President Signs the Abolish Human Trafficking Act of 2017 (S. 1311)

On December 21, 2018, the President signed into law the Abolish Human Trafficking Act of 2017. This law strengthens and reauthorizes key programs supporting survivors of human trafficking and provides resources to law enforcement officials working to combat modern-day slavery.

This legislation includes the following authorizations related to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS):

  • Section 2
    • Expresses the sense of Congress that the Domestic Trafficking Victims’ Fund is intended to supplement, not supplant, any other funding for domestic trafficking victims
    • Reauthorizes use of the Domestic Trafficking Victims’ Fund through 2023
    • Reauthorizes the collection of funds from individuals or entities convicted of certain crimes for the Domestic Trafficking Victims’ Fund through September 30, 2021
  • Section 18
    • Requirement for the Interagency Taskforce to Monitor and Combat Trafficking to report annually on case referrals received by Federal departments from the National Human Trafficking Hotline (HHS is a member of the Task Force)
    • Requires the National Human Trafficking Hotline number to be posted in a visible place in all Federal buildings
  • Section 20
    • Directs the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to jointly conduct a study on the short and long term physical and psychological effects of human trafficking
  • Section 22
    • States that all grants authorized and awarded under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act are subject to accountability provisions such as audits
    • Limits expenditures by grant recipients on conference funds (used for hosting or attending conferences) to $20,000 annually unless the grant recipient has prior written authorization by the grant making entity
      • Requires the Departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, and Homeland Security to report annually on all conference expenditures approved in excess of $20,000 to the appropriate committees of Congress
    • Requires covered officials (agency heads) to submit an annual certification to the Appropriations committees indicating whether they have complied with all provisions of this section

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