Joyce Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Support Human Trafficking Survivors, Investigators

Nov 29, 2022
Press
Public Safety

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Dave Joyce (OH-14) announced he has introduced the IMPACTT Human Trafficking Act alongside Reps. Elissa Slotkin (MI-08), Ann Wagner (MO-02), and Dina Titus (NV-01) to ensure survivors of human trafficking and law enforcement officers working to combat these terrible crimes receive the resources and support they need. U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Gary Peters (D-MI) have introduced the legislation in the Senate.

The IMPACTT Human Trafficking Act would make permanent and expand the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Victim Assistance Program that helps provide support and services to individuals impacted by human trafficking. The bipartisan, bicameral bill would also make permanent the Investigators Maintain Purposeful Awareness to Combat Trafficking Trauma (IMPACTT) program that ensures the wellbeing of HSI employees and partners who are exposed to repeated stress and associated trauma through their work to support victims and investigate these horrific crimes.

“The horrible truth is that human trafficking is one of the fastest growing forms of transnational crime,” said Rep. Joyce, a Co-Chair of the Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence. “These crimes pose a threat to communities nationwide, with traffickers using violence, threats, deception, debt bondage, and other manipulative tactics to force people into modern day slavery where they often become victims of sexual violence as well. I’m proud to introduce this bill so that we can provide survivors and law enforcement officers who investigate these terrible crimes with the resources and support they need. With Ohio ranking among the worst states in the nation for human trafficking, I am committed to doing everything in my power to prevent these crimes from happening, support survivors, and bring traffickers to justice.”

“Human trafficking is an insidious crime that must be attacked from all sides,” said Rep. Titus. “I have spent years in Congress fighting these heinous acts by securing provisions to require that airline employees are trained to spot trafficking, advocating for measures to block convicted human traffickers from working in commercial transportation, and championing local efforts to provide more resources for victims. This bipartisan bill will ensure human trafficking victims and the professionals that investigate these crimes receive the resources and support they need.”

“Throughout my time in Congress, I have worked with federal law enforcement to ensure they have the tools and resources they need to combat human trafficking in our community and across the country,” said Rep. Wagner. “The brave men and women who investigate these traumatic and heinous cases are on the front lines of this fight, saving vulnerable individuals from the modern sex trade every day. The IMPACTT Human Trafficking Act includes my Homeland Security Investigations Victim Assistance Act and will provide the necessary support for investigators who deal with their own stresses from these cases. My provision will expand the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Victim Assistance Program to help survivors assist HSI investigators in apprehending and building a case against their traffickers, while also informing survivors about the multiple resources available to them. I will always support survivors and our HSI investigators, and I look forward to advancing this legislation.”

Specifically, the IMPACTT Human Trafficking Act would:

  • Make permanent the IMPACTT program within HSI that provides outreach and training to investigators, forensic interviewers, victim assistance specialists, task force officers, and other partners who have been exposed to trauma while working with victims of human trafficking. 
  • Require HSI to provide training, through the program, to these employees on available resources to help cope with burnout, compassion fatigue, and trauma. 
  • Make permanent and expands the HSI Victim Assistance Program that provides guidance on victim assistance, including training and technical assistance, and monitors compliance with federal crime victim statutes. 
  • Increase the number of Victim Assistant Specialists to ensure every office participating in a human trafficking or child exploitation task force will have an assigned Victim Assistant Specialist. 
  • Ensure that victims are provided with referrals for support services throughout the investigative and prosecutorial process.

You can read the full bill text here.

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