U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) renewed their push to crack down on sex trafficking across the country. The Senators reintroduced their bipartisan legislation that would give prosecutors the tools they need to combat domestic minor sex trafficking and help give victims the support they need.
The Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking (SETT) Act is modeled after Minnesota's "Safe Harbor" law that helps make sure minors sold for sex aren't prosecuted as defendants but are instead treated as victims.
"Sex trafficking isn't just happening half a world away, it's happening here right in our own backyards," Klobuchar said. "In Minnesota, we've already recognized that kids sold for sex need to be supported, not locked up in jail. This bipartisan bill will help expand our Safe Harbor model to states all across the country and ensure that victims receive the support they need, and I will continue to work to get this done."
"Part of what makes sex trafficking so insidious is that it holds its victims in plain sight, painting them as willful criminals. Unfortunately these terrible crimes are growing in North Dakota - right in our own communities," said Heitkamp. "Not long ago, human trafficking was barely talked about in North Dakota, but over the past year and a half, we have worked to raise awareness about it, and now many in the state are stepping up to stop these crimes. It's up to Congress to pass legislation to stand up for victims, and I'm hopeful we can pass our strong, bipartisan bill to accomplish those goals because stopping human trafficking is an issue everyone should support. I've met the victims and I know the survivors - and I'll keep fighting to raise up their voices to get them heard - and to get them the support they need in North Dakota and across the nation."
The bill is supported by the National Conference of State Legislatures, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Fraternal Order of Police, Shared Hope International, National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, United Methodist Women.