PUT TRAFFICKING VICTIMS FIRST ACT OF 2019; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 24
(House of Representatives - February 07, 2019)

Text available as:

Formatting necessary for an accurate reading of this text may be shown by tags (e.g., <DELETED> or <BOLD>) or may be missing from this TXT display. For complete and accurate display of this text, see the PDF.


[Pages H1409-H1413]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




               PUT TRAFFICKING VICTIMS FIRST ACT OF 2019

  Ms. BASS. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill 
(H.R. 507) to direct the Attorney General to study issues relating to 
human trafficking, and for other purposes.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The text of the bill is as follows:

                                H.R. 507

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This Act may be cited as the ``Put Trafficking Victims 
     First Act of 2019''.

     SEC. 2. TRAINING FOR PROSECUTIONS OF TRAFFICKERS AND SUPPORT 
                   FOR STATE SERVICES FOR VICTIMS OF TRAFFICKING.

       It is the sense of Congress that a portion of the funds 
     available for training and technical assistance under section 
     107(b)(2)(B)(ii) of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence 
     Protection Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 7105(b)(2)(B)(ii)) should 
     be devoted to advancing the following goals:
       (1) Increasing the personal safety of victim service 
     providers, who may face intimidation or retaliation for their 
     activities.
       (2) Promoting a trauma-informed, evidence-based, and 
     victim-centered approach to the provision of services for 
     victims of trafficking.
       (3) Ensuring that law enforcement officers and prosecutors 
     make every attempt to determine whether an individual is a 
     victim of human trafficking before arresting the individual 
     for, or charging the individual with, an offense that is a 
     direct result of the victimization of the individual.
       (4) Effectively prosecuting traffickers and individuals who 
     patronize or solicit children for sex, and facilitating 
     access for child victims of commercial sex trafficking to the 
     services and protections afforded to other victims of sexual 
     violence.
       (5) Encouraging States to improve efforts to identify and 
     meet the needs of human trafficking victims, including 
     through internet outreach and other methods that are 
     responsive to the needs of victims in their communities.
       (6) Ensure victims of trafficking, including United States 
     citizens, lawful permanent residents, and foreign nationals 
     are eligible for services.

     SEC. 3. WORKING TO DEVELOP METHODOLOGIES TO ASSESS PREVALENCE 
                   OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING.

       (a) Working Group.--
       (1) In general.--Not later than 1 year after the date of 
     enactment of this Act, the Attorney General, in consultation 
     with other Federal entities engaged in efforts to combat 
     human trafficking, shall establish an expert working group, 
     which shall include survivors of human trafficking, experts 
     on sex and labor trafficking, representatives from 
     organizations collecting data on human trafficking, and law 
     enforcement officers. The working group shall, utilizing, to 
     the extent practicable, existing efforts of agencies, task 
     forces, States, localities, tribes, research institutions, 
     and organizations--
       (A) identify barriers to the collection of data on the 
     incidence of sex and labor trafficking; and
       (B) recommend practices to promote better data collection 
     and analysis.
       (2) Pilot testing.--Not later than 3 years after the date 
     of enactment of this Act, the Attorney General shall 
     implement a pilot project to test promising methodologies 
     studied under paragraph (1).
       (b) Report.--
       (1) In general.--Not later than 3 years after the date of 
     enactment of this Act, the Attorney General, in consultation 
     with the Secretary of Labor, the Secretary of Health and 
     Human Services, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the 
     Director of the Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center, shall 
     submit to Congress a report on--
       (A) Federal efforts to estimate the prevalence of human 
     trafficking at the national and regional levels;
       (B) the effectiveness of current policies and procedures to 
     address the needs of victims of trafficking; and
       (C) an analysis of demographic characteristics of victims 
     of trafficking in different regions of the United States and 
     recommendations for how to address the unique vulnerabilities 
     of different victims.
       (2) Input from relevant parties.--In developing the report 
     under paragraph (1), the Attorney General shall seek input 
     from the United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking, 
     victims of trafficking, human trafficking survivor advocates, 
     service providers for victims of sex and labor trafficking, 
     and the President's Interagency Task Force on Human 
     Trafficking.
       (c) Survey.--Not later than 2 years after the date of 
     enactment of this Act, the Attorney General, in coordination 
     with Federal, State, local, and Tribal governments, and 
     private organizations, including victim service providers and 
     expert researchers, shall develop and execute a survey of 
     survivors seeking and receiving victim assistance services 
     for the purpose of improving the provision of services to 
     human trafficking victims and victim identification in the 
     United States. Survey results shall be made publicly 
     available on the website of the Department of Justice.
       (d) No Additional Funds.--No additional funds are 
     authorized to carry out this section.

     SEC. 4. REPORT ON PROSECUTORS SEEKING RESTITUTION IN 
                   TRAFFICKING CASES.

       Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this 
     Act, the Attorney General, in consultation with the 
     Administrative Office of the United States Courts, shall 
     submit to Congress a report on efforts to increase 
     restitution to victims of human trafficking.

     SEC. 5. SENSE OF CONGRESS ENCOURAGING STATES TO ADOPT 
                   PROTECTIONS FOR VICTIMS OF TRAFFICKING.

       Congress recognizes and applauds the State legislative 
     bodies that have taken tremendous steps to adopt protections 
     and services for victims of trafficking. Congress encourages 
     States to--
       (1) uphold the dignity of human trafficking survivors;
       (2) ensure the safety, confidentiality, and well-being of 
     victims of trafficking, while recognizing symptoms of trauma 
     and coping mechanisms that may impact victims' interactions 
     with law enforcement, the justice system, and service 
     providers;
       (3) implement screening mechanisms to identify and extend 
     appropriate services to children in the custody of child 
     protective services agencies, the juvenile justice system, or 
     the criminal justice system who are victims of trafficking;
       (4) promote greater access to child welfare services for, 
     rather than criminalization of, child victims of sex 
     trafficking;
       (5) develop a 24-hour emergency response plan by which 
     victims of human trafficking may receive immediate 
     protection, shelter, and support from a victim assistance 
     coordinator when those victims are first identified;
       (6) adopt protections for adult victims of trafficking, 
     such as protection if the victim's safety is at risk, 
     comprehensive trauma-informed, long-term, culturally 
     competent care and healing services, mental health services 
     to relieve traumatic stress, housing, education (including, 
     where appropriate, vocational training and employment 
     assistance), mentoring, language assistance, drug and 
     substance abuse services, and legal services;
       (7) ensure that child sex trafficking victims are treated 
     as children in need of child protective services and receive 
     appropriate care in the child welfare, rather than juvenile 
     justice, system;
       (8) encourage the adoption of procedures for human 
     trafficking victims that are consistent with those afforded 
     to victims of sexual assault, rape, child sexual abuse, or 
     incest to allow human trafficking victim to clear records, 
     expunge convictions, and vacate adjudications related to 
     prostitution and nonviolent offenses that arose as a direct 
     result of being trafficked, including protections for foreign 
     nationals who are being removed and those who are losing or 
     determined to be inadmissible for immigration benefits as a 
     result of the aforementioned human trafficking victim related 
     conviction or arrest; and
       (9) ensure victims of trafficking, including United States 
     citizens, lawful permanent residents, and foreign nationals 
     are eligible for services.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentlewoman from 
California (Ms. Bass) and the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Collins) each 
will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from California.


                             General Leave

  Ms. BASS. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members have 
5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include 
extraneous material on the bill under consideration.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentlewoman from California?
  There was no objection.
  Ms. BASS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

[[Page H1410]]

  Mr. Speaker, I introduced H.R. 507, the Put Trafficking Victims First 
Act, with my colleague, the gentlewoman from Missouri (Mrs. Wagner).
  I thank Mrs. Wagner for her hard work over the years on this 
important legislation. We are here today because of her dedication and 
willingness to work in a bipartisan manner to address the problems 
faced by victims of trafficking. We both recognize that Congress must 
do more to combat this heinous crime.
  H.R. 507 is designed to ensure that survivors of human trafficking do 
not go unnoticed. First, it expresses the sense of Congress that law 
enforcement set aside a portion of the funds they receive for combating 
human trafficking to ensure that victims receive support that is trauma 
informed and victim centered. This will provide victims with a better 
chance of recovering from their experiences.
  Second, this legislation addresses the tremendous need for expanded 
victim services, improved data gathering on the prevalence and trends 
in human trafficking, and effective mechanisms to identify and work 
with victims in an effective and respectful manner.
  It directs the Attorney General to form a broadly representative 
working group to assess the status of the collection of data on human 
trafficking and recommend best practices, conduct a survey of providers 
regarding the provision of services to them, as well as prepare a 
report to Congress on Federal efforts to estimate the prevalence of 
human trafficking, the effectiveness of current policies addressing 
victims' needs, and analyzing the demographic characteristics of 
trafficking victims, and recommendations on how to address their unique 
vulnerabilities.
  The bill also directs the Attorney General to implement a pilot 
project testing the methodologies identified by the working group and 
requires the Attorney General to report on efforts to increase 
restitution to victims of human trafficking.
  With this type of information in hand, Congress can provide 
appropriate oversight of efforts to combat human trafficking; and 
researchers, advocates, and law enforcement agencies will all have a 
shared resource as they continue to develop innovative approaches to 
stop traffickers.
  Finally, the bill expresses the sense of Congress that States should 
implement trauma-informed, victim-centered care for all trafficking 
victims.
  Forced labor and human trafficking are among the world's fastest 
growing enterprises. Globally, these inhumane practices generate an 
estimated $150 billion a year in profit. That is three times the amount 
that the top Fortune 500 companies made in 2016.
  Criminals are profiting from the systematic abuse of vulnerable 
people around the globe. Sadly, women and girls represent approximately 
71 percent of these victims.
  The U.S. State Department estimates that between 14,000 and 17,000 
people are trafficked into our country from other nations every year. 
These victims are part of the estimated hundreds of thousands of 
victims of trafficking currently living within our communities.
  My home State of California has the ninth largest economy in the 
world. It is also one of the Nation's top four destinations for human 
traffickers, especially for child sex trafficking.
  In 2018, of the 5,000 reports to the National Human Trafficking 
Hotline, 760 of them were from California. As the founder of the 
Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth, I am very aware of the risks to 
vulnerable youth. Foster youth, along with runaways and homeless youth, 
are at the highest risk of being sex-trafficked.
  Experts agree that the foster care system is yielding a 
disproportionate number of human trafficking victims. Nearly 60 percent 
of all child sex trafficking victims have histories in the child 
welfare system. We cannot allow this to continue.
  Washington, D.C., is home to the most powerful government in the 
world, yet even in D.C., women and girls are being trafficked.
  Organizations like Courtney's House are working to improve the 
outcome of trafficking survivors.
  H.R. 507 will improve the implementation of the Justice for Victims 
of Trafficking Act of 2015.
  Trafficking victims face many challenges, even after they are freed 
from trafficking rings, ranging from access to social services and 
utilizing assistance programs. Survivors face difficulties navigating 
social services and assistance programs.
  A component of H.R. 507 encourages law enforcement and prosecuting 
agencies to make every attempt to determine whether an individual has 
been a victim of human trafficking before charging them with offenses 
that are the result of their victimization. This is of particular 
concern to communities of color.
  Mr. Speaker, Congress' intent is clear. Protecting victims from the 
heinous crime of human trafficking is of the utmost concern. I am proud 
to have worked across the aisle with Congresswoman Wagner on this 
important legislation, and I urge our colleagues to support it.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. COLLINS of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 
507, the Put Trafficking Victims First Act of 2019.
  Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery, which has taken 
its toll on communities across our Nation. It is a multibillion-dollar 
criminal industry that denies freedom to nearly 25 million people 
around the globe.

  Traffickers use violence, threats, deception, debt bondage, and other 
horrendous tactics to force people to engage in commercial sex or to 
provide labor or services against their will. This creates an enormous 
need for expanded victims services, improved data on the prevalence and 
trends of human trafficking, and effective mechanisms to identify and 
rescue trafficking victims.
  H.R. 507 expresses the sense of Congress that a portion of the funds 
available under the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act 
of 2000 should be devoted to increasing the safety of victim service 
providers, many of whom are threatened because of their positions. It 
also promotes a trauma-informed, evidence-based, and victim-centered 
approach for providing services to the victims of trafficking.
  Additionally, H.R. 507 promotes the effective prosecution of human 
traffickers and individuals who patronize or solicit children for sex. 
It encourages States to improve efforts to identify and meet the needs 
of human trafficking victims.
  The bill also establishes a working group to identify barriers to the 
collection of data on the incidence of sex and labor trafficking and 
recommended practices to promote better data collection and analysis.
  Finally, H.R. 507 will provide assistance to trafficking victims 
seeking restitution, many of whom still face many obstacles in Federal 
court. The bill directs the Attorney General to report on efforts to 
increase mandatory restitution for victims by providing Congress with 
the relevant data.
  Mr. Speaker, this has been an issue in my home State of Georgia. It 
is one that I am very proud to know that, under Governor Deal, our 
previous Governor, and continuing under Governor Kemp, that around, 
especially, the city of Atlanta, a very international city, it has 
also, unfortunately, become an area in which sexual exportation and 
human trafficking was something that became a scar and is still 
affecting our city. We saw that around the Super Bowl and the several 
arrests that took place.
  This is something that needs to be erased from our vocabulary. This 
is something that does not need to be talked about. Again, human 
trafficking anywhere in the world is wrong and, hopefully, will be 
relegated to the annals of the history books at some point.
  I want to commend the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Bass) and also 
my friend, the gentlewoman from Missouri (Mrs. Wagner), for their 
tireless devotion to continuing this path and bringing this forward 
each Congress.
  I am looking forward to this actually becoming law during this 
session, and I would urge all of my colleagues to support this.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Ms. BASS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 5 minutes to the gentlewoman from 
Texas, (Ms. Jackson Lee).
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman very much, and 
I acknowledge the words of the

[[Page H1411]]

ranking member of the full committee and acknowledge the work of the 
chairman, Mr. Nadler, of the committee.
  I am glad that these bills that we have just debated and one coming 
up that I know is Mr. Collins' bill dealing with the fees to provide 
resources to those who file lawsuits, justified lawsuits, and have no 
recourse, these bills are coming out of the Judiciary Committee in a 
bipartisan manner.
  This is a very important statement that we are making with the new 
majority and working with the minority on very important issues.
  This is an issue that has claimed our attention for decades, the fact 
that we are working every day to improve and, as Mr. Collins has just 
indicated, to never to have to talk about sex trafficking, human 
trafficking again. If we can eliminate this scourge, I think all of us 
will find peace.
  Just a few years ago, as the ranking member on the Homeland Security 
Committee, we did the first human trafficking hearing with then-
Chairman McCaul and Ranking Member Thompson in Houston, Texas, to 
listen to many who claimed and documented that Houston, Texas, was the 
epicenter of human trafficking in that region, in the Nation.
  It is not something that we are proud of, but we are proud of the 
advocates who work without ceasing with law enforcement to put, again, 
a red stop sign in front of this travesty.
  So I acknowledge the work that has been done by many of my 
colleagues, the work that has been done by Congresswoman Wagner and 
many others who gathered.
  That hearing was the first in history in that community, and the 
first field hearing that was addressing that question. It was quite a 
few years ago.
  But I want to acknowledge from my hometown Jackie Aluotto, who has 
found and saved lives of victims of human trafficking in our own 
community; Kathryn Griffin, who, likewise, has been at the forefront of 
stopping human trafficking, and particularly of young children sex 
trafficking, and has been a refuge for many who have suffered; 
Constable Alan Rosen; Constable May Walker; Sheriff Gonzalez; Mayor 
Sylvester Turner, who has an outstanding program in the city of 
Houston.
  So I rise to support H.R. 507 for several reasons, not the least of 
which being how much it will impact the local community and the work 
that is being done. This measure will strengthen the effectiveness of 
the 2017 act in various ways, which I am very proud to have supported.

                              {time}  1345

  The 2017 act directed the Attorney General to study issues related to 
human trafficking in response to trafficking concerning services and 
benefits for victims, criminal justice, domestic sex trafficking of 
children, and interagency coordination and training.
  For example, H.R. 507 increases the personal safety of victim service 
providers who may face intimidation or retaliation for their 
activities. While many of us may not realize, sometimes these providers 
within the context of the law, may have one or two of these individuals 
at their own homes, or have secreted them somewhere, so they are in the 
eye of the storm.
  As I indicated, we had the first human trafficking hearing of any 
committee in Houston, Texas, several years ago under the auspices of 
the Homeland Security Committee.
  I am proud of the facts that came out, giving the local people the 
opportunity to talk about the difficulties and challenges that they 
face trying to stop the scourge of human trafficking, particularly with 
young people.
  Our committee determined this very point, that the safety of these 
victims should be our number one concern. Innocent people who have been 
turned into human trafficking products by the heinous traffickers 
deserve our protection. As such, this training and funding is critical 
to ensure that human trafficking victims are treated as victims and 
afforded justice, respect, and dignity.
  Second, H.R. 507 ensures that law enforcement officers and 
prosecutors make every attempt to determine whether an individual is a 
victim of human trafficking before arresting the individual for or 
charging the individual with an offense that is a direct result of 
victimization of that individual.
  This will ensure that law enforcement officers do not add trauma and 
pain to the victims that have already endured an enormous amount of 
suffering.
  Let me remind my colleagues, that human trafficking, even beyond the 
scourge of drugs, is a product that can be used or is used over and 
over again. How devastating, how deadly, how heinous it is that these 
individuals can be used in human trafficking, sex trafficking, and the 
acts that they may be called upon to do over and over again.
  As a result, H.R. 507 will ensure that most effective practices are 
standardized so that sex trafficking victims are ultimately protected 
and treated with respect at all times.
  Lastly, the legislation ensures the effective prosecution of 
traffickers and individuals. For these reasons, I would say that this 
would be a bill that all of us support. Let's put up more than a stop 
sign and fight human trafficking and sex trafficking.
  Support this legislation.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 507, which directs the 
Attorney General to study issues relating to human trafficking, and for 
other purposes.
  Madam Speaker, it is of the upmost importance that we pass this 
important legislation and uphold the ideals of this country by 
protecting human trafficking victims.
  This bill is intended to improve the implementation of the Putting 
Trafficking Victims First Act of 2017.
  The 2017 act directed the Attorney General to study issues relating 
to human trafficking in response to trafficking concerning services and 
benefits for victims, criminal justice, domestic sex trafficking of 
children, and interagency coordination and training.
  I support H.R. 507 for several reasons. This measure will strengthen 
the effectiveness of the 2017 act in various ways, which I was proud to 
support.
  For example, H.R. 507 increases the personal safety of victim service 
providers, who may face intimidation or retaliation for their 
activities.
  We had the first human trafficking hearing of any committee in 
Houston, Texas, several years ago under the auspices of the Homeland 
Security Committee.
  Our committee determined this very point: that the safety of these 
victims should be our number one concern.
  Innocent people who have been turned into human traffic products by 
the heinous traffickers deserve our protection.
  As such, this training and funding is critical to ensure that human 
trafficking victims are treated as victims and afforded justice, 
respect, and dignity.
  Second, H.R. 507 ensures that law enforcement officers and 
prosecutors make every attempt to determine whether an individual is a 
victim of human trafficking before arresting the individual for, or 
charging the individual with, an offense that is a direct result of the 
victimization of the individual.
  This will ensure that law enforcement officers do not add trauma and 
pain to the victims that have already endured an enormous amount of 
suffering.
  As a result, H.R. 507 will help ensure the most effective practices 
are standardized so that sex trafficking victims are ultimately 
protected and treated with respect at all times.
  Lastly, the legislation ensures the effective prosecution of 
traffickers and individuals who patronize or solicit children for sex 
and facilitate access for child victims of commercial sex trafficking 
to the services and protections afforded to other victims of sexual 
violence.
  H.R. 507 identifies a broad range of important initiatives that 
States should undertake that would provide meaningful assistance to 
these victims: increasing victims' personal safety, ensuring the 
correct treatment of human trafficking victims by law enforcement and, 
ensuring the effective prosecution of all traffickers.
  Each of these initiatives should help ensure that these victims are 
not revictimized and help enable them to be guided back to a normalized 
life.
  Mr. Speaker, for all of these reasons, I am pleased to support this 
bill.
  This legislation is all about pointing out, finding, saving the 
victims, making sure they get treatment, and making sure that human 
trafficking is identified.
  I am also pleased that this measure, maintains the commitment to 
maintaining a report on State safe harbor laws.
  As we all know, safe harbors play a critical role in preventing 
youth, forced into the sex trade, from being revictimized again and 
stigmatized a second time by the criminal justice system, almost 
similar to the little girl who was looking for love.
  Instead, she got victimized and turned into a human trafficking 
product.

[[Page H1412]]

  H.R. 507 also fosters better collaboration among the Federal, State, 
and local law enforcement in the fight against sex trafficking and 
encourages States to adopt protections for trafficking victims by 
providing rehabilitation and recovery services for victims of human 
trafficking.
  Accordingly, I urge my colleagues to support this measure and, as 
well, to be reminded of all those children who will be helped and 
saved.
  Mr. COLLINS of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as she may 
consume to the gentlewoman from Missouri (Mrs. Wagner). She is someone 
to whom this has been a tireless call. She has been a sponsor of this, 
and outspoken on this, a fighter on this, along with the other folks 
who have talked about this.
  Mrs. WAGNER. Mr. Speaker, I thank the ranking member very much for 
his voice on this issue and so many others, and I thank my dear friend 
from California, Karen Bass, for her leadership.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise today to urge my colleagues to support the Put 
Trafficking Victims First Act, which I wrote and introduced in the last 
Congress with Congresswoman Karen Bass.
  The bill passed unanimously in May of 2017, and I hope that the House 
will again stand with the victims of human trafficking. Too often, 
trafficking victims are overlooked and underserved.
  In my home State of Missouri, I have met with many survivors and 
listened to their painful stories. They need help to rebuild their 
lives and that is exactly what this legislation will do.
  America's courtrooms need to adopt victim-centered practices oriented 
towards justice and recovery. While victims technically have access to 
mandatory restitution in Federal courts, the sad reality is that 
according to one estimate, sex trafficking victims get restitution in 
only 14 percent of Federal sex trafficking cases. This is unacceptable, 
Mr. Speaker.
  This legislation will direct the Attorney General to work on 
increasing restitution and to adopt victim-friendly procedures in 
criminal cases. We believe the trauma-informed care helps victims 
recover and cooperate with law enforcement so we may put pimps and 
buyers behind bars.
  Lack of help for victims in the justice system can lead to 
revictimization, or even result in victims being criminalized for 
offenses that they were forced to commit.
  The Putting Trafficking Victims First Act of 2019 encourages training 
for agencies, law enforcement, and prosecutors across the country to 
implement victim-centered approaches to investigating and preventing 
trafficking.
  We also encourage law enforcement to make every attempt to determine 
whether an individual's participation in trafficking is free from 
force, fraud, and coercion before arresting or charging them.
  The lack of good data on how to find and rescue victims of 
trafficking is another major challenge in the United States. We don't 
really know how best to identify and locate victims; what proportion 
are coming from foster care; or their ages; ethnicity; or other 
characteristics. We can't help victims if we can't find them, and we 
desperately need to improve victim outreach.
  The Putting Trafficking Victims First Act of 2019 establishes a 
national working group to develop a public survey of survivors and 
robust methodologies to estimate the prevalence of trafficking. This 
will help us understand how and where victims are accessing help to 
improve service provision.
  Finally, victims of trafficking are mostly served at the State level. 
So it is critical that States improve how they respond to victims. We 
need to make sure that all child trafficking victims receive the same 
level of care that any other child abuse survivor would receive. The 
bill encourages States to improve outreach, screen children entering 
child welfare services and the justice system, screen foreign nationals 
who will be labor trafficked, create safe harbor laws, and develop 
emergency response plans.
  Together, we can get victims of trafficking out of dangerous and 
abusive situations and make trauma-informed services more accessible.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to put trafficking victims first 
and join Congresswoman Bass and myself in voting for this legislation.
  Ms. BASS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Tennessee (Mr. Cohen).
  Mr. COHEN. Mr. Speaker, I thank Ms. Bass for yielding. I just wanted 
to stand on this bill because this is an important area and I want to 
commend Representative Bass for bringing it.
  I am happy to be a cosponsor, but I particularly thank Congresswoman 
Ann Wagner. When we had a bill last year, the SOAR Act, Stop, Observe, 
Act and Respond, to Health and Wellness Act, a pilot program to train 
healthcare workers who come into contact with people who have been 
sexually trafficked, they oftentimes do see healthcare workers because 
they have either been beaten up by their pimps or they have gotten a 
venereal disease.
  They might have to go in for birth control or for some other reason 
sexually related, oftentimes health related, so that we need to train 
health workers to observe and to know when they were seeing somebody 
trafficked to stop, to observe, to see if that person might be in that 
situation, and then to ask them, and then to send them to an agency 
that can help them.
  This was an important bill that we were able to pass in the Senate 
and make law.
  Representative Kinzinger helped, Representative Cardenas helped, but 
Representative Wagner was my star, and I want to thank her so much for 
working with us and helping on the Senate side, particularly, to get it 
passed.
  I am proud to be a cosponsor of this bill. I also want to mention 
that Representative Burchett is a strong sponsor and supporter of this 
type of legislation, and a great American.
  Mr. COLLINS of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I 
may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, much has been said about this bill. I think all of it is 
very timely, and I think, again, as we look at this, this is a time in 
which we all come together and make a very strong statement in support 
of this bill.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge all of my colleagues to support it, and I yield 
back the balance of my time.
  Ms. BASS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Organizations like Courtney's House are working to improve the 
outcomes for sex trafficking survivors. Tina Frundt, the director of 
Courtney's House right here in D.C., asserts that African American and 
Latino communities are not immune to human trafficking. Her 
organization provides trauma-informed services to sex trafficking 
survivors between the ages of 12 and 19.
  Tina is also a child sex trafficking survivor. As a 9-year-old girl 
in foster care, she was sex trafficked. By the time Tina was 14, she 
became one of 2 million children who run away from home each year. 
Nearly 200,000 of them will be sex trafficked.
  In Tina's case, her adult abuser was more than twice her age, and 
forced her to become a child sex worker. It took her years to escape. 
Now Tina helps children like her recent client, a 12-year-old girl 
whose 25-year-old abuser called himself her boyfriend rather than her 
trafficker.
  Mr. Speaker, H.R. 507 supports efforts to stop human trafficking. We 
are making progress in protecting those who have been caught up in this 
horrific criminal activity, and this bill is a great example of what we 
can accomplish when we focus on helping the most vulnerable among us.
  We have an obligation not only to end human trafficking, but to 
support people who undergo horrific experiences like these. This bill 
is yet another step in the right direction.
  Once again, I would like to thank Congresswoman Wagner and 
Congresswoman Jackson Lee for all of their efforts in this regard. I 
was very pleased to team up with Congresswoman Wagner again on this 
legislation, and hope that we can continue to work on these issues in 
the future.
  Mr. Speaker, for these reasons, I urge my colleagues to join me in 
supporting this bill today, and I yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentlewoman from California (Ms. Bass) that the House suspend the rules 
and pass the bill, H.R. 507.
  The question was taken.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. In the opinion of the Chair, two-thirds 
being in the affirmative, the ayes have it.

[[Page H1413]]

  

  Ms. BASS. Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 8 of rule XX, further 
proceedings on this motion will be postponed.

                          ____________________