Senate approves Sessions’ anti human trafficking bill, including disputed pro-life language
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate on Wednesday approved the Sessions-Whitehouse Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, authorizing U.S. Marshals to assist other law enforcement agencies in investigating missing children cases if requested as part of a larger anti human trafficking bill.
After four months of Democratic filibustering of larger bill over a provision that would block any of the funds in the program from being used for abortions, the party agreed to stop the hold up in exchange for the promise of a vote on Obama Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch.
“I’m glad the Senate has approved legislation that includes our Marshals Service provision, and I appreciate the chance to work with Sen. Whitehouse on this issue,” Sessions said in a press release Thursday. “The Marshals’ expertise in locating missing persons makes them uniquely qualified to assist other law enforcement agencies in cases involving a missing child. Every minute counts in these cases, and this measure will save lives by ensuring that the Marshals are able to act quickly when their help is requested.”
The provision was previously introduced in 2011, when it was passed by the Senate, but never taken up by the House.
“When a child goes missing, we need to put every resource we have into action,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). “For decades, the U.S. Marshals Service has played a critical role in the recovery of missing children. We must ensure that we can continue to rely on the Marshals’ sophisticated tools and experience when they are needed most. I’m glad we were able to include this provision in the human trafficking bill and hope it will soon be passed by the House and signed into law.”
Attorney General nominee Lynch is expected to receive a confirmation vote Thursday, and the anti human trafficking bill will move to the House where the deal forged in the Senate will have to be held intact before heading to the President’s desk.
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— Elizabeth BeShears (@LizEBeesh) January 21, 2015