Judiciary Committee Approves More Bills to Combat Child Sex Abuse and Human Trafficking
Adding to the House Judiciary Committee’s work to protect children from exploitation and abuse, the Committee today approved two bills to protect young athletes from sexual abuse and provide victim-centered support to survivors of human trafficking. Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) praised today’s Committee approval of these two bills:
“The federal government’s most important duties are to keep Americans safe and carry out justice. Children are the most innocent and vulnerable among us and warrant the strongest protection of the law. The bills approved by the House Judiciary Committee today provide a number of tools to prevent and combat sexual abuse of young athletes and fight the ongoing scourge of human trafficking. I thank Congresswomen Brooks and Wagner for their work on these bills and look forward to the House voting on these bills and others soon.”
The Committee first approved the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse Act (H.R 1973), sponsored by Representative Susan Brooks (R-Ind.), by voice vote. This legislation requires prompt reporting of suspected cases of abuse, mandatory training, and implementation of policies and procedures for preventing, reporting, and addressing allegations of sexual abuse at amateur athletic governing bodies. It responds to recent allegations of sexual abuse made against personnel involved with USA Gymnastics, USA Swimming, and USA Taekwondo.
“As a former U.S. Attorney, I worked on cases dealing with child exploitation and abuse, and I know first-hand how absolutely necessary it is that our laws protect the most vulnerable,” said Representative Brooks. “Unfortunately, current law neglects to properly protect young athletes from abuse, but this legislation ensures that amateur athletic governing bodies promptly report allegations of sexual abuse and assault. I thank Chairman Goodlatte for bringing this bill before the Judiciary Committee, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House and Senator Feinstein to pass this bill in to law.”
The Committee also approved the Put Trafficking Victims First Act (H.R. 2473), authored by Representative Ann Wagner (R-Mo.), by voice vote. There is an important need across the country to ensure that trafficking victims are perceived and treated as victims of crime, and afforded the same justice, rights, protections, and dignity that other crime victims receive. The legislation approved by the Committee today, among other purposes, provides training to prosecutors on investigating and processing cases with a trauma-informed and victim-centered approach, and encourages states to provide appropriate services to victims of trafficking. The bill also calls for reports on the implementation of state safe harbor provisions and on how to improve mandatory restitution procedures for victims of trafficking in federal courts.
“I’ve met with countless victims of human trafficking and listened to their painful stories,” said Representative Wagner. “They need help to rebuild their lives and that’s what the Put Trafficking Victims First Act of 2017 does – improves support, identification, and services for victims of this horrific crime.
“Additionally, this bill will enhance training for law enforcement, prosecutors and government agencies so they can better pursue justice and trauma-informed care for victims,” added Representative Wagner. “By better protecting children and survivors from being re-victimized and increasing education and awareness, we are putting victims first and helping them access the justice they need.”