Among other items, the bill increases penalties on perpetrators of human trafficking, increases compensation for victims of human trafficking, and allows the Department of Justice to provide grants to develop or expand programs to deter human trafficking.
The bill was introduced on January 13 of this year and currently has 32 co-sponsors including 12 Democrats, including Michigan’s Gary Peters who signed on as a co-sponsor on March 4. This was truly a bi-partisan bill as numerous Democratic senators voiced their support for the bill on the Senate floor on March 4 and the bill was voted out of committee unanimously.
Earlier this week and nearly two months after the bill was introduced, the Democrats noticed the bill includes a provision (similar to the long-standing Hyde Amendment) which says the funding in the bill cannot be used to pay for abortions.
That’s when Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and his colleagues first threatened and then promised to prevent a vote on the legislation unless it allowed funds to be used to pay for abortions.
The events presented a difficult challenge for Democrats, forcing them to decide if their support for abortion rights justified blocking passage of a sex trafficking measure designed to help children and women. They privately conceded they lacked the votes to strip out the abortion portion of the bill they oppose, although they expressed confidence they had enough support to prevent passage of the entire measure.
At the same time, they were forced to consider whether their aides had failed to read the bill closely enough to discover the provision when the bill was made public in January, or when it was approved unanimously in the Senate Judiciary Committee late last month.
Please contact Michigan’s two U.S. Senators (Senator Debbie Stabenow and Senator Gary Peters) and urge them to allow a vote on the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act. Victims of human trafficking need help and support, not abortions.
CONTACT INFORMATION FOR MICHIGAN'S U.S. SENATORS
NATIONAL RIGHT TO LIFE’S LETTER TO SENATORS