Kuster Calls on Senate to Put Aside Partisan Politics and Pass Human Trafficking Legislation
Washington, DC – This afternoon, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) called on the Senate to put aside partisan politics and pass human trafficking legislation that has been languishing for weeks, and which includes important provisions to help put an end to sex trafficking and provide support to victims. Kuster championed companion legislation in the House, and she worked with her colleagues from both sides of the aisle to push the House version forward. Enjoying strong bipartisan support, the House bill passed unanimously earlier this year.
Senate Republicans have added new language to the Senate version of the bill that would restrict the ability of female sex trafficking victims to access comprehensive health care coverage. Kuster condemns this partisan political stunt, and urges the Senate to strip this language from the bill and pass the legislation now.
“All across the nation, victims of sex trafficking are being forced to endure indescribable terrors at the hands of their traffickers. This bill would help put an end to human trafficking. What’s more, by increasing fines on those guilty of trafficking, this bill would raise revenue to fund vitally important support services for victims so they can overcome their experiences and reclaim their lives,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster. “The fact that some Senate Republicans would use a bill aimed at putting an end to this heinous practice to push their own partisan, political agenda is reprehensible. I urge the Senate to follow the House’s lead, put aside these partisan stunts, and pass a clean version of this bill so we can immediately bolster efforts to crack down on traffickers and increase support for the victims that need our help.”
If passed, the Senate bill would help curb human trafficking by increasing support for law enforcement efforts to find and prosecute traffickers, increasing penalties on those guilty of trafficking, and raising revenue earned from those fines to establish support services for victims to help them return to their normal lives.
Since taking office, Kuster has been a strong proponent of human and women rights, and she has helped lead the charge in the federal effort to address human trafficking. Last year, she held a roundtable in New Hampshire to hear from community leaders, law enforcement officials, academic researchers, advocates, and trafficking victims about the ongoing occurrences of human trafficking taking place around the world. In addition, Kuster sponsored and championed a package of bills to address trafficking, which passed the House in 2014 with overwhelming support, and she has repeatedly urged the Senate to act on these important proposals—including the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, which is currently stalled before the Senate. Kuster has advocated for a number of bills that support women’s rights, including her bipartisan legislation to improve whistleblower protections, which was passed into law, to protect military members who report instances of sexual abuse.