill, the U.S. Secret Service will be allowed to aid various law-enforcement agencies, the release said.  

Along with the Senate bill’s initiative to educate the public on human trafficking, the bill will also ensure school leaders are equipped to aid in the fight against trafficking by identifying clues.  

According to the release, the bill was cosponsored by Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Bob Corker, R-Tenn., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Christopher Coons, D-Del., Thom Tillis, R-N.C., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Todd Young, R-Ind., Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., John Kennedy, R-La., Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., Gary Peters, D-Mich., Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Roger Wicker, R-Miss., John McCain, R-Ariz., Thad Cochran, R-Miss., Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Bill Cassidy, R-La.

— by Madeleine Neal

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