Human trafficking would join the list of violent crimes reported under federal law enforcement grant requirements if legislation introduced today by U.S. Representatives John Carter (R-TX) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) is passed into law.
"Human trafficking is in many cases modern day slavery, with victims subject to heinous and degrading crimes," said Carter, a former Texas judge. "These severe cases should be on the same federal reporting level as other violent crimes such as murder and rape, if we are to collect the national data needed by law enforcement to combat these atrocities."
"By including human trafficking in the data collected and sent to the Department of Justice, we can get a clearer picture of the prevalence of this form of exploitation," Rep. Maloney said. "And that data will help us create new tools to help combat this modern-day slavery."
The bill addresses a major recommendation of the U.S. State Department 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report, which found that the U.S. needs to "improve data collection on human trafficking cases at the federal, state and local levels."
The Human Trafficking Reporting Act, H.R. 2982 would amend the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to expand the definition of Part I violent crime to include severe forms of human trafficking. The inclusion would add human trafficking data report requirements to the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance program (Byrne grants).
State and local governments which receive Byrne grants report Part 1 statistics to the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program, which tracks crime statistics and trends nationwide. Part I crimes are currently defined to include murder, non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault. In spite of the violent and degrading nature of human trafficking it is not included in the current definition of Part I offenses.
The bill is cost-free and has no impact on the federal deficit.