April 12, 2018

Warren, Rubio Applaud House Passage of Bipartisan Bill to Shut Down Access to the Financial System for Human Traffickers

Washington, DC - United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) today applauded the House passage of the bipartisan End Banking for Human Traffickers Act, which would aid financial institutions in identifying and reporting instances of human trafficking, so that offenders can be prosecuted and victims can be protected. Senators Warren and Rubio originally introduced the companion legislation in the Senate on April 26, 2017.

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.

"We need to use every tool available to fight human trafficking," Senator Warren said. "I am glad the House passed our legislation to help financial institutions and regulators cut off traffickers' access to the banking system and fight perpetrators profiting off the lives of human beings. I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues to pass this bipartisan bill."

"Human trafficking is one of the most urgent human rights issues of our time," said Senator Rubio. "This bill helps provide financial institutions and law enforcement with additional support in their ongoing efforts to help stop human trafficking and hold perpetrators accountable. I am pleased that the House passed it today, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to ensure this bill becomes law."

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 provision will help provide additional support to financial institutions, federal regulators, and law enforcement in their efforts to stop human traffickers in their tracks.

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 VeritéFree the Slaves, and Polaris. 

The House version of the End Banking for Human Traffickers Act was introduced by Congressman Ed Royce (R-Calif.).  Language from the Senate version of the End Banking for Human Traffickers Act was included in the BRINK Act, which was reported by the Senate Banking Committee last November.

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