April 26, 2017

Warren and Rubio Introduce Bill to Shut Down Access to the Financial System for Human Traffickers

Fact Sheet (PDF)

Bill Text (PDF)

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) today introduced legislation to aid financial institutions in identifying and reporting instances of human trafficking, so that offenders can be prosecuted and victims can be protected.

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. The bill would further increase collaboration between law enforcement and experts in financial crimes by adding financial intelligence and regulatory officers to the President's Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, and require the Task Force to develop recommendations for Congress and regulators that would strengthen anti-money laundering programs to better target human trafficking.

Human trafficking is pervasive, and profitable for perpetrators of this crime, who earn more than $150 billion each year in illegal profits from the exploitation of forced labor 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.

"Human trafficking is an ugly stain on humanity, and we need to use every possible tool to stop it," Senator Warren said. "This bill will give financial institutions and regulators additional weapons to fight this terrible crime by helping them cut off traffickers' access to the banking system."

"Human trafficking is a human rights violation that can happen in our own backyards without us even knowing it," Senator Rubio said. "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."

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

The bill text is available here. A fact sheet about the bill is available here.