H.R. 357, Human Trafficking Prevention Act

H.R. 357

Human Trafficking Prevention Act

Sponsor
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney

Date
January 26, 2015 (114th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Monday, January 26, 2015, the House will consider H.R. 357, the Human Trafficking Prevention Act, under suspension of the rules.  H.R. 357 was introduced on January 14, 2015 by Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) and referred to the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Bill Summary

H.R. 357 is substantively identical to H.R. 4449, the Human Trafficking Prevention Act of 2014, which passed on July 23, 2014 by voice vote.[1]

H.R. 357 amends federal law to require new minimum human trafficking awareness training for certain Foreign Service personnel.  Such training must include: 1) a distance learning course on human trafficking issues and the Department of State’s training obligations under this bill, targeted for embassy reporting officers, regional bureaus’ Trafficking in Persons (TIP) coordinators, and their superiors; 2) human trafficking briefings for all ambassadors and deputy chiefs of mission before they depart for their posts; and 3) at least annual reminders to all such personnel at each diplomatic or consular post outside the U.S. on key problems, threats, methods, and warning signs of human trafficking specific to their location, as well as appropriate procedures for reporting such activity.

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[1] Congressional Record – July 23, 2014, H6735.

Background

“[TIP] for the purposes of exploitation is believed to be one of the most prolific areas of contemporary international criminal activity.”[2]  Although estimates vary, one statistic projects that between 600,000 and 800,000 individuals are trafficked across international borders each year.  If TIP within a country’s borders is included, an estimated 2-4 million individuals are trafficked annually.[3]  Although human trafficking is a significant U.S. foreign policy concern, these issues and the requirements of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) “remain ‘poorly understood’ among ‘rank-and-file diplomats’ serving in the U.S. foreign service—raising questions regarding the perceived policy priority of human trafficking within the State Department.  Additionally, the OIG report states that ‘Washington briefings for chiefs of missions and their deputies do not always include TIP issues, even though all countries are now covered in the annual TIP report.’”[4]  Presently, diplomatic training on TIP is encouraged, but not required.[5]

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[2] Alison Siskin & Liana Rosen, Trafficking in Persons: U.S. Policy and Issues for Congress, Congressional Research Service (May 1, 2014) at Summary.
[3] Id. at 7.
[4] Id. at 32.
[5] Id.

Cost

A CBO cost estimate for this legislation is currently unavailable.  However, a CBO cost estimate from the 113th Congress found that this legislation would not significantly affect discretionary or direct spending.[6]

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[6] http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/hr4449.pdf

Additional Information

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.