WASHINGTON — The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Thursday approved two human trafficking bills related to commercial vehicles.
H.R. 3814, the “No Human Trafficking on Our Roads Act,” is sponsored by Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., and H.R. 3813, the “Combatting Human Trafficking in Commercial Vehicles Act” is sponsored by Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-Conn.
H.R. 3814 directs the Department of Transportation to disqualify from operating a commercial motor vehicle for life an individual who uses such a vehicle in committing a felony involving a severe form of human trafficking.
“As a former organized crime prosecutor on both the northern border at home in New York and on the southern border in El Paso, Texas, I’ve seen firsthand the horrors of human trafficking,” Katko said. “Too often, human traffickers take advantage of our nation’s transportation network to transport their victims from one location to the next, and the U.S. Department of Transportation and the transportation industry play a critical role in preventing and stopping these heinous exploitations. I’m grateful for (committee) Chairman (Bill) Shuster’s commitment to ending the crime of human trafficking. I’m proud to work with him and members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to pass two bipartisan pieces of legislation that I’ve authored with Rep. Esty to help make our transportation systems safer.”
H.R. 3813 directs the Secretary of Transportation to designate a human trafficking prevention coordinator, expands the scope of activities authorized under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's outreach and education program and commercial driver’s license financial assistance program to include human trafficking prevention activities, and establishes a human trafficking advisory committee.
“Human trafficking is an appalling and inhumane crime – and it’s happening throughout Connecticut and all over the country,” Esty said. “As I sadly learned firsthand when a human trafficking ring was broken up in my hometown of Cheshire, anyone can become a victim of this crime, regardless of race, age, gender, or socioeconomic status. It’s even worse that the majority of human trafficking incidents exploit young girls sexually: the average age a teen enters the sex trade in the United States is between the ages of 12 and 14. We need to put a stop to this inhumane activity now, which is why I’m proud to have introduced the Combating Human Trafficking in Commercial Vehicles Act.”
“The human trafficking bills will help stem the growth of this terrible crime. I look forward to quick consideration of these bills by the House,” Shuster said.