A bill co-authored by Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick to cut off the banking system to human traffickers has passed the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Fitzpatrick speaks in support of the End Banking For Human Traffickers Act.

“As an FBI agent, one of the most horrific crimes that we were called upon to investigate was human trafficking,” Fitzpatrick told his peers in Congress. “This criminal conduct may seem a distant problem, but it is far from it. It exists right in all of our backyards, in every single congressional district in this country.”

Bucks County is not exempt. The documentary “From Liberty To Captivity” is just one film outlining this unforgiving reality.

The End Banking for Human Traffickers Act would help law enforcement work with financial institutions to capture those who prey on vulnerable people. The criminals earning income from these networks of abuse are placing their money in plain sight.

“Traffickers aren’t hiding their illegal profits under a mattress or burying them in their backyard,” Fitzpatrick explained. “They use our very sophisticated global financial system to launder their illicit funds. Banks, credit card companies, and money transfer companies are all used by human traffickers to facilitate their business and perpetuate their exploitation of victims.”

The International Labor Organization estimates this underground industry earns more than $150 billion each year. Pursuing these troves of funds would help domestic agencies prosecute these high rollers who gamble with lives.

“The perpetrators of this exploitation play on the defenseless in our society, including young children,” Fitzpatrick continued. “Cutting off their access to the banking system is a critical aspect, both from an investigative standpoint and a legislative standpoint.”

Bill Keating (D-MA) helped Fitzpatrick co-author the bill. It now heads to the floor for review.