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House Passes Wagner Legislation to Empower Financial Institutions In Fight Against Human Trafficking

Sep 26, 2018
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, the United States House of Representatives passed H.R. 6729, the Empowering Financial Institutions To Fight Human Trafficking Act Of 2018, introduced by Congresswoman Ann Wagner (MO-02). The legislation would improve information sharing between non-profit organizations that work closely with trafficking victims and financial institutions, in order to help the financial industry better identify and respond to human trafficking activity. This legislation is part of Congresswoman Wagner’s ongoing fight against human trafficking in the United States and around the globe. Earlier this afternoon, Congresswoman Wagner spoke on the House Floor about the importance of empowering financial institutions in the fight against human trafficking.

Wagner Urges House to Empower Financial Institutions In Fight Against Human Trafficking

BILL SUMMARY FOR THE EMPOWERING FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS TO FIGHT HUMAN TRAFFICKING ACT OF 2018

The Empowering Financial Institutions to Fight Human Trafficking Act of 2018 instructs the Secretary of the Treasury to establish a mechanism for non-profit organizations to qualify for safe harbor when sharing specific information with financial institutions that facilitates their duties of customer due diligence and the reporting of suspicious activities relating to human trafficking. In order to protect registered non-profit organizations—which lack the resources for extensive court proceedings—from retaliation, defamation suits, and other actions brought by those who don’t want to see their crimes unveiled, non-profit organizations that share information in compliance with these regulations will receive safe harbor protections. Under this legislation, the Secretary of the Treasury is given the authority to develop regulations to:

  • register non-profit organizations that meet certain qualifications before qualifying to be protected through this mechanism.
  • determine what information may be shared under this protection, which financial institutions may receive information, and how financial institutions may share information received through currently regulated and protected information sharing programs.
  • make the processes outlined in the bill coexistent with current information sharing mechanisms and to utilize existing guidance or regulations for this process as necessary.