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Rubio, Warren Introduce Bill to End Banking for Human Traffickers

Apr 26, 2017 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) today introduced the End Banking for Human Traffickers Act, legislation that would aid financial institutions in identifying and reporting instances of human trafficking so that offenders can be prosecuted and victims can be protected.

“Human trafficking is a human rights violation that can happen in our own backyards without us even knowing it,” said Rubio. “That’s why we must encourage the development and implementation of effective tools to detect and stop criminals from profiting from this heinous crime. This bipartisan legislation would help provide financial institutions and law enforcement with additional support in their ongoing efforts to help stop human trafficking and hold perpetrators accountable.”

“We have an obligation to end human trafficking to ensure that every person can live with freedom and dignity,” said Warren. “To stop this terrible crime, we need to cut off traffickers’ access to the banking system, and this bipartisan bill will give financial institutions and regulators better tools to do so.”

Human trafficking is pervasive, and profitable for perpetrators of this crime, who earn $99 billion each year in profit from the sexual exploitation of victims around the world. Preventing traffickers from accessing the banking system, which they use to finance their illegal operations, is critical to stopping human trafficking. The End Banking for Human Traffickers Act will help provide additional support to financial institutions, federal regulators, and law enforcement in their efforts to stop human traffickers in their tracks.

The End Banking for Human Traffickers Act would direct federal banking regulators to work with law enforcement and financial institutions to combat the use of the financial system for human trafficking, add financial intelligence and regulatory officers to the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (PITF) to increase collaboration between law enforcement and experts in financial crimes, and require the PITF to review existing anti-money laundering programs and, if necessary, develop recommendations for Congress and regulators that would strengthen such programs to better target human trafficking. The PITF will draw on the expertise of the public, private, and non-profit sectors, identifying successful anti-trafficking programs and proposing new measures that will ensure our banking system is not used to facilitate this terrible crime.

The legislation is supported by Human Rights First and The Alliance to End Slavery & Trafficking (ATEST), an advocacy coalition including Verité, Free the Slaves, and Polaris.