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Congressman Brad Schneider

Representing the 10th District of Illinois

Schneider, Marchant, Sewell, Smith Introduce Bipartisan Bicameral Bill to Aid Survivors of Human Trafficking

January 18, 2019
Press Release
Introduced during National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, bill would exempt civil damages to victims of human trafficking from federal income tax

Today, U.S. Representatives Brad Schneider (IL-10), Kenny Marchant (TX-24), Terri Sewell (AL-7) and Jason Smith (MO-8), all members of the House Committee on Ways and Means, introduced bipartisan legislation to exempt restitution payments to victims of human trafficking from federal income tax.

Under current law, only criminal restitution payments to victims of human trafficking are exempt from federal income tax. H.R. 619, the Human Trafficking Survivor Tax Relief Act, would expand this provision to make civil damages, restitution, and any other monetary award given to human trafficking survivors exempt from federal income taxes. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced the bipartisan Senate companion legislation, S. 169.

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month

“Survivors of human trafficking need our support as they rebuild their lives,” said Schneider. “Our bill would ensure restitution payments to victims of this heinous crime are not subject to federal income tax by ending the discrepancy that treats criminal and civil payments to trafficking survivors differently. I am proud to introduce this legislation with support from both sides of the aisle and both chambers of Congress, and hope we can make swift progress to help the survivors of trafficking.”

“North Texans have heard entirely too many horror stories about human trafficking,” said Marchant. “While we must work to eliminate this heinous crime, we must also work to aid the victims and survivors of it. The Human Trafficking Survivor Tax Relief Act would make civil damages, restitution, and any other monetary award given to human trafficking survivors exempt from federal income taxes. This bipartisan legislation will allow survivors to file their taxes without fear that the IRS might audit or penalize them for not reporting civil damages as income. I want to thank Senator Cornyn for leading this effort in the US Senate and Congressman Schneider for joining me to reintroduce my bill from the 115th Congress. We must continue to find ways to support the survivors of this horrible crime as they rebuild their lives.”

“This bill will help level the scales of justice for human trafficking victims by ending tax penalties on survivors who seek justice against their traffickers,” said Sewell. “I’m proud to join this bipartisan legislation to provide relief to victims of this form of modern-day slavery.”

“The government shouldn’t profit off of damages awarded to sex trafficking victims,” said Smith. “The last thing a victim of sex trafficking needs to deal with is a complicated tax code or hefty tax bill, and this legislation will give victims one less thing to worry about as they rebuild their lives.”

The full text of the legislation is available online.