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H.R. 889 (115th): Human Trafficking Fraud Enforcement Act of 2017

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Feb 6, 2017.

Human Trafficking Fraud Enforcement Act of 2017

This bill directs the Department of the Treasury to establish within the Internal Revenue Service an office to investigate and prosecute violations of tax laws by persons that appear to be violating specified federal laws prohibiting forced labor, trafficking of individuals, and transportation of minors or aliens for immoral purposes or state or territorial laws prohibiting the promotion of prostitution or of any commercial sex act. The office must cooperate with the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section of the Department of Justice and the Innocence Lost National Initiative of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The bill allows victims of human trafficking crimes to claim awards allowed for whistle-blowing.

The bill amends the Internal Revenue Code to: (1) increase civil and criminal penalties for tax evasion attributable to income derived from human trafficking and commercial sex acts, and (2) make it a felony to fail to file a tax return including income derived from human trafficking or commercial sex acts.

The bill appropriates to the Crime Victims Fund additional funds equal to the increase in receipts from increased civil and criminal penalties provided by this bill. The funds are provided for victim assistance grants under the Victims of Crime Act of 1984, including crisis intervention, emergency shelter and transportation, counseling, and criminal justice advocacy to victims of crime.