On April 10th, the U.S. House of Representatives passed bill 408-2 in an effort to combat two related causes; money laundering and human trafficking. The bill now relies on the Senate’s approval and, if passed, will require that the presidential task force make recommendations to Congress as to how they can prevent money laundering by human traffickers. The State Department will also be required to factor money laundering into human trafficking when compiling their annual reports. The exact number of human trafficking cases that occur is difficult to estimate, but recent reports put the total at tens of millions of victims globally. Human trafficking typically includes sexual exploitation, prostitution, military service, labor and even in some instances organ donation.
The House has also passed a separate bill 409-2 that will impose stricter consequences, such as an additional 5 years added to the maximum federal prison sentence, on predators that are convicted of stalking children under the age of 18, including online stalking. According to victims’ advocates, 7.5 million people are stalked each year in the U.S alone, and 1 in 4 of those reported were being stalked online.
In addition, President Trump is expected to sign legislation that will make it easier for victims of sex trafficking, and prosecutors to take legal action against websites that allow advertisements for prostitutes, which is one of the ways that can lead to minors being sexually exploited. Up until now, only those directly involved in the crime of sex trafficking were able to be convicted, however with the passing of the new legislations, the laws are broadened to include sites such as Backpage.com which was recently taken down by federal authorities due to its advertisements for sexual services.
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