ATEST Letter to Support Stop, Observe, Ask and Respond (SOAR) to Health and Wellness Act (S. 1446)
The bipartisan Stop, Observe, Ask and Respond (SOAR) to Health and Wellness Act (S. 1446), championed by Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), establishes and expands an existing U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) SOAR pilot program aimed at strengthening health care providers’ ability to identify and combat human trafficking through robust training. This training would better equip health care providers to identify victims of human trafficking, to streamline procedures for providers to partner directly with law enforcement, and to provide victim-centered, gender-responsive, and youth-appropriate services. The bill enhances the SOAR pilot program and adds reporting requirements to ensure transparency, improve data collection, and strengthen program impact. It also authorizes resources for HHS to ensure the implementation of the SOAR pilot program is effective.