New Jersey Congressman’s anti-trafficking reauthorization bill takes a step forward
In the months following the introduction of Jersey Shore U.S. Congressman Chris Smith's anti-trafficking reauthorization bill, there continues to be strides made towards preventing this heinous crime and protecting human lives.
This is an issue Congressman Smith, who is the co-chair of the Human Trafficking Caucus, has made a priority during his time in Washington after seeing and hearing just how much trafficking became more and more of an issue, not just guns and drugs but humans.
It led to him introducing a billed in 1997 which was enacted three years later called the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000.
"It is our comprehensive domestic and international anti-human trafficking for sex and labor trafficking," Smith tells Townsquare Media News. "If somebody traffics a child whose 14 or (younger) for sex trafficking, they could go to prison for life. If it's a woman under the age of 18, we're talking 20-years and where there's an element after the age of 18 or forced coercion, it's up to 20-years as well."
It is just one part and one deterrent to curb human trafficking from taking place and punishing those who commit these deplorable, unthinkable crimes.
"Our prosecutors have real tools to go after the pimps and the other nefarious organizations that are out there that are harming so many innocent and vulnerable women and children," Smith said.
He has had five laws overall enacted going after human traffickers with the latest coming in 2021 called the Anti Human Trafficking Reauthorization bill which was named after Frederick Douglass, the abolitionist and anti-slavery advocate, and in crafting the bill and on the day it was publicly introduced at a press event, Kenneth Morris who is Douglass' great-great-great grandson and the great-great grandson of Booker T. Washington.
"He's a great advocate for freedom and human rights and especially anti-trafficking," Smith said.
This latest of the legislation introduced by Smith installs a five-year plan where $1.6-billion would be provided to combat any form of modern day slavery here and abroad.
There was a new development this week to the legislation as Smith spoke with the motels, hotels and restaurants association of New Jersey because there is a part of the bill that helps with training people to know the signs and what to do in recognizing human trafficking.
"We put a provision in about training them -- the concierge, everyone -- so that they're situationally aware and to give them preference in U.S. government bookings whether it be for conferences that HHS might want to run or Homeland Security or just booking a hotel and they get get a check-off that they've done this, so we're encouraging it big time," Smith said. "Teach your people to know what to look for and you will save lives."
Jeffrey Epstein was prosecuted under Smith's Trafficking Victims Protection Act law.