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Barletta Votes to Protect Local Communities from Sex Trafficking and Cyber Stalking

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Barletta Votes to Protect Local Communities from Sex Trafficking and Cyber Stalking

WASHINGTON – Yesterday Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) voted in favor of two crucial pieces of legislation aimed at crippling human trafficking.  H.R. 2219, the End Banking for Human Traffickers Act of 2018 cuts off human traffickers’ access to our country’s financial system, while H.R. 4203, the Combat Online Predators Act cracks down on cyber stalking and other forms of digital harassment.  Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) voted in favor of both pieces of legislation, which passed the House with overwhelmingly bipartisan support and now go to the Senate for further action.

“The sickening practice of human trafficking is a disgrace to our society,” Barletta said.  “To take a strong stand against human trafficking, we have to stay one step ahead of the perpetrators who commit these horrible crimes.  By cracking down on the bank accounts of these criminals and increasing the penalties for those targeting our children, we can better protect our communities from human trafficking before it occurs.”

H.R. 2219 enhances the financial industry’s efforts to detect and deter money laundering related to human trafficking and encourages foreign governments to have a framework to prevent financial transactions involving the proceeds of severe forms of trafficking.  H.R. 4203 amends the federal criminal code to increase the maximum prison term for stalking and cyberstalking by five years if the victim is under 18 years of age.  It also requires the Attorney General to issue a report on best practices on the enforcement of state, local, tribal, and Federal stalking laws.

Human trafficking is estimated to produce profits of roughly $150 billion a year for traffickers and is one of the fastest growing forms of transnational crime.  In 2016 alone, it is estimated that 40.3 million people were victims of human trafficking, with 24.9 million forced into labor.  Most recently, on February 27, 2018, Barletta cosponsored and voted for H.R. 1865, the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, which creates a new federal anti-trafficking law to specifically target bad-actor websites that have engaged in the promotion or facilitation of prostitution, yet continue to escape criminal and civil liability.  In an important step forward in the fight against human trafficking, this legislation has already helped produce results as one such website, Backpage.com, was seized by federal authorities just last week after repeated accusations of enabling prostitution and sex trafficking of minors.

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