03.12.15

Leahy & Democratic Senators Propose A Path Forward On Trafficking Legislation

WASHINGTON (Thursday, March 12, 2015) – Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Thursday offered a noncontroversial, comprehensive solution to move forward on the stalled trafficking legislation and called on all Senators to support the effort. The substitute is cosponsored by 16 Democratic Senators.

“The Senate has been on this trafficking bill now for three days -- but progress on the bill has been thwarted by the inclusion of a divisive provision that would limit the services available to victims of human trafficking,” Leahy said.  “I want to propose a way forward because I know that all Senators want to work together to end human trafficking, and we all want to support a bill that can pass the Senate.”

Leahy’s comprehensive substitute amendment to the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (S. 178) currently pending in the Senate offers a path to break the impasse that has stalled important legislation to combat human trafficking.  It incorporates three important bipartisan anti-trafficking bills that recently moved through the Senate Judiciary Committee. It also responds to a host of organizations dedicated to providing vital services to victims of human trafficking that are calling on the Senate to reject politics and move forward on meaningful legislation.

  • S. 178, the Cornyn-Klobuchar Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, as reported from the Senate Judiciary Committee, without the Hyde Amendment language limiting victims’ services.
  • S. 166, the Klobuchar-Cornyn Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act, as reported from the Senate Judiciary Committee.
  • Senate Amendment 290, the Leahy-Collins-Murkowski-Ayotte Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act

The Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act focuses on prevention by reauthorizing proven programs that help runaway and homeless youth, who are among the most vulnerable to human traffickers. It also includes a nondiscrimination provision to ensure that all children can access the vital services that are supported by the bill. The Judiciary Committee approved the Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act on a strong bipartisan vote last year. It has the support of 32 Senators and 270 organizations.

Leahy urged Senators to support this comprehensive alternative and pass trafficking legislation without politics or delay.

“The combination of these three bills should bring us together,” he said. “More importantly, it is responsive to the request of survivors, and the many dedicated people who work with them, to remove the unnecessary, partisan provision that has resulted in this impasse. They need us to find a way forward.  They need the Senate to stop playing politics and pass a meaningful bill.” 

The substitute is cosponsored by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).

Text of the substitute is available online.

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