Michigan lawmakers in Congress are working on several bills to fight human trafficking.
While they say they’ve made progress — they still have work to do before their legislation turns into action.
On each side of the Capitol…sits a bill.
One, is Republican Congressman Tim Walberg’s. The other, is co-sponsored by Democratic Senator Gary Peters.
Both bills aim to stop human trafficking but neither bill is on its way to the President’s desk.
The House unanimously passed Walberg’s bill last summer but the Senate has not taken it up.
It would train Department of Labor personnel to spot signs of trafficking while they’re out inspecting work sites.
The Senate passed Peters’ bill last fall, but it has not moved forward in the House.
Peters’ bill would give schools grants to make sure school resource officers know what to look for.
6 News Washington bureau reporter Jessica Smith asked Walberg and Peters why neither bill has advanced further — they blame scheduling and the long list of things Congress has on its agenda. But both men are hopeful they’ll see movement soon.
Peters and Walberg insist Congress has made combating trafficking a priority.
Walberg points to the Stop Enabling Online Sex Traffickers Act, that President signed into law earlier this year.
It aims to hold websites accountable for *knowingly* facilitating trafficking.
Peters cites one of the first bills he saw signed into law, back in 2015. It would create a pilot program to train health care professional while they’re in medical or nursing school.
Peters hopes the pilot program will eventually establish a curriculum schools across the country can use. But, the program hasn’t started yet, because it doesn’t have funding.
Peters says he’s looking at every option available to find the money, and put a spotlight on what he says his one of the fastest growing crimes in the country.
“Most people don’t think it happens in their town. They don’t think it happens in their county,” says Sen. Peters.
As he continues to push the Senate to take up his bill, we asked Walberg if Congress is doing enough.
“I think we’re doing plenty right now. Is it enough? Time will tell,” answers Rep Walberg.