Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, Representing California’s 46th Congressional District
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 13, 2016
MEDIA CONTACT: Emily Morris, 202-225-2965, Emily.Morris@mail.house.gov
REPS. LORETTA SANCHEZ & MARTHA MCSALLY INTRODUCE DHS HUMAN TRAFFICKING PREVENTION ACT OF 2016
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Loretta Sanchez (CA-46) and Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ), members of the Homeland Security Committee, introduced bipartisan legislation to prevent and combat the crisis of human trafficking into the United States. H.R. 4383, the “DHS Human Trafficking Prevention Act of 2016”, takes action to address serious gaps in information gathering and sharing processes at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), highlighted in a recent Office of Inspector General (OIG) Report. The report found that known traffickers have exploited American visa programs to bring victims into the U.S.
“Human trafficking is a pervasive human rights crisis and atrocious crime that is often committed right under our noses. Up to 17,500 people are trafficked into the U.S. each year,” said Rep. Sanchez, a member of the Congressional Caucus on Human Trafficking. “Far too many victims are slipping through the cracks and this bill will renew our commitment to combat human trafficking.”
Rep. Sanchez stated, “It is our responsibility as members of Congress to do whatever it takes to stop the illegal and immoral smuggling of innocent people and children, into the U.S. We must take the necessary steps to end this scourge of modern day slavery.”
Rep. McSally said, “Reports that criminals are taking advantage of our own programs to traffic and exploit their victims are sickening. These are not simply oversights. These are failures of the highest degree that resulted in innocent people being forced into sexual and other forms of slavery.” Rep. McSally continued, “Our agencies have to do better to close these gaps, and this bill will require DHS step up its game and improve the way it acquires and shares information to stop traffickers looking to exploit our systems.”
The “DHS Human Trafficking Prevention Act of 2016” would close these loopholes by requiring DHS to issue Department-wide guidance for identifying and recording the names and other information of known or convicted traffickers as well as implementing practices for enhanced collaboration and sharing of this information. The bill also requires that information technology systems used to record and track information on traffickers are integrated. Lastly, the bill directs the Inspector General to review changes in DHS’s processes within 18 months of enactment.
In 2014, Rep. Sanchez was the lead Democrat introducing H.R. 5116, the Human Trafficking Detection Act, which would give DHS officials the training they need to identify potential victims of human trafficking and report these cases to local law enforcement officials.
Rep. Sanchez has also secured funding for the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force and Community Service Programs to combat human trafficking in her district. She has toured critical trafficking hubs across Asia and has seen firsthand the plight of human trafficking victims sold into domestic servitude, forced labor, and prostitution.
Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez is proud to represent California’s 46th Congressional District, which includes the cities of Anaheim, Santa Ana, and parts of the cities of Garden Grove and Orange in Orange County. She serves as Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces and as the second ranked Democrat on the Committee on Homeland Security.