Government and Politics
December 7, 2022
WASHINGTON – In case you missed it, The 19th reported on U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan’s bipartisan bill to help prevent human trafficking by requiring the posting of the national human trafficking hotline in the restrooms of all U.S. planes, buses, and trains, as well as airports, bus stations, and rail stations.
She introduced the bill alongside Senators James Risch (R-ID), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), and Marco Rubio (R-FL).
Click here to see the article from The 19th, or see below for highlights:
The 19th: Bipartisan bill would require human trafficking hotline to be posted in every U.S. port of entry
Each year, tens of thousands of people text or call 1-888-373-7888, the national human trafficking hotline. Now, lawmakers are pushing to require that number to be posted in every airport, bus station, rail station and all ports of entry in the United States.
Senators introduced on Thursday the Human Trafficking Prevention Act, bipartisan legislation which was shared first with The 19th. The bill would direct the Departments of Transportation and Homeland Security to ensure the hotline is also visible in every individual plane, bus and train restroom. The companion bill, introduced by Reps. Hakeem Jeffries, a Democrat, and Darrell Issa, a Republican, passed in the House in July.
Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, one of the bill’s primary sponsors, said transportation hubs are a “common-sense place to intercede” by letting victims and bystanders know who to call for help.
“Our bill is an important effort to address one of the greatest evils in our society,” Hassan said in a statement. “And I will continue working with my colleagues across the aisle to stamp out human trafficking, hold perpetrators accountable and save victims.”
Despite the large number of phone calls, texts, emails and online tips to the hotline — which is operated by the Polaris Project, an advocacy group, and available at humantraffickinghotline.org — only a fraction of incidents end in a prosecution. In 2020 alone, the hotline received more than 51,000 “substantive” tip reports, according to the group’s latest national hotline data. Yet, that same year, only 2,198 people were referred to U.S. attorneys for human trafficking offenses and about half of those were charged, according to data from the Department of Justice.
Anne Douds, the chair of public policy at Gettysburg College, said it was exciting to see Congress consider an “evidence-based approach” that also promotes community-based research. The bill also develops resources for local-level data collection, which Douds said will help law enforcement better understand who is trafficked and how they’re trafficked so they can disrupt those chains.