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Warner, Klobuchar Announce Key Provisions to Help Prevent Human Trafficking Pass Senate Commerce Committee

Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2016, which contains provisions similar to the Stop Trafficking On Planes (STOP) Act, passed the Senate Commerce Committee this week and will now head to the full Senate for a vote

Mar 17 2016

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and today announced that provisions to help prevent human trafficking passed the Senate Commerce Committee this week. The Stop Trafficking On Planes (STOP) Act which was introduced by Klobuchar and Warner earlier this month would require training for certain airline industry employees to recognize and report suspected human trafficking to law enforcement. The legislation builds on the voluntary Blue Lightning Initiative currently administered by the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Transportation. The Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2016, which includes a provision similar to the STOP Act, passed the Commerce Committee this week and will now head to the full Senate for a vote. The STOP ACT has been endorsed by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, and by the anti-trafficking organizations Polaris and ECPAT-USA, and a companion version of the bill has been introduced in the House by Representatives Dina Titus (D-NV) and Barbara Comstock (R-VA).

“As the Senate works to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration, I’m glad that my colleagues on the Commerce Committee agree about the need to do more to prevent human trafficking,” Warner said. “We can and should equip airline personnel to detect and report human trafficking, in order to help save victims and bring perpetrators to justice.” 

"Flight attendants are on the front lines in the battle against trafficking. They want to help, and we need to arm them with the tools they need to identify and report these heinous crimes," Klobuchar said. "This action in the Commerce Committee brings us one step closer to stepping up efforts to stop trafficking wherever it exists - on land, at sea, and in the sky.

Klobuchar is a national leader in the fight to combat human trafficking. Her bipartisan legislation, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, was signed into law last May. The legislation was modeled after Minnesota’s “Safe Harbor” law, which gives incentives for all states to have a safe harbor provision to help ensure minors who are sold for sex aren’t prosecuted as defendants, but are instead treated as victims. When a state passes a safe harbor law, it means that kids sold for sex should be steered towards child protection services, rather than being arrested, charged, or convicted under a state’s criminal laws. In addition to law enforcement provisions, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act helps victims rebuild their lives by using fines and penalties against perpetrators to improve the availability of victim services.

In 2002, then-Gov. Warner announced creation of a statewide Virginia AMBER Alert program to help law enforcement protect and recover missing and exploited children. In 2003, Gov. Warner authorized a federal, state, and local anti-gang strike force, and funded additional state and local prosecutors, as part of a coordinated law enforcement effort to combat a rise in gang-related crimes, including trafficking.