Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Representative Rick Nolan (D-MN) today pushed for bipartisan legislation to crack down on sex trafficking. The bill, which Klobuchar and Nolan introduced with Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and Representatives Ted Poe (R-TX), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Kay Granger (R-TX), would help eliminate human trafficking rings by targeting the criminals who purchase sexual acts from these organizations and ensuring that they are prosecuted as human traffickers. Earlier this week the FBI announced the arrests of 150 people involved in child prostitution rings including three sex traffickers in Minnesota. 

“As a former prosecutor, I know the horror and violence women and children experience as victims of human trafficking,” said Klobuchar.“This legislation takes important steps to empower law enforcement and help crack down on those who help drive demand for this heinous crime.”

“We’ve got to drive a stake into the heart of a child sex trafficking industry,”Nolan said. “That requires us to provide law enforcement with the power they need to arrest, convict and punish the predators. And just importantly, it requires us to treat these young girls as the victims they are – in need of all the help and protection we can provide – instead of as criminals who need to be punished and stigmatized.”

Under current law there is often confusion as to whether or not those who purchase illicit sexual acts are sex traffickers, resulting in the acquittal of individuals who perpetrate these crimes. The bill will help eliminate human trafficking rings by strengthening current law to make absolutely clear that criminals who purchase sexual acts from trafficking victims can and should be arrested, prosecuted, and convicted as sex trafficking offenders.

Klobuchar also cosponsored another bipartisan bill introduced by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) to help fight sex trafficking to increase the information and statistics on cases of human trafficking within the United States in order to better understand the scope of the problem and help law enforcement and victims’ advocates identify and investigate potential cases of human trafficking.

The End Sex Trafficking Act is supported by Shared Hope International, Fraternal Order of Police, National District Attorneys Association, Human Rights for Girls, The American Bar Association, The National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, The National Organization for Victim Assistance, The National Network to End Domestic Violence, and Ending Child Prostitution and Trafficking.