Steil-led bill would expose financing of human trafficking in foreign countries

U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil (R-WI) on April 30 sponsored a bipartisan bill to ensure that foreign countries that may be financially involved in human trafficking are investigated. 

“Human trafficking is a horrendous crime that presents a real threat to people all over the world. This heinous crime is happening right here in Wisconsin, and we cannot turn a blind eye,” Rep. Steil said. “My bill takes an important step to combat this crisis by ensuring our international partners do their part in our global fight against human trafficking.”  

Specifically, the Exposing the Financing of Human Trafficking Act, H.R. 8185, which is cosponsored by U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-PA), would hold foreign countries accountable for their efforts to investigate, prevent, and prosecute financial criminal activities associated with human trafficking, according to a bill summary provided by Rep. Steil’s staff.  

The U.S. currently uses the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report issued by the U.S. State Department to engage foreign governments to combat human trafficking. The TIP report places countries into one of three tiers based on the extent of their government’s efforts to comply with the “minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking,” and then each country’s tier designation is used to condition aid, the summary says.  

While the TIP report looks at several criteria, it currently doesn’t cover efforts to disrupt illicit finance. If enacted, H.R. 8185 would require the existing TIP Report to evaluate such efforts, states the summary.

“Human trafficking is an evil that, unfortunately, exists everywhere,” said Rep. Dean. “I’m grateful to Congressman Steil for his partnership on this bipartisan legislation and look forward to getting this crucial bill passed.”