WASHINGTON, D.C.--Today, Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX), Chairman of the Congressional Victims' Rights Caucus celebrated the unanimous passage of H.R. 5422, a bipartisan bill that allows the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to continue funding the National Human Trafficking Hotline (NHTH). H.R. 5422 was sponsored in the House by Congressman Poe and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). The Senate companion was led by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Cornyn (R-TX). 

The National Human Trafficking Hotline provides trafficking victims and survivors with instant and free access to critical support and emergency services, collects tips about potential trafficking situations and disseminates training and informational materials to help raise awareness in our communities. As it stands today, the funding for HHS’s annual grants has been appropriated to the Department of Justice. Having the hotline under the jurisdiction of DOJ creates an unnecessary and unhelpful additional layer of bureaucracy. It forces HHS to be dependent on funds from DOJ to run the hotline. It is more efficient and effective for HHS to continue using its own funds to operate the NHTH. 

"The National Human Trafficking Hotline saves lives," said Congressman Poe. "It is an essential tool not only used by victims of trafficking, but it also serves as an important source of information to those who suspect they have encountered a victim of trafficking and don’t know how to help. This hotline is an essential tool in the fight against human trafficking in the United States and it is Congress' responsibility to fund this in the most efficient and effective way possible."