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Friday, February 23, 2024

House Committee Approves Two Transportation Anti-Trafficking Bills



U.S. Reps. John Katko (R-NY) and Elizabeth Esty (D-CT) introduced two bipartisan measures to combat human trafficking. The bills, the No Human Trafficking on Our Roads Act and the Combating Human Trafficking in Commercial Vehicles Act, were previously introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senators Thune (R-SD) and Klobuchar (D-MN).

On Thursday, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved both bills.

The No Human Trafficking on Our Roads Act establishes a lifetime ban on Commercial Driver’s License holders who are convicted of a human trafficking felony. A similar lifetime ban for CDL holders exists for drug trafficking.

The Combating Human Trafficking in Commercial Vehicles Act focuses on the prevention of human trafficking by designating a human trafficking prevention coordinator at the U.S. Department of Transportation. It increases outreach, education, and reporting efforts at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

“As a former organized crime prosecutor on both the northern border at home in New York and on the southern border in El Paso, Texas, I’ve seen firsthand the horrors of human trafficking. As Central New York’s representative in Congress, I’ve remained engaged locally and worked together with our federal and local law enforcement and community stakeholders to continue to address this issue,” said Rep. Katko. “Often, human traffickers take advantage of our nation’s transportation systems to transport their victims, and the U.S. Department of Transportation and the transportation industry play a critical role in preventing and stopping these heinous exploitations.”

“Human trafficking is an inhumane crime, and is occurring in communities all over our state and throughout America. All too often human trafficking is swept under the rug, assumed to be a crime that happens somewhere else to someone else. As I learned when a human trafficking ring was arrested in my hometown, anyone can become a victim of human trafficking, regardless of race, age, gender, or socio-economic status. I am proud to work with my friend and colleague Republican Rep. John Katko to address this often-invisible but incredibly harmful crime. Our bipartisan bills will empower the U.S. Department of Transportation to combat human trafficking by giving them the tools they need to stop criminals in their tracks across our nation’s transportation network,” Rep. Esty said.

Human trafficking is a significant, global problem. The FBI has reported that sex trafficking is the fastest-growing business of organized crime and the third-largest criminal enterprise in the world and can include forced labor, domestic servitude, and commercial sex trafficking.

The next step will be the bills’ consideration by the full House of Representatives.