ATEST Welcomes the Abolish Human Trafficking Act of 2017

The Alliance to End Slavery & Trafficking (ATEST) welcomes the introduction of the Abolish Human Trafficking Act of 2017 (S.1311), introduced today by Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Bob Corker (R-TN), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Dean Heller (R-NV), Ron Wyden (D-OR),  Marco Rubio (R-FL), Chris Coons (D-DE), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Richard Burr (R-SC), and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND). This bill reauthorizes key portions of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) including funding for critical anti-trafficking programs that support victim services organizations and survivors of this horrific crime.

Enacted in 2000, the TVPA is the cornerstone of the federal government’s framework to combat human trafficking. It has been reauthorized four times by overwhelming majorities and on a bipartisan basis. Each reauthorization, like the bill introduced today, expanded on the framework put forth in the first TVPA.

By reauthorizing key anti-trafficking programs, the AHTA will ensure the U.S. government remains a leader in the fight to end human trafficking. Further, the AHTA includes important policy advancements that will improve the U.S. government’s response to human trafficking. The bill strengthens successful initiatives including the Department of Health and Human Services’ Stop, Observe, Ask, and Respond; a health and wellness training program that trains healthcare professionals to better assist victims; and the U.S. Advisory Council on Trafficking in Persons, an invaluable platform to enable survivors to inform the development and implementation of federal policy. The bill also requires the posting of the National Human Trafficking Hotline number in every federal building and improves the process of restitution for survivors.

ATEST applauds the strong bipartisan support for the AHTA and appreciates the collaborative approach adopted by the original cosponsors, particularly Senator Cornyn’s leadership. We look forward to working with the bill’s sponsors to move the AHTA forward and to working with all members of the Senate to reauthorize the TVPA, including the international provisions and the domestic provisions not covered in AHTA.