H.R. 398, Trafficking Awareness Training for Health Care Act of 2015

H.R. 398

Trafficking Awareness Training for Health Care Act of 2015

January 27, 2015 (114th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact

Floor Situation

On Tuesday, January 27, 2015, the House will consider H.R. 398, the Trafficking Awareness Training for Health Care Act of 2015, under a suspension of the rules.  H.R. 398 was introduced by Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) and referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Bill Summary

H.R. 398 directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), within one year of the bill’s enactment, to establish grant programs for eligible medical or nursing schools to develop strategies to identify victims of human trafficking.  Eligible schools would be required to: 1) develop (within six months) best practices for health care professionals to identify and respond to victims of severe human trafficking; 2) consults with experts and social service providers in evaluating existing best practices; 3) develop curricula, training modules, or materials to train health care professionals; 4) award a subgrant to an entity located near an established anti-human trafficking task force initiative to establish, conduct, and evaluate a pilot program; 5) analyze the results of the pilot program; and 6) submit an assessment of the pilot program to HHS.

The best practices developed through the grant program are required to address: 1) risk factors and indicators to recognize victims of human trafficking; 2) the application of federal and state law with respect to victims of trafficking; 3) patient safety and security; 4) the management of medical records of patients who are victims; 5) public and private social services available for rescue, food, clothing, and shelter referrals; 6) the hotlines for reporting human trafficking maintained by the National Human Trafficking Resources Center and the Department of Homeland Security; 7) validated assessment tools for the identification of victims; and 8) referral options and procedures for sharing information on human trafficking with a patient and making referrals for legal and social service assistance related to human trafficking when indicated and appropriate.

Finally, not later than 24 months after the award of a grant to a school, the Secretary of HHS and the Director of AHRQ are required to post best practices identified by grant recipients, and disseminate these practices to health care profession schools.  No additional funds are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this legislation.


While difficult to quantify the number of victims, it is estimated that 50,000 people are trafficked each year and about 400,000 domestic minors are involved in trafficking in the United States.[1]  The U.S. is one of the largest markets for trafficking, with profits in the billions of dollars.[2]  Health care providers are among the few professionals to interact with trafficked women and girls.  One study found that 28 percent of trafficked women saw a health care professional while being trafficked.[3]  H.R. 398 would develop best practices for health care workers to identify and assist victims of trafficking.

[1] http://docs.house.gov/meetings/IF/IF14/20140911/102647/HHRG-113-IF14-20140911-SD001.pdf; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3125713/
[2] See Id.
[3] See Id.


A CBO cost estimate is currently unavailable.

Additional Information

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