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Monday, May 20th, 2024

U.S. Reps. Steil, Dean introduce legislation to target human trafficking among other countries

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As a way to crackdown on human trafficking, two U.S. representatives recently introduced the Exposing the Financing of Human Trafficking Act (H.R. 8185), which would authorize the United States to hold foreign countries accountable for related efforts targeting these criminal activities.

“Human trafficking is an evil that, unfortunately, exists everywhere,” U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-PA), one of the bill’s sponsors, said. “We must fight this crime from every possible angle – which is exactly what this bill does by ensuring that those financially involved in human trafficking are investigated as well. I’m grateful to Congressman Steil for his partnership on this bipartisan legislation and look forward to getting this crucial bill passed.”

Dean was joined in this effort by U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil (R-WI). Together, they seek to elevate the country’s counter-human trafficking efforts on the international stage beyond simple reliance on the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report from the Department of State. That report stacks countries into three tiers, based on the extent of their efforts to comply with minimum standards linked to the elimination of trafficking, and uses aid distribution as a way to hold them to account.

The lawmakers did not dispute that report’s criteria, but posed that it could be taken further, to disrupt illicit finance as well. They attempted something similar in 2019 as well.

“Human trafficking is a horrendous crime that presents a real threat to people all over the world. This heinous crime is happening right here in Wisconsin, and we cannot turn a blind eye,” Steil said. “My bill takes an important step to combat this crisis by ensuring our international partners do their part in our global fight against human trafficking.”

If passed, the bill would require an update to the TIP report to evaluate foreign countries’ efforts to investigate, prevent and prosecute financial criminal activities associated with human trafficking. Punishments and the existing tier list would otherwise remain the same.