Washington DC (KELO-AM) South Dakota U-S Representative Kristi Noem (R) is sponsoring new bipartisan legislation to better battle human trafficking.
Noem says the legislation will help better prevent and intervene when trafficking occurs, while opening up additional resources for trafficking victims, such as more grants for housing.
She says the biggest problem she's heard from South Dakota is not enough places to shelter the victims. Without a place to stay at night, she says, these kids could again fall prey to the traffickers.
The bill is called the Human Trafficking Prevention, Intervention, and Recovery Act (H.R.5135).
Rep. Noem’s legislation, which has been co-sponsored by 29 Members of Congress thus far and endorsed by Shared Hope International, takes a three-pronged approach in combating human trafficking:
- Launches a review by the Interagency Task-Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking that will look into federal and state trafficking prevention activities. The review will be done in consultation with nongovernmental organizations and will work to identify and develop best practices to prevent trafficking.
- Requires an inventory of existing federal anti-trafficking efforts by the non-partisan Government Accountability Office to make sure all federal agencies and programs work together and that federal resources are being targeted where needed.
- Improves existing Department of Justice grants, allowing the grants to also support shelters for survivors. Currently, there are just 200 beds available in the United States for underage victims.
In May 2014, Noem helped lead the U.S. House in passing a comprehensive package of bills that allocates more resources for survivors, offers more tools to go after traffickers and those that solicit the services of a trafficked individual, and puts policies in place that lawmakers hope will better prevent trafficking.