By Brian Mosley, CRA Senior Policy Analyst
Last month, Representative Gwen Moore (D-WI), joined by Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) and House Science, Space, and Technology Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), introduced the H.R. 7710, the Counter Human Trafficking Research and Development Act.
This legislation will create a National Counter Human Trafficking Research and Development Initiative at the White House, specifically within the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). The initiative will be tasked with developing “anti-trafficking technologies and accelerate scientific understanding of human trafficking, including tools to better measure the prevalence of human trafficking and to detect and disrupt human trafficking demand.” Additionally, the bill will, “support federal agency coordination of survivor-informed research and development, coordinate data sharing, establish an advisory committee that brings voices and perspectives of researchers, higher education, law enforcement, non-profit organizations the table, and fund critical research in human trafficking through the National Science Foundation.” Rep. Moore’s office created a one-page summary of the legislation.
CRA was consulted on a discussion draft of this legislation and was able to provide feedback and suggestions on how to make the bill stronger. CRA was pleased to release the following statement endorsing the legislation:
CRA STATEMENT ENDORSING H.R. 7710,
The “COUNTER HUMAN TRAFFICKING RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT ACT”
The Computing Research Association applauds the introduction of the H.R. 7710, the “Counter Human Trafficking Research and Development Act,” and congratulates Representative Gwen Moore, Representative Don Beyer, and House Science, Space, and Technology Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson for their work crafting legislation that will help enable the research and address the data needs to provide the tools needed to end human trafficking.
It is vital in moving to eliminate human trafficking that the needs of local actors to collect data be understood and improved. In this research area, the most effective data comes from the local level; information from NGOs, law enforcement, and prosecutors is key to understanding, responding, and countering human trafficking. Funding and support to bolster the data capacity of these groups will improve research which in turn will help in efforts to eliminate human trafficking. We support the inclusion of a section directing the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a study, “that includes an assessment of human trafficking data collection needs and practices of Federal agencies, local nongovernmental organizations, law enforcement, and prosecutors to improve Federal research and development to prevent, identify, and disrupt human trafficking.”
The legislation’s emphasis on working with trafficking survivors and bringing them into the research process, while both protecting their privacy and encouraging the development and deployment of Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PETs) will provide a wealth of data to tackle many key research questions.
We commend Reps. Moore and Beyer, and Chairwoman Johnson, for their leadership in this area, and we look forward to working with all parties as this bill moves through the legislative process.
This post was originally published in the CRA Policy Blog.