Walker Introduces Legislation to Combat Human Trafficking
WASHINGTON, DC â€“ Last week, U.S. Representative Mark Walker (NC-6) introduced his first bill, H.R. 460, the Human Trafficking Detection Act of 2015. This bipartisan legislation works to effectively train and inform Department of Homeland Security (DHS) personnel to better detect and intercept human traffickers and their victims. Rep. Walker is joined by Rep. Mark Meadows (NC-11), House Homeland Security Chairman Mike McCaul (TX-10) and seven additional Members of Congress in introducing this legislation.
â€œ21 million people are estimated to be victims of human trafficking worldwide and this depravity is happening in our own backyards. North Carolina is often ranked as a top state for labor and sex trafficking, and we must act to end this unconscionable industry,â€ said Rep. Walker. â€œAn estimated 17,500 people are trafficked through the U.S. each yearâ€”even more tragic, nearly half of these victims are children. The majority of these victims will pass by either Border Patrol or TSA, and we must make certain these agents are properly trained in the current trends and practices to end human trafficking. One victim of human trafficking is one too many.â€
â€œHuman trafficking is one of the great injustices of our time. Iâ€™m grateful to Congressman Walker for his leadership on this important piece of legislation. We must continue to do all that we can to end the tragedy of modern day slavery,â€ Congressman Mark Meadows (NC-11) said.
â€œLast year, I held a Committee hearing in Texas where we heard from courageous survivors of human trafficking, as well as State and local law enforcement on how we can work together to combat this horrific crime. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plays a critical role in this effort,â€ said Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security. â€œI am a proud to once again co-sponsor the Human Trafficking Detection Act, and I will continue to push for further measures to fight human trafficking within the United States and around the world.â€
The Human Trafficking Detection Act of 2015 expands the scope of mandatory training for DHS officials without increasing federal spending. It also assists local law enforcement by authorizing the Secretary to provide training curricula to any state, local, or tribal government or private organization seeking to establish a human trafficking awareness training program. Additionally, it requires DHS to start keeping records of the number of human trafficking cases reported or confirmed and report annually to Congress on these incidents.
January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Full text of the Human Trafficking Detection Act of 2015 can be found here.