Dear Representatives Lee and Castor,
I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to advise you of our support for H.R. 2601, the “National Human Trafficking Hotline Enhancement Act.”
Annually, it is estimated that human trafficking generates $150 billion globally and victimizes 25 million people. This criminal enterprise operates through word of mouth, making the collection of tips and other relevant information vital to detecting, preventing, and interdicting human trafficking. For this reason, the National Human Trafficking Hotline was founded in 2007 to aid victims and help combat trafficking activities. Initially, its contracted operator, Polaris, had worked closely with State and Local law enforcement to end human trafficking. Recently, Polaris has altered course and has decided, without consulting their law enforcement partners, to only share self-reported information with State and Local law enforcement if they have the explicit consent of the person calling the Hotline. The Hotline was established so potential victims and witnesses could provide law enforcement with information to stop these crimes and help victims. The Hotline seems to be changing its mission from serving as a tipline to prevent crimes and help victims to now just focusing on connecting survivors with resources and services. This decision is crippling the ability of law enforcement to address human trafficking operations.
Your legislation would require the full cooperation of any grant recipient that contracts with the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to operate the National Human Trafficking Hotline, which entails sharing information and assisting efforts by State and local law enforcement to combat human trafficking. Failure to certify this assistance will disqualify the organization from eligibility.
On behalf of the more than 367,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, I thank you both for your leadership on this important issue. If I can provide any additional assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me or Executive Director Jim Pasco in our Washington, D.C. office.