January 28, 2020
U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) on Jan. 21 offered a bipartisan bill to amend the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 and improve information sharing to help combat human trafficking.
“The human trafficking industry has grown into a billion-dollar global enterprise, enslaving an estimated 25 million people worldwide, including 300,000 in Texas,” Rep. McCaul said. “As human traffickers continue to use sophisticated tactics to recruit and exploit innocent victims, we must remain vigilant in our efforts to eradicate this heinous crime.”
If enacted, the Leveraging Information on Foreign Traffickers (LIFT) Act, H.R. 5664, would ensure adequate time for the preparation of the annual Trafficking in Persons Report and would require the timely provision of information to the U.S. Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons and the U.S. Bureau of Diplomatic Security on the number and location of visa denials related to human trafficking, according to the text of the bill.
“In order to meaningfully move the needle on human trafficking, we need an approach that emphasizes effective communication and collaboration between government, local law enforcement, survivors, and community officials,” said Rep. McCaul. “The LIFT Act facilitates information sharing between U.S. anti-trafficking officials and law enforcement so that those tasked with monitoring and targeting trafficking have all relevant data at their disposal.”
In turn, said the congressman, this would ensure that officials across several agencies and law enforcement networks are able to coordinate efforts that help detect and prevent human-trafficking operations.
“Additionally, this legislation ensures that the voices of trafficking victims continue to inform policy decisions by extending the Advisory Council on Human Trafficking,” Rep. McCaul added, noting that he has worked closely with survivors of human trafficking and found their perspectives invaluable to the policy process.
“It is crucial that these survivors remain at the center of the conversation,” he said.
Rep. McCaul sponsored H.R. 5664 with lead original cosponsor U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY). Reps. McCaul and Engel are ranking member and chairman, respectively, of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee.