Lawmakers in American Samoa are trying again to criminalise human trafficking and involuntary servitude, with a bill introduced yesterday in the House.
For several years now, local law enforcement officials, supported by the U.S. Justice Department, have been calling for American Samoa to enact a human trafficking law, due to the lack of one in the territory.
Several bills were introduced in the Fono over the years to criminalize human trafficking, but all failed after the measures failed to make it out of committee.
The latest measure, called "Anti-Human Trafficking and Involuntary Servitude" defines and prohibits criminal conduct involving certain trafficking in persons and involuntary servitude.
According to the bill, any person convicted of involuntary servitude, is sentenced to life in jail or imprisonment for a minimum of ten years or more.
A human trafficking conviction is punishable by up to 5 years in jail but less than 15 years.