Tester Combats Human Trafficking in Indian Country

Senator Calls for Better Data and More Resources to Help Violent Crime Survivors, Prosecute Criminals

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester is turning up the heat in the fight against human trafficking in Indian Country.

During a Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing with top Administration officials and advocates, Tester today highlighted several solutions that will provide survivors of violent crimes with more support services.

Tester specifically emphasized his SURVIVE Act, which sets aside 5 percent of the Crime Victims Fund to establish and secure a critical funding stream not previously accessible by tribes. This tribal account would provide an additional $150 million that tribes could use to assist survivors of violent crimes, increase crime prevention efforts, and prosecute violent criminals. The SURVIVE Act can support domestic violence shelters, medical care, counseling, legal assistance and services, and child and elder abuse prevention.

“Human trafficking is tearing too many Native American communities apart,” Tester said. “To successfully combat this heinous crime and increase safety in Indian Country, I’m working with tribes to bring criminals to justice and healing to survivors.”

The Crime Victims Fund pays for itself by collecting criminal fines, forfeited appearance bonds, penalties, special assessments, gifts, and donations. Currently, every state in the country has access to a set-aside fund from the Crime Victims Fund, but state funds almost never reach Native American communities.

Tester also underscored the continued need for better human trafficking data in Indian Country.

After demands from Tester, earlier this year the Government Accountability Office released multiple reports that identify challenges to preventing human trafficking in Indian Country.