• Heritage Action
  • Heritage Libertad
  • More
Return to Rule of Law Initiative

Overcriminalization

"Overcriminalization" describes the trends in America - and particulary in Congress - to use the criminal law to "solve" every problem, punish every mistake (instead of making proper use of civil penalties), and coerce Americans into conforming their behavior to satisfy social engineering objectives.

S 3061: William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008

Official Title

A bill to authorize appropriations for fiscal years 2008 through 2011 for the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, to enhance measures to combat trafficking in persons, and for other purposes.

Analysis

This is a companion, with some revisions, to H.R. 3887, which the House passed in December. In addition to reauthorizing the federal government’s anti-human trafficking programs, it would create several new criminal offenses. First, it would create an offense of “enticement into slavery” that includes kidnapping, enticement, persuasion, or inducement of a person “with the intent that he may be made or held as a slave, or sent out of the country to be so made or held.” Violations would be punishable by criminal fines and imprisonment of up to 20 years (life, in the case of the death of the victim or aggravated sexual abuse). Second, it would amend the offense of “sex trafficking of children” to remove the requirement that the perpetrator use “force, fraud, or coercion” for trafficking. Third, it would create a criminal offense of “forced labor” that would cover obtaining the services of a person through threats of force, physical restraint, threatened abuse of legal processes, or “any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause the person to believe that, if that person did not perform such labor or services, that person or another person would suffer serious harm or physical restraint.” Violators, as well as those who knowingly benefit from violations or recklessly disregard that the service may have been coerced, would face criminal fines and imprisonment of up to 20 years (life, in the case of death, actual or attempted kidnapping, or aggravated sexual assault of the victim). Fourth, the bill would create an offense of “benefitting (sic) from financial gain in peonage, slavery, and trafficking in persons” that would cover knowing benefit from the destruction of documents (such as passports) to further forced labor, and other trafficking-related activities. Violations would be punishable by criminal fines. Fifth, the bill would create an offense of “sex tourism” that would prohibit the arrangement of travel in foreign commerce “for the purpose of engaging in any commercial sex act for which any person can be charged with an offense in the jurisdiction in which the commercial sex act occurs.” Violations would be punishable by criminal fines and imprisonment of up to 10 years. Sixth and finally, the bill would modify several trafficking-related provisions to prohibit obstruction of their enforcement. Violations would be punishable by criminal fines and imprisonment of up to 20 years.

Legislation Details
SPONSOR

Biden (D - DE)

STATUS:

07/31/2008: Reported to Senate
06/05/2008: Text Available
05/22/2008: Introduced