William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 Passes House and Senate, But Offers Less Protection To Victims Compared with the 2007 House Version.

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And the impetus for watering down the bill was of course Joe Biden, in collusion with Sam Brownback. The text of the 2008 version of the bill can be found here. The major changes in the 2008 version were in Title II, and appropriations for enforcement were reduced in Title III. House sponsor Howard Berman reported the changes as follows:

PROVISIONS FROM H.R. 3887 NOT INCLUDED IN BILL

Several provisions from H.R. 3887 do not appear in this version of the legislation. For example, the original House bill attempted to streamline the investigation and prosecution of certain sex trafficking and related offenses by amending the Mann Act, 18 U.S.C. §2421, et seq. The Wilberforce Act reflects a different consensus, and achieves these ends through modifications to the Slavery/Trafficking Chapter of Title 18 discussed above.

Specific language regarding the surveys required by section 232 of H.R. 3887 is not included in the bill. However, the provisions of paragraph (B)(i) and (ii) of section 201(a)(1) of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005 (42 U.S.C. 14044(a)) still require that the surveys contained in that provision be completed, and section 237(d) requires the Department of Justice to provide the relevant committees a report on the status of those surveys, including the projected date when such surveys will be completed. Also, section 234 of H.R. 3887 proposed a reorganization of functions within the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice should review the relationship between the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section of the Criminal Division and promote

Because efforts in the closely-related area of prostitution enforcement are important to prevent situations from ripening into servitude, the reporting requirements of Section 237 are intended to gain a better understanding of the Criminal Division and United States Attorneys Offices’ activities to enforce the Mann Act or those local prostitution offenses that United States Attorneys may have jurisdiction over through operation of the District of Columbia Criminal Code or the Travel Act 18 U.S.C.

Title III

Title III authorizes funds for programs, projects and activities related to human trafficking. In order to promote broad support for the bill, some of the authorization for program funding was reduced to levels closer to previously appropriated levels, and therefore represents a more realistic target for future spending. Any reductions in authorizations are not intended to indicate a decrease in the importance of any programs, but indeed are intended to encourage appropriations at those new levels. …

Berman’s description of the altered approach to prosecuting pimps that was negotiated with the Senate is reproduced in part after the jump.

Chair: (1) ENTICEMENT INTO SLAVERY.–Section 1583 of title 18, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:” §1583. Enticement into slavery

Chair: “(a) Whoever–

Chair: “(1) kidnaps or carries away any other person, with the intent that such other person be sold into involuntary servitude, or held as a slave;

“(2) entices, persuades, or induces any other person to go on board any vessel or to any other place with the intent that he or she may be made or held as a slave, or sent out of the country to be so made or held; or

“(3) obstructs, or attempts to obstruct, or in any way interferes with or prevents the enforcement of this section,

shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.

“(b) Whoever violates this section shall be fined under this title, imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both if–

“(1) the violation results in the death of the victim; or

“(2) the violation includes kidnaping, an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse, an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill.”.

(2) SALE INTO INVOLUNTARY SERVITUDE.–Section 1584 of such title is amended–

(A) by striking “Whoever” and inserting the following:

“(a) Whoever”; and

(B) by adding at the end the following:

“(b) Whoever obstructs, attempts to obstruct, or in any way interferes with or prevents the enforcement of this section, shall be subject to the penalties described in subsection (a).”.

(3) PUNISHING FINANCIAL GAIN FROM TRAFFICKED LABOR.–Section 1589 of such title is amended to read as follows:

“SEC. 1589. FORCED LABOR.

“(a) Whoever knowingly provides or obtains the labor or services of a person by any one of, or by any combination of, the following means–

“(1) by means of force, threats of force, physical restraint, or threats of physical restraint to that person or another person;

“(2) by means of serious harm or threats of serious harm to that person or another person;

“(3) by means of the abuse or threatened abuse of law or legal process; or

Chair: “(4) by means of any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause the person to believe that, if that person did not perform such labor or services, that person or another person would suffer serious harm or physical restraint,

shall be punished as provided under subsection (d).

“(b) Whoever knowingly benefits, financially or by receiving anything of value, from participation in a venture which has engaged in the providing or obtaining of labor or services by any of the means described in subsection (a), knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that the venture has engaged in the providing or obtaining of labor or services by any of such means, shall be punished as provided in subsection (d).

“(c) In this section:

“(1) The term `abuse or threatened abuse of law or legal process’ means the use or threatened use of a law or legal process, whether administrative, civil, or criminal, in any manner or for any purpose for which the law was not designed, in order to exert pressure on another person to cause that person to take some action or refrain from taking some action.

“(2) The term `serious harm’ means any harm, whether physical or nonphysical, including psychological, financial, or reputational harm, that is sufficiently serious, under all the surrounding circumstances, to compel a reasonable person of the same background and in the same circumstances to perform or to continue performing labor or services in order to avoid incurring that harm.

“(d) Whoever violates this section shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both. If death results from a violation of this section, or if the violation includes kidnapping, an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, the defendant shall be fined under this title, imprisoned for any term of years or life, or both.”.

(4) TRAFFICKING.–Section 1590 of such title is amended–

(A) by striking “Whoever” and inserting the following:

“(a) Whoever”; and

(B) by adding at the end the following:

“(b) Whoever obstructs, attempts to obstruct, or in any way interferes with or prevents the enforcement of this section, shall be subject to the penalties under subsection (a).”.

(5) SEX TRAFFICKING OF CHILDREN.–Section 1591 of such title is amended–

(A) in subsection (a)–

(i) in paragraph (1), by striking “or obtains” and inserting “obtains, or maintains”; and

(ii) in the matter following paragraph (2), by striking “that force, fraud, or coercion described in subsection (c)(2)” and inserting “, or in reckless disregard of the fact, that means of force, threats of force, fraud, coercion described in subsection (e)(2), or any combination of such means”;

(B) by redesignating subsection (c) as subsection (e);

(C) in subsection (b)(1), by striking “force, fraud, or coercion” and inserting “means of force, threats of force, fraud, or coercion described in subsection (e)(2), or by any combination of such means,”;

(D) by inserting after subsection (b) the following:

“(c) In a prosecution under subsection (a)(1) in which the defendant had a reasonable opportunity to observe the person so recruited, enticed, harbored, transported, provided, obtained or maintained, the Government need not prove that the defendant knew that the person had not attained the age of 18 years.

“(d) Whoever obstructs, attempts to obstruct, or in any way interferes with or prevents the enforcement of this section, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned for a term not to exceed 20 years, or both.”;

(E) in subsection (e), as redesignated–

(i) by redesignating paragraph (3) as paragraph (5);

(ii) by redesignating paragraph (1) as paragraph (3);

(iii) by inserting before paragraph (2) the following:

“(1) The term `abuse or threatened abuse of law or legal process’ means the use or threatened use of a law or legal process, whether administrative, civil, or criminal, in any manner or for any purpose for which the law was not designed, in order to exert pressure on another person to cause that person to take some action or refrain from taking some action.”; and

(iv) by inserting after paragraph (3), as redesignated, the following:

“(4) The term `serious harm’ means any harm, whether physical or nonphysical, including psychological, financial, or reputational harm, that is sufficiently serious, under all the surrounding circumstances, to compel a reasonable person of the same background and in the same circumstances to perform or to continue performing commercial sexual activity in order to avoid incurring that harm.”.

(6) UNLAWFUL CONDUCT.–Section 1592 of such title is amended by adding at the end the following:

“(c) Whoever obstructs, attempts to obstruct, or in any way interferes with or prevents the enforcement of this section, shall be subject to the penalties described in subsection (a).”.

(c) Holding Conspirators Accountable.–Section 1594 of title 18, United States Code, is amended–

(1) by redesignating subsections (b), (c), and (d) as subsections (d), (e), and (f), respectively; and

(2) by inserting after subsection (a) the following:

“(b) Whoever conspires with another to violate section 1581, 1583, 1589, 1590, or 1592 shall be punished in the same manner as a completed violation of such section.

“(c) Whoever conspires with another to violate section 1591 shall be fined under this title, imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both.”.

(d) Benefitting Financially From Peonage, Slavery, and Trafficking in Persons.–Chair: (1) IN GENERAL.–Chapter 77 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by inserting after section 1593 the following:” §1593A. Benefitting financially from peonage, slavery, and trafficking in persons

Chair: “Whoever knowingly benefits, financially or by receiving anything of value, from participation in a venture which has engaged in any act in violation of section 1581(a), 1592, or 1595(a), knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that the venture has engaged in such violation, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned in the same manner as a completed violation of such section.”.

Chair: (2) CLERICAL AMENDMENT.–The table of sections at the beginning of such chapter is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 1593 the following:

Chair: “Sec..1593A..Benefitting financially from peonage, slavery, and trafficking in persons.”.

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