Editorial: Trafficking has to be stopped

May. 28, 2014 @ 11:15 PM

Legislation against human trafficking has moved to the U.S. Senate, and we hope to soon see proper action taken there and in the Oval Office.

According to govtrack.us, not all of five bills passing the U.S. House last Tuesday have favorable chances to become law. In some cases, the likelihood of getting President Barack Obama’s signature is 20 percent.

That should increase. Each bill has merit in the fight against human trafficking, a global industry estimated to generate more than $32 billion a year in the U.S. Our state, heavily saturated with military installations, is an unwanted top 10.

• HR 3530 is the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act. Rep. Ted Poe, a Texas Republican, is the bill’s sponsor.

• HR 4058 is the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Improving Opportunities for Youth in Foster Care Act. It is sponsored by Rep. David Reichert, a Republican from the state of Washington.

• HR 3610 is the Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act, sponsored by Rep. Erik Paulsen, a Republican from Minnesota.

• HR 4573 is the International Megan’s Law to Prevent Demand for Child Sex Trafficking. Rep. Christopher Smith, a Republican from New Jersey, is the bill’s author.

• And HR 4225 is the Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation Act, also known as SAVE. Rep. Ann Wagner, a Missouri Republican, is the sponsor of the bill.

The bills are important individually and collectively.

More resources are needed for law enforcement. We also want stiffer penalties for culprits and better support for victims. Poe’s legislation addresses all.

The fragility of foster care can be helped by Reichert’s bill. Paulsen is attempting to help minors who were trafficked while pushing johns higher on the sex offender registry.

Smith’s bill requires registered child sex offenders to give notice when traveling outside the U.S. and requests foreign governments to do the same for those coming to America. Wagner’s bill makes it a federal crime to knowingly advertise for commercial exploitation minors and trafficking victims.

Human trafficking doesn’t stop until all of us, especially lawmakers, ruin the profitability and raise the risks.