Congressman Steve Cohen

Representing the 9th District of Tennessee

Representatives Cohen, Kinzinger, Cardenas, and Wagner Praise Final Passage of SOAR Act

December 20, 2018
Press Release
Grants will provide training for health professionals to spot signs of human trafficking

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO), Congressman Tony Cardenas (D-CA) and Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) praised final passage of the Stop, Observe, Ask and Respond (SOAR) to Health and Wellness Training Program (H.R. 767) today on a 386 to 6 vote, a measure to provide training to health care professionals on identifying and assisting victims of human trafficking.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

“I am grateful to my colleagues for helping get this important bill through Congress.  I especially want to thank Representatives Ann Wagner, Tony Cardenas and Adam Kinzinger for their tireless efforts.  This bill is the result of an event held at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis in 2016 to discuss and promote human trafficking awareness training, attended by first responders, health care workers, faith-based groups, educators and state and local government officials. The energy, encouragement and support of those present inspired me to pursue this legislation.  The SOAR Act encourages those on the front lines, our health care professionals, to be alert to possible instances of human trafficking when victims appear in clinics or doctors’ offices for needed care.  The measure’s $4 million a year in training grants for health professionals to identify indicators of tell-tale signs of those who have been or are in captivity could end horrors for thousands of victims.”

Congresswoman Wagner said:

“As the lead Republican sponsor on H.R. 767, I worked closely with Congressman Cohen to draft this legislation so that services are better tailored to the needs of trafficking victims and put survivors on the road to recovery. I also worked hand in hand with healthcare providers across the St. Louis region who are leading the effort to assist trafficking victims in local clinics and hospitals. I am so proud of their leadership in establishing trainings and policies to identify and treat victims, and I am delighted that Congress is coming alongside them by passing the SOAR to Health and Wellness Act.”

Congressman Cardenas said:

“When I was a Los Angeles City Councilman, I saw first-hand the danger and heartbreak of human trafficking taking place in our own communities, right under our noses. We need to give healthcare professionals the necessary tools to recognize human trafficking victims amongst their patients, give them the support that they need, and help bring the perpetrators to justice. Though Los Angeles is making progress in eradicating this despicable crime, we still have so much work to do. I am grateful to my colleagues in the House and the Senate for supporting the SOAR Act, and hope that the President can sign it into law soon so we can save more lives.”

Congressman Kinzinger said:

“Hard to imagine, but human trafficking is happening here in the United States, within our communities, and it affects all of us. I’m proud to be a co-lead on H.R. 767, the SOAR Health and Wellness Act, and glad to see it pass the House today. By raising awareness and training our healthcare workers to identify and better care for victims, we can combat this heinous crime and help our most vulnerable. Thank you to my colleagues for their support, especially Representative Cohen, as we work to end human trafficking.”

The bill passed the Senate early Thursday morning by voice vote.