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Senator Lankford Praises Passage of the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act

WASHINGTON, DC— Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today praised Senate passage of the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (S. 178). The legislation would provide law enforcement with tools to target and investigate human traffickers, while also helping victims restore their lives. It is estimated that there are more than 14,000 sex and labor trafficking victims each year in America.

“Human trafficking is a horrific reality for some Americans, many of them children,” said Lankford. “The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act is needed to support domestic victims of trafficking and give law enforcement the tools to crack down on traffickers. Many victims of trafficking face unspeakable abuses – instead of being treated like criminals, they should be treated as victims.”

Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act:

  • Improves law enforcement’s ability to target those who purchase sex or labor from a trafficking victim and hold them responsible as a human trafficker under the law.
  • Creates a Domestic Trafficking Victims’ Fund to increase resources available for victims.
  • Includes the Hyde amendment, which has been part of federal legislation since 1976. The Hyde amendment, named after former Illinois Rep. Henry Hyde, is a legislative provision that prohibits the use of federal funds to pay for abortion procedures, except if a pregnancy arises from incest or rape, or if necessary to save the life of the mother. 
  • Recognizes child pornography production as a form of human trafficking, ensuring victims have access to support services available to other trafficking victims.
  • Protects victims and witnesses by requiring traffickers to be treated as violent criminals for purposes of pre-trial release, monitoring, and detention.
  • Increases the authority of law enforcement to seize assets of convicted traffickers and directs proceeds towards funding victim restitution orders and financial awards for witnesses.
  • Creates a Human Trafficking Advisory Council composed of survivors to formulate recommendations to the federal government.