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S. 2991 (117th): Countering Human Trafficking Act of 2021


The text of the bill below is as of Dec 16, 2022 (Passed Congress).


One Hundred Seventeenth Congress of the United States of America

2d Session

S. 2991

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

AN ACT

To establish a Department of Homeland Security Center for Countering Human Trafficking, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Countering Human Trafficking Act of 2021.

2.

Sense of Congress

It is the sense of Congress that—

(1)

the victim-centered approach must become universally understood, adopted, and practiced;

(2)

criminal justice efforts must increase the focus on, and adeptness at, investigating and prosecuting forced labor cases;

(3)

corporations must eradicate forced labor from their supply chains;

(4)

the Department of Homeland Security must lead by example—

(A)

by ensuring that its government supply chain of contracts and procurement are not tainted by forced labor; and

(B)

by leveraging all of its authorities against the importation of goods produced with forced labor; and

(5)

human trafficking training, awareness, identification, and screening efforts—

(A)

are a necessary first step for prevention, protection, and enforcement; and

(B)

should be evidence-based to be most effective.

3.

Department of Homeland Security Center for Countering Human Trafficking

(a)

Establishment

(1)

In general

The Secretary of Homeland Security shall operate, within U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Center for Countering Human Trafficking (referred to in this Act as CCHT).

(2)

Purpose

The purpose of CCHT shall be to serve at the forefront of the Department of Homeland Security’s unified global efforts to counter human trafficking through law enforcement operations and victim protection, prevention, and awareness programs.

(3)

Administration

Homeland Security Investigations shall—

(A)

maintain a concept of operations that identifies CCHT participants, funding, core functions, and personnel; and

(B)

update such concept of operations, as needed, to accommodate its mission and the threats to such mission.

(4)

Personnel

(A)

Director

The Secretary of Homeland Security shall appoint a CCHT Director, who shall—

(i)

be a member of the Senior Executive Service; and

(ii)

serve as the Department of Homeland Security’s representative on human trafficking.

(B)

Minimum core personnel requirements

Subject to appropriations, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall ensure that CCHT is staffed with at least 45 employees in order to maintain continuity of effort, subject matter expertise, and necessary support to the Department of Homeland Security, including—

(i)

employees who are responsible for the Continued Presence Program and other victim protection duties;

(ii)

employees who are responsible for training, including curriculum development, and public awareness and education;

(iii)

employees who are responsible for stakeholder engagement, Federal interagency coordination, multilateral partnerships, and policy;

(iv)

employees who are responsible for public relations, human resources, evaluation, data analysis and reporting, and information technology;

(v)

special agents and criminal analysts necessary to accomplish its mission of combating human trafficking and the importation of goods produced with forced labor; and

(vi)

managers.

(b)

Operations unit

The CCHT Director shall operate, within CCHT, an Operations Unit, which shall, at a minimum—

(1)

support criminal investigations of human trafficking (including sex trafficking and forced labor)—

(A)

by developing, tracking, and coordinating leads; and

(B)

by providing subject matter expertise;

(2)

augment the enforcement of the prohibition on the importation of goods produced with forced labor through civil and criminal authorities;

(3)

coordinate a Department-wide effort to conduct procurement audits and enforcement actions, including suspension and debarment, in order to mitigate the risk of human trafficking throughout Department acquisitions and contracts; and

(4)

support all CCHT enforcement efforts with intelligence by conducting lead development, lead validation, case support, strategic analysis, and data analytics.

(c)

Protection and Awareness Programs Unit

The CCHT Director shall operate, within CCHT, a Protection and Awareness Programs Unit, which shall—

(1)

incorporate a victim-centered approach throughout Department of Homeland Security policies, training, and practices;

(2)

operate a comprehensive Continued Presence program;

(3)

conduct, review, and assist with Department of Homeland Security human trafficking training, screening, and identification tools and efforts;

(4)

operate the Blue Campaign’s nationwide public awareness effort and any other awareness efforts needed to encourage victim identification and reporting to law enforcement and to prevent human trafficking; and

(5)

coordinate external engagement, including training and events, regarding human trafficking with critical partners, including survivors, nongovernmental organizations, corporations, multilateral entities, law enforcement agencies, and other interested parties.

4.

Specialized initiatives

(a)

Human trafficking information modernization initiative

The CCHT Director, in conjunction with the Science and Technology Directorate Office of Science and Engineering, shall develop a strategy and proposal to modify systems and processes throughout the Department of Homeland Security that are related to CCHT’s mission in order to—

(1)

decrease the response time to access victim protections;

(2)

accelerate lead development;

(3)

advance the identification of human trafficking characteristics and trends;

(4)

fortify the security and protection of sensitive information;

(5)

apply analytics to automate manual processes; and

(6)

provide artificial intelligence and machine learning to increase system capabilities and enhance data availability, reliability, comparability, and verifiability.

(b)

Submission of plan

Upon the completion of the strategy and proposal under subsection (a), the Secretary of Homeland Security shall submit a summary of the strategy and plan for executing the strategy to—

(1)

the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate; and

(2)

the Committee on Homeland Security of the House of Representatives.

5.

Reports

(a)

Information sharing to facilitate reports and analysis

Each subagency of the Department of Homeland Security shall share with CCHT—

(1)

any information needed by CCHT to develop the strategy and proposal required under section 4(a); and

(2)

any additional data analysis to help CCHT better understand the issues surrounding human trafficking.

(b)

Report to Congress

Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the CCHT Director shall submit a report to Congress that identifies any legislation that is needed to facilitate the Department of Homeland Security’s mission to end human trafficking.

(c)

Annual report on potential human trafficking victims

Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, and annually thereafter, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall submit a report to Congress that includes—

(1)

the numbers of screened and identified potential victims of trafficking (as defined in section 103(17) of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 7102(17))) at or near the international border between the United States and Mexico, including a summary of the age ranges of such victims and their countries of origin; and

(2)

an update on the Department of Homeland Security’s efforts to establish protocols and methods for personnel to report human trafficking, pursuant to the Department of Homeland Security Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking, the Importation of Goods Produced with Forced Labor, and Child Sexual Exploitation, published in January 2020.

6.

Transfer of other functions related to human trafficking

(a)

Blue Campaign

The functions and resources of the Blue Campaign located within the Office of Partnership and Engagement on the day before the date of the enactment of this Act are hereby transferred to CCHT.

(b)

Other transfer

(1)

Authorization

Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security may transfer the functions and resources of any component, directorate, or other office of the Department of Homeland Security related to combating human trafficking to the CCHT.

(2)

Notification

Not later than 30 days before executing any transfer authorized under paragraph (1), the Secretary of Homeland Security shall notify the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate and the Committee on Homeland Security of the House of Representatives of such planned transfer.

7.

Authorization of appropriations

In addition to amounts otherwise authorized to be appropriated, there is authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary of Homeland Security to carry out this Act $14,000,000, which shall remain available until expended.

Speaker of the House of Representatives

Vice President of the United States and President of the Senate