EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20503
STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY
(THIS STATEMENT HAS BEEN COORDINATED BY OMB WITH THE CONCERNED AGENCIES.)
May 9, 2000
H.R. 3244 - Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000
(Smith (R) NJ and 24 cosponsors)
The Administration strongly supports enacting anti-trafficking legislation that will strengthen and institutionalize advances made, as well as provide new and necessary tools, in the fight against trafficking in persons and the protection of trafficking victims. While the Administration supports the overall purpose and many of the provisions of H.R. 3244, we have concerns with a number of provisions of the bill and will continue to work with Congress as the bill moves through the legislative process to address these concerns.
The Administration strongly opposes the bill's broad sanctions provisions, which we believe will have a debilitating effect on the fight against trafficking. These provisions could require the United States to impose sanctions on governments that are working with the United States in good faith in nascent and fragile efforts to combat trafficking. The bill's sanctions would: (1) be counterproductive to cooperative multilateral efforts needed to track down and punish traffickers, such as the proposed UN protocol on trafficking; (2) punish minor governmental violators as harshly as major governmental violators; (3) undermine the crucial efforts of non-governmental organizations in other countries working to help victims; (4) cut off U.S. foreign assistance designed to fight trafficking in persons, including law enforcement training and related support; and (5) discourage governments, many of whom have begun to address the problem but lack the resources to do so, from combating trafficking.
The Administration also has other concerns, some of which include:
- The temporary residency visa ("T- visa") provision is likely to be too restrictive. We intend to work with Congress to craft a provision that would effectively address fraud concerns and provide additional flexibility to address trafficking situations.
- The bill would make criminal prosecutions of perpetrators more difficult. For example, it provides no jurisdictional basis for prosecution for the proposed sex trafficking of children criminal offense.
- The new reporting requirement would duplicate existing reporting requirements and likely divert scarce resources away from other efforts to combat trafficking. The Department of State already has expanded reporting on trafficking in its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, and is taking additional steps to comply with new trafficking reporting requirements enacted in the FY 2000 Consolidated Appropriations Act.
The Administration has made the fight against trafficking a priority and wants to work with Congress to amend this important legislation to address these concerns.
H.R. 3244 would increase direct spending and revenue; therefore, it is subject to the pay-as-you-go requirement of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990. The bill does not contain provisions to offset the increased direct spending. Therefore, if the bill were enacted, its net budget costs could contribute to a sequester of mandatory programs. OMB's preliminary scoring estimates of this bill are under development. The Administration will work with Congress to avoid a sequester.