Joyce Re-Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Support Human Trafficking Survivors and Investigators

Mar 07, 2023
Press
Public Safety

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Dave Joyce (OH-14) reintroduced the IMPACTT Human Trafficking Act alongside Reps. Elissa Slotkin (MI-07), Ann Wagner (MO-02), and Dina Titus (NV-01) to provide survivors of human trafficking and the law enforcement officers working to combat these terrible crimes the resources and support they need. U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and James Lankford (R-OK) have introduced companion legislation in the Senate. 

“I am proud to reintroduce this legislation to provide human trafficking survivors and law enforcement officers with the resources required to combat these horrific offenses,” said Congressman Joyce, Co-Chair of the Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence. “Human trafficking affects communities in Ohio and across our country, where traffickers threaten, deceive, and use manipulative tactics to force people into modern day slavery. I am committed to doing everything I can to stop these crimes from taking place and ensuring that survivors receive the specialized support they need, while also providing law enforcement officers with additional resources to protect themselves and hold perpetrators accountable.”

“Today, Michigan has one of the highest rates of human trafficking in the country, and it is critical that Congress give law enforcement the tools it needs to fight this despicable crime on all fronts,” said Rep. Slotkin. “This is a vital piece of legislation that will expand the Department of Homeland Security’s ability to train specialized investigators, while also providing support and resources to both victims of human trafficking and the DHS staff that work on these challenging cases. And while this bill is an important step, I look forward to working with my Democrat and Republican colleagues to vigorously confront the issue of human trafficking and its perpetrators.”

“Over the past few years, I have had the privilege of working closely with Homeland Security investigators on the frontlines of the fight against human trafficking and child exploitation. The work these brave men and women do—locating, rescuing, and assisting victims—is truly extraordinary. This bill will codify programs to support investigators handling traumatic crimes and includes my legislation to expand the Homeland Security Investigations Victim Assistance Program. This vital program helps survivors of trafficking and child exploitation gain access to available resources available while also assisting law enforcement in apprehending their trafficker. Trafficking and child exploitation are on the rise in the United States, and we must ensure law enforcement has the tools necessary to combat these barbaric crimes and protect the most vulnerable among us,” said Rep. Wagner. 

“Like other major transportation hubs across the U.S., Las Vegas is plagued by human trafficking, and I’ve worked tirelessly throughout my tenure in Congress to provide law enforcement and human trafficking investigators with the resources they need to combat it,” said Rep. Titus. “Critically, my IMPACTT Human Trafficking Act will also support victims through every step in the process of bringing human traffickers to justice. Victims must not be treated like criminals.”

“Human trafficking not only leaves deep, traumatic scars on its victims, but it also impacts the dedicated professionals who are responsible for investigating these crimes,” said Senator Peters. “This bipartisan legislation will help increase support for victims who are recovering from these horrific crimes and ensure that Homeland Security Investigations agents, victim assistance specialists, and others who work with human trafficking victims have the support they need to effectively do their jobs.” 

“Human trafficking along our southern border is at an all-time high, and the problem is only getting worse. Battling cartels, abuse, and trauma, human trafficking survivors have been through enough. It’s critical that survivors – along with the professionals helping them – have access to the resources they need to get the justice and closure they deserve. This bipartisan effort will make that a reality and continue the work to end human trafficking,” said Senator Lankford.

The IMPACTT Human Trafficking Act would make permanent and expand the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Victim Assistance Program to provide services to victims of human trafficking. The bill also makes permanent the Investigators Maintain Purposeful Awareness to Combat Trafficking Trauma (IMPACTT) program to assist HSI employees dealing with the stress and trauma associated with their job of working directly alongside these vulnerable individuals. The IMPACTT Human Trafficking Act, will provide increased outreach and training for victim assistance specialists, forensic interviewers, task force officers, and other partners who have been exposed to trauma while investigating human trafficking. This bill would also increase the number of victim assistance specialists to ensure that every office participating in human trafficking or child exploitation task forces will have an assigned victim assistant specialist. Additionally, the bill will provide victims with support and services throughout the investigative and prosecutorial process.

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