Today, U.S. Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) made the following statement after President Obama announced additional efforts to combat and eliminate human trafficking, which affects more than 20 million people around the world.
"I am pleased by the Obama Administration's announcement to strengthen protections already in place to protect vulnerable individuals who are victims of human trafficking. President Obama has made a firm commitment to these efforts and today's news is just affirmation that the U.S. Government's will remain steadfast on its zero-tolerance policy on human trafficking through its new Executive Order. With these new tools, including training to identify and assist human trafficking victims, and a new Interagency Task Force which will increase resources for victims such as legal assistance and streamline procedures to help victims stay in the U.S., I am confident that through strategic programs such as this one we will once and for all put an end to trafficking."
In 2011, an amendment authored by Bass, which indicates that no United States defense funds should be used to engage or facilitate human trafficking was included in the Fiscal Year 2012 Defense Appropriations Act and was signed into law in 2011. This year, Bass introduced another amendment which was included in the House of Representatives Fiscal Year 2013 Department of Defense Authorization Act, requiring the Department of Defense to highlight practices of human trafficking in contractor performance assessments. In addition, Bass authored the Strengthening the Child Welfare Response to Trafficking Act, H.R. 2730, which seeks to improve the child welfare response to trafficking by strengthening the child welfare system to identify, document, and counsel children at risk of exploitation. This bill is currently awaiting a vote.