— Today, Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), John Cornyn (R-TX), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Rob Portman (R-OH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) reintroduced bipartisan legislation to crack down on addiction-driven human trafficking. The Protecting Rights of Those Exploited by Coercive Trafficking (PROTECT) Act
would specifically address the use of drugs to facilitate human trafficking and protect vulnerable victims of trafficking.
Human traffickers often introduce or exploit drug addiction to control or force victims into prostitution or forced labor. This compounds the trauma experienced by human trafficking victims and undermines recovery efforts for individuals suffering from addiction. The PROTECT Act
would combat this by:
"We should do everything in our power to bring human traffickers to justice, particularly those who use drugs to control their victims," said Senator Tillis. "I am proud to re-introduce this bipartisan legislation that will strengthen the penalties for these criminals and help ensure human traffickers are held accountable for their atrocious crimes."
- Amending existing human trafficking law to specify that the use of drugs or illegal substances to cause a person to engage in a commercial sex act or forced labor constitutes a form of coercion; and
- Including a provision in the bill to protect trafficking victims from prosecution, recognizing that victims are often forced to commit crimes by virtue of their own victimization.
The Senators first introduced this bill last Congress
, and will continue pushing for its passage. A number of law enforcement organizations and human trafficking victim advocacy groups have endorsed the PROTECT Act
, including: the Fraternal Order of Police, National Narcotic Officers' Associations' Coalition (NNOAC), National Sheriffs' Association, Federal Law Enforcement Officers' Association, International Union of Police Associations, Institute to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation, National District Attorneys Association, Ohio Fraternal Order of Police, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, Truckers Against Trafficking, Shared Hope International, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CAT-W), Living In Freedom Together (LIFT), National Center on Sexual Exploitation, Child Welfare League of America, Love 146, My Life My Choice, Rights4Girls, Human Service Chamber of Franklin County
A one-pager on the PROTECT Act
can be found HERE
- Contact: Daniel Keylin