Sullivan’s Amendment to Human Trafficking Bill Passes Senate

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, in a unanimous vote (99-0), the U.S. Senate passed S. 178, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, which included U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan’s (R-AK) Mann Act Cooperation amendment. 

Before the vote, Senator Sullivan urged his colleagues to support his amendment.

“What this amendment will do is increase prosecutions of human trafficking without an increase of cost to the federal government,” said Sen. Sullivan.  “It allows and encourages federal prosecutors to work with state officials to prosecute Mann Act violations while increasing transparency. The goal of this amendment is to enable the resources and cooperation between state and federal prosecutors to ensure all cases of human trafficking are pursued, and victims have justice.”

Senator Sullivan’s bipartisan amendment, co-sponsored by Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), will free up federal resources by allowing and encouraging state attorneys general and local district attorneys to prosecute cases under the Mann Act – the federal law that makes it a criminal offense to transport someone between states for the purpose of prostitution and human trafficking.

Additionally, the amendment preserves federal prosecutors’ ability to exercise prosecutorial discretion, while at the same time, increasing transparency in Mann Act cases by requiring the federal government to provide a detailed explanation if they deny a state attorney general’s request to prosecute a Mann Act violation. 

“When I was Alaska’s attorney general, there was a high-profile case that my department petitioned the federal government to prosecute under the Mann Act, but it never happened and justice was denied,” Sen. Sullivan said after the vote. “I’m pleased that my colleagues supported this amendment to empower states to seek justice for all victims.”