March 11, 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), today introduced amendment #276 to the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (S.178) that is currently being considered in the Senate. The amendment would amend the William Wilberforce Trafficking Act of 2008 to allow for the prompt removal of unaccompanied alien children (UAC) from non-contiguous countries, processing them the same as children from Mexico and Canada in cases where they have not been victims of human trafficking.
“Last summer as waves of children crossed our southern border, the Administration claimed that The William Wilberforce Trafficking Act of 2008 created a loophole that allows unaccompanied alien children to remain in the United States pending a judicial review of their case – a process that can take years,” Inhofe said. “While their cases wind their way through the immigration courts, these children often disappear and rarely return for their court hearings. My amendment would remove any excuse from the Obama Administration that is preventing the government from sending UACs back to their home countries when it is clear the children are not victims of human trafficking. It would also send a strong and necessary signal to the international community that dangerous and illegal human smuggling will not be enabled by or tolerated in the United States. This amendment would ensure that any UAC is treated equally as those from Mexico and Canada by requiring the child to be sent back without delay to his or her country of origin.”
S.178, authored by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), would create a fund to support victims of human trafficking paid for by a $5,000 fine charged to those who are convicted of sex offenses, human smuggling or human trafficking. The legislation would also strengthen law enforcement tools to prosecute human trafficking offenders and would recognize child pornography production as a form of human trafficking.
According to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement the term "human trafficking" centers on the exploitation of a person. This specifically includes trafficking for the intentions of the individual being forced or coerced into an act of commercial sex or is recruited or transported illegally across the U.S. border for the purpose of work services. The term “human smuggling" centers on the unlawful transportation of people into the United States.