Buchanan Urges “Fast-Track” for Human Trafficking Bill
Bill Combats Modern-Day Slavery
WASHINGTON — Congressman Vern Buchanan today called on House leadership to “fast-track” a Senate-passed bill that cracks down on human trafficking – a vile crime against women and children that is a growing problem in the Suncoast region.
Buchanan is pushing for the immediate consideration of the Abolish Human Trafficking Act, which increases penalties for perpetrators and gives law enforcement more tools to treat human trafficking like organized crime. Buchanan is a co-sponsor of identical legislation in the House.
Buchanan met last week with Dr. Brook Bello of the Sarasota anti-human trafficking nonprofit More Too Life to discuss the issue.
“Human trafficking victims suffer unspeakable acts of violence and exploitation,” Buchanan said. “This bill will help curb this monstrous crime in my home state and across the country. The House needs to move swiftly and get this measure to the president’s desk.”
The bipartisan Abolish Human Trafficking Act passed the Senate unanimously in September.
The bill would extend the Justice Domestic Trafficking Victims’ Fund, which uses fines on convicted traffickers to pay for victims’ services. The bill would also beef up maximum penalties for perpetrators and require the use of new screening protocols to make sure federal, state, local law enforcement and anti-trafficking task forces are trained to recognize and help victims instead of treating them like criminals.
Florida ranks third in the nation behind California and Texas in the number of reported trafficking cases and experienced a 54 percent increase last year. More than 80 percent of all human trafficking cases involve sex trafficking, according to data from the Department of Justice. It can also involve illegal organ harvesting and forced labor.
Buchanan recently shined a spotlight on the issue when he chaired a bipartisan Florida congressional delegation hearing on the need for action.