The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously advanced two bipartisan bills Thursday to crack down on human trafficking and support victims.
One bill (S 178) introduced by John Cornyn, R-Texas, would use fines and penalties against perpetrators for more restitution and assistance funds for victims, according to a summary from co-sponsor Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.
“Sex trafficking isn’t just happening in some far-away nation — it’s happening in our own backyard,” Klobuchar said in a statement. “In Minnesota, we’ve already recognized that kids who are sold for sex are not criminals who need jail time — they are victims who need support.”
The bill has 26 co-sponsors, with 10 Democrats and 16 Republicans. The House passed a version of the legislation (HR 181) in January.
Another bill (S 166), introduced by Klobuchar, aims to make sure minors sold for sex are treated as victims and not prosecuted. The bill is modeled after Minnesota’s “Safe Harbor” law, according to Klobuchar.