S. 1862 would make several changes to the Department of State’s reporting on trafficking in persons. The department’s annual reports describe the extent of trafficking in persons in each country, detail the foreign government’s efforts to fight such trafficking, and categorize each country on the basis of compliance with minimum standards for those efforts. Countries that are placed into the lowest tier face restrictions on certain U.S. foreign assistance.
The bill would broaden the criteria used by the department to assess compliance with those standards. The new criteria would include an assessment of the concrete actions taken by foreign governments (rather than commitments to take steps in the future), the budgetary resources devoted to assist victims and to punish perpetrators, and the extent to which foreign governments consult with outside groups to improve services for victims.
S. 1862 also would require the department to provide countries that are upgraded to a special watch list from the lowest tier with a plan for further improving their standing. Finally, S. 1862 would require the department to inform countries that are in danger of being automatically downgraded to the lowest tier about the ramifications of that status.
On the basis of information from the department on costs of its current reporting and similar requirements, CBO estimates that the bill would require the department to hire two additional employees at an average annual cost of $225,000. Thus, implementing S. 1862 would cost less than $500,000 each year and total $2 million over the 2019-2023 period; that spending would be subject to the availability of appropriated funds.
Enacting S. 1862 would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
CBO estimates that enacting S. 1862 would not increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2029.
S. 1862 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.