Working to End Human Trafficking
Over the past two years, Portman – already the author of six federal anti-trafficking laws designed to better serve victims and help law enforcement end this horrific crime – continued his longstanding work to combat human trafficking and help trafficking survivors.
Portman is the author of six federal anti-trafficking laws designed to better serve victims and help law enforcement end this horrific crime, including the high-profile Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) law that is already making a significant difference in combating online sex trafficking of women and children – resulting in the shutdown of numerous websites that knowingly facilitated sex trafficking. In the first year of the 116th Congress, Portman continued his longstanding work to combat human trafficking and help trafficking survivors.
- At the beginning of the year, former Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, announced that Portman would take the helm of congressional efforts to combat modern slavery and human trafficking worldwide.
- In July 2019, Portman reintroduced his bipartisan legislation to crack down on addiction-driven human trafficking. The Protecting Rights of Those Exploited by Coercive Trafficking (PROTECT) Act specifically addresses the use of drugs to facilitate human trafficking and protects vulnerable victims of trafficking. Human traffickers often introduce or exploit drug addiction to control or force victims into prostitution or forced labor. This compounds the trauma experienced by human trafficking victims and undermines recovery efforts for individuals suffering from addiction.
In August 2018, Portman introduced the bipartisan Missing Children’s Assistance Act, which reauthorizes the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and continue the fight against child abduction and exploitation. The president signed the bill into law on October 23, 2018.
Combating Anti-Semitism & Attacks on the Homeland
Portman has long made clear that there is no place in our society or our country for hatred or religious intolerance of any kind. With mounting threats made against the Jewish community in the United States and Jewish Community Centers in Ohio, Portman came out strong in defense of religious tolerance and stood in solidarity with the Jewish community.
In September 2019, Portman hosted an Ohio Faith-Based Security Conference to facilitate a conversation with federal and state security experts and stakeholders on best practices for how to prepare, prevent, respond, and recover from potential adverse events. The conference was comprised of a panel discussion as well as presentations focusing on best practices and funding opportunities for implementing security measures to help prevent attacks as well as how to best respond to potential threats. In addition, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Ohio Director of Public Safety Tom Stickrath, and Deputy Director of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Matthew Travis joined the event.
- In February 2019, Portman applauded the appointment of a Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, a position at the U.S. Department of State. Senator Portman sent President Trump a letter in May 2018 emphasizing the importance of filling the position to ensure the United States continues to lead global efforts to combat anti-Semitism.
- In 2019, the House and Senate passed Portman’s bipartisan legislation – the Protecting Faith-Based and Nonprofit Organizations From Terrorism Act. The bill authorizes $75 million annually for five years for the Department of Homeland Security’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP), which provides grants to nonprofits and faith-based organizations to help secure their facilities against a potential terrorist attack. Of the $75 million total, $50 million will be available for nonprofits located within high-risk urban areas, and the remaining $25 million will be available for organizations that fall outside of those areas. Under the legislation, funding may be used for target-hardening activities, training for personnel, and any other appropriate activity, as defined by the FEMA Administrator. The president is expected to sign the legislation soon.
- Senator Portman joined colleagues in successfully urging the Senate Appropriations Committee and Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security to fund the Nonprofit Security Grant Program at $90 million. In the final FY 2020 funding bill, signed into law by the president, the program was funded at $90 million.