House Passes New Human Trafficking Bill
The House of Representatives has passed its latest anti–human trafficking bill, with just 20 lawmakers (all Republican) voting against it. The Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act of 2022 is the latest reauthorization of the 2000 Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act and, like the original, this one was sponsored by New Jersey Republican Rep. Chris Smith. Its main focus is extending and expanding spending for various trafficking-related programs this year through 2026.
Rep. Thomas Massie (R–Ky.) said he voted no on the bill because “there was no cost offset in the bill for the additional spending, and much of the money goes to USAID, an organization I do not support.”
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R–Ga.) objected, among other things, to the bill giving money to groups that work with Big Tech companies. “I want to protect children and stop these abductions, but this $500 million Democrat bill won’t do it and only throws money at the problem,” she said.
Greene’s estimate of the bill’s cost may be a bit low. According to Rep. Karen Bass’ (D–Calif.) comments on the House floor, the bill authorizes “$1 billion to fund programs across the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services.” And Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D–Texas) said it will provide “more than $1 billion over five years.” By my calculation, it authorizes $1,037,500,000 in spending for trafficking-related programs and $30 million on International Megan’s Law programs (which notify foreign countries when certain sorts of sex offenders plan to travel there).
Overall, the 2022 version of the human trafficking bill is shorter than many earlier iterations and lower on the sort of carceral solutions and surveillance initiatives that defined them. A significant portion of it is devoted to grants for programs to help trafficking victims move on with their lives—something that may be better done by entities other than the federal government, but at least isn’t simply throwing more money at cops for prostitution stings. And a section pressuring hotels to train staff on spotting human trafficking (an endeavor without a great track record) was removed from the draft bill before it passed.
But there are still some potentially troubling bits of the bill, including repeated references to “trafficking transmitted through technology.”
Activists and lawyers have been trying to broaden the scope of se
Article from Reason.com