WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) on Thursday joined U.S. Senator Ted Budd (R-N.C.) in introducing legislation that would require abortion providers to actively combat human and sex trafficking.

The Stopping Traffickers and Their Accomplices Act (S.959) would require abortion providers to file a report with the National Human Trafficking Hotline if they have a reasonable suspicion to believe that a woman is a victim of human trafficking.  Abortion providers would also be required to complete annual training to recognize the signs of trafficking and to certify steps taken to assist women who are being trafficked.

“For too long the abortion industry has turned a blind eye to human traffickers who use abortion to cover up and perpetrate their crimes against women and children,” said Hyde-Smith, chair of the Senate Pro-Life Caucus.  “Human trafficking has exploded into a major billion-dollar industry that affects every state in the union.  The Stopping Traffickers and Their Accomplices Act would serve as another tool to fight this scourge.”

“Human trafficking is a horrific crime that must be confronted and eradicated.  Given the nature of how abortion clinics operate, it is necessary to provide needed accountability to ensure they are not aiding and abetting the abuse of women enslaved in the sex trade,” Budd said.

The State Department’s 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report found that sex traffickers coerce women into receiving abortions against their will.  In another study, 71 percent of trafficked women indicated they had at least one pregnancy while they were trafficked.  Almost a third of women trafficked indicated they received multiple abortions, and more than half of the respondents indicated their abortion was the result of coercion.

S.959 would require abortion providers to:

  • Complete training to identify potential victims of sex trafficking.
  • Certify to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Office on Trafficking in Persons, that they have a plan in place to identify and respond to the needs of potential victims of trafficking who come to their facility.
  • Report cases of suspected trafficking to local law enforcement within 24 hours or face criminal prosecution.

It would also:

  • Require HHS to share reported cases of suspected trafficking with the Department of Justice and local law enforcement.
  • Allow State Attorneys General to enforce the bill.

U.S. Senators Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-Kan.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), James Risch (R-Idaho), James Lankford (R-Okla.), and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) also cosponsored the bill.

Concerned Women for America, Students for Life Action, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, and Heritage Action for America also support the measure.

Hyde-Smith, who serves on the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, visited with a sex trafficking victim during a January trip to the Del Rio Border Sector.