The Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act (SETT) (S. 1733) and Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act would help improve national anti-trafficking policies by requiring that the law treat women as victims in trafficking crimes and increase authorities’ ability to prosecute human trafficking accomplices. The Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act (SETT):
- Includes a provision modeled after Minnesota’s “safe harbor” laws that requires all states to have a safe harbor provision to help ensure minors who are sold for sex aren’t prosecuted as defendants, but are instead treated as victims. A safe harbor law means that kids sold for sex should be steered towards child protection services, rather than being arrested, charged, or convicted under a state’s criminal laws. This bill will require that states have a safe harbor as a condition for receiving federal grants.
- Allows victims of sex trafficking to participate in the Job Corps program to help them get back on their feet. This bill makes clear that victims of sex trafficking should be eligible for our current job training and skills building programs to help empower sex trafficking victims so that they have the tools they need to find a way out of the cycle.
- Helps victims pursue financial restitution and recover damages. Under this new bill, when sex trafficking victims sue their perpetrators, they’ll be able to get the damages they are due from the people who harmed them. The bill will also encourage better tracking of financial restitution orders so that victims can actually collect on the restitution they are due.
- Creates a National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking to help coordinate efforts to investigate and prevent human trafficking between federal, state, local, and tribal agencies. This will help set clear goals and focus resources to help combat human trafficking. The bill will also encourage better data sharing between different law enforcement agencies.
- Strengthens requirements for convicted sex trafficking offenders to be listed higher on the National Sex Offender Registry so they are reported and tracked closely to ensure they can’t victimize anyone else. The bill would reclassify those convicted of state or federal sex trafficking crimes so that they must register for life and appear in person every 3 months to have a picture taken and verify registry information.
- Strengthens the National Human Trafficking Hotline. Although the Hotline operates with some federal authorization, this bill puts the National Human Trafficking Hotline on par with other national hotlines designed to serve victims.
U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Illinois) worked to include language in Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act that would improve federal racketeering laws (RICO) by giving law enforcement the ability to prosecute those who assist in human trafficking, not just those who are part of the operation or management of a ring. This provision would also allow for prosecution of those giving financial assistance to a criminal network’s activities.
Learn more at the U.S. Senator Mark Kirk article: Kirk: It’s Time to End Child Sex Trafficking.