The House on Tuesday passed legislation to enhance law enforcement efforts against human trafficking.

Approval of the package of eight bills comes a day after the House passed four other measures on the issue. Most of the bills approved over the last two days passed the House in the last Congress but didn't get votes in the Senate.


The Department of Homeland Security estimates approximately 20 million people across the world are victims of human trafficking. And about 17,500 people are trafficked through the U.S. each year, according to a 2013 Congressional Research Service report.

"The sale of children for sex sounds like something that could only happen in faraway places, but tragically it is happening right here in the United States every single day," House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteTop Republican releases full transcript of Bruce Ohr interview It’s time for Congress to pass an anti-cruelty statute DOJ opinion will help protect kids from dangers of online gambling MORE (R-Va.) said.

Senate Majority Whip John CornynJohn Cornyn Embattled senators fill coffers ahead of 2020 Trump struggles to reshape Fed Congress opens door to fraught immigration talks MORE (R-Texas) said Tuesday that he'd urge consideration of the measures, so they can be sent to President Obama.

"I'm going to be asking the majority leader to schedule floor action, so we can have a debate on and a vote on this important legislation," Cornyn said on the Senate floor.

One of the measures passed by voice vote on Tuesday, H.R. 285, would establish penalties for people who knowingly sell advertisements to exploit human trafficking victims.

"Government intervention is necessary to end facilitation of sex trafficking by websites like and other who commercially advertise this criminal activity," said Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.), the bill's sponsor.

Meanwhile, H.R. 159, passed by voice vote, would encourage states to adopt "safe harbor" laws for trafficked children to seek welfare services by giving them preference in applications for Community Oriented Police Services (COPS) grants.

Three of the 12 measures would require training for employees at the State, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services departments. One bill passed by voice vote on Tuesday, H.R. 460, would require the Department of Homeland Security to implement a human trafficking awareness program for agency employees. Agencies eligible for the training program would include the Transportation Security Administration, and Customs and Border Protection.

"It is everywhere. It is a national problem," Rep. Sheila Jackson LeeSheila Jackson LeeGiuliani: Trump lawyers saw Mueller report Tuesday as they prepared rebuttal Dems attack Barr's credibility after report of White House briefings on Mueller findings O'Rourke sweeps through Virginia looking to energize campaign MORE (D-Texas) said of human trafficking. "Our homeland security personnel, thank goodness, will now have the opportunity to have special training that in the capacity of their work. Their eyes and ears will be extra trained to detect those trying to move past the law."

Another bill, H.R. 350, passed by voice vote, would direct the Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Human Trafficking to issue a report on the best strategies to prevent children from becoming human trafficking victims. And H.R. 181, passed by voice vote, would authorize the attorney general to create grants for improving deterrence programs for human trafficking of children.

Members debated two bills Monday afternoon but waited to conduct roll call votes until Tuesday due to inclement weather canceling the previous day's votes. One measure, H.R. 469, passed 410-0, would create additional reporting requirements for state child welfare systems for human trafficking. The other, H.R. 246, passed 411-0, would amend existing law to replace the term "child prostitution" with "child sex trafficking, including child prostitution," in reporting categories for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.