WASHINGTON, D.C. | July 12, 2017
BACKGROUND: Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery that exists not only in foreign countries, but in every state in the United States. This atrocious crime involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to force victims into labor or commercial sexual exploitation.
- The International Labor Organization estimates there are 21 million victims of human trafficking in what is a $150 billion criminal enterprise.
- In 2016, 7,572 trafficking cases in the U.S. were reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, a 36 percent increase from 2015.
- According to the Department of Homeland Security, human trafficking is second only to drug trafficking as the most profitable form of international crime.
- Roughly one in six endangered runaways reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is likely a victim of child sex trafficking.
More must be done to raise awareness of this unthinkable crime and protect the most vulnerable in our society. One step we can take is ensuring federal employees that are more likely to intercept cases of human trafficking have the knowledge to identify these crimes and the tools they need to respond. Department of Labor (DOL) employees are often on the frontlines of human trafficking as they investigate labor violations. However, many aren’t prepared to identify trafficking of men, women, and, children. Congress must take action to ensure DOL employees are educated to recognize patterns of human trafficking and refer cases to law enforcement.
H.R. 2664: To help combat human trafficking and protect vulnerable adults and children, Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), chairman of the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions, and Rep. Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (D-Northern Mariana Islands), introduced the Enhancing Detection of Human Trafficking Act (H.R. 2664). This bipartisan legislation would:
- Raise awareness of human trafficking by directing the secretary of labor to effectively educate DOL employees on the issue.
- Ensure DOL personnel have the tools and resources they need to detect cases of labor or sexual exploitation while investigating workforce law violations.
- Establish a clear framework for DOL employees to assist law enforcement in prosecution and prevention efforts.
- Require DOL to provide an annual report to Congress on their efforts to combat human trafficking, which will help guide future oversight efforts.
For a PDF of this fact sheet, click here.
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