Blumenthal proposes bill to fight ‘modern-day slavery’

Hearst Washington Bureau

Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal is leading a bipartisan effort to fight what he calls “modern day slavery.”

Blumenthal has joined co-sponsors Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, and Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., in introducing the Human Trafficking Reporting Act on Thursday.

The bill calls for human traffickers to be labeled under the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s “Part I violent crimes.” The label would make human trafficking a major crime under the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports. Murder, non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault are other crimes with a Part I designation.

Designating the crime as a Part I violent crime would also better equip law enforcement agencies to train officials to prevent human trafficking by opening up more grant funding opportunities.

Blumenthal has co-sponsored pieces legislation to fight human trafficking and violence against women in the past, and co-chairs the Senate Caucus to End Human Trafficking.

“Human trafficking is a heinous crime which egregiously exploits women and children and forces them into modern day slavery,” he said in a statement. “Trafficking deprives people of their liberty and freedom through indentured servitude and forced labor.”

Of the human trafficking cases opened by the U.S. Department of Justice between 2008 and 2010, 83 percent of them were U.S. citizens. In 2011, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline received 90 calls from Connecticut in relation to human trafficking.

“We must work together, at every level of government, to equip law enforcement with the tools they need to crack down on human traffickers,” said Cornyn.

Richard Dunham