WASHINGTON — The U.S. House has passed a bill from Rep. Erik Paulsen meant to target human trafficking.
The bill would provide incentives for states to adopt laws that would expand access to rehabilitation services to underage trafficking victims. Minnesota adopted one of these so-called “safe harbor” laws in 2011. The bill would also bring the U.S. Marshals Service into human trafficking investigations, Paulsen said at a Tuesday press conference.
“These provisions will now give law enforcement more critical tools to combat this horrific crime and also allow the victims to get the services they need,” Paulsen said.
Human trafficking is a growing problem in Minnesota, with the FBI ranking the Twin Cities one of the top 13 cities for trafficking crimes in 2013. Nearly 400 people were convicted of sex trafficking violations in Minnesota in 2011, according to the State Court Administrator’s Office.
Paulsen’s bill — which passed Tuesday by a unanimous voice vote — is a part of a package of bipartisan bills the House is considering this week designed to combat human trafficking (The Hill has more information on some of the other bills here). Many of the bills, including Paulsen’s, passed the House last year but were not taken up by the Senate.
Devin Henry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @dhenry