Katko public forum 1

U.S. Rep. John Katko speaks at a public forum on agriculture Tuesday, Aug. 16 at the Wayne County Public Safety Building in Lyons. 

Robert Harding, The Citizen

A bill supported by U.S. Rep. John Katko to combat human trafficking on highways has been signed by President Donald Trump. 

The legislation, the No Human Trafficking on Our Roads Act, will prohibit individuals from operating a commercial vehicle if they have been convicted of a human trafficking crime. 

There is a similar provision now for felony drug trafficking offenses. 

Katko, R-Camillus, lauded Trump for signing the measure. 

"While the vast majority of our nation's truck drivers are hardworking, honest men and women, this bill is necessary to ensure that the select few who commit these crimes are brought to justice," he said. 

The House of Representatives passed the Senate version of the bill in December. Katko introduced the House version in September

The legislation was one of two bills supported Katko to combat the use of commercial vehicles in human trafficking. The other was signed by Trump last week.

The second bill requires the U.S. Department of Transportation to designate a human trafficking prevention coordinator and establish a human trafficking advisory committee. 

Like the bill banning individuals from operating commercial vehicles if they are convicted of a human trafficking crime, the other measure had bipartisan support. 

"Too often, human traffickers take advantage of our nation's transportation network to transport their victims from one location to the next," Katko said. "Truck drivers are often a critical asset in helping law enforcement identify victims who otherwise might go unseen. However, an isolated few individuals have taken advantage of their position to illegally traffic innocent people."