Matt Gaetz Votes Against Bill Targeting Human Trafficking

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By Giselle Balido

July 29, 2022

Under investigation for possible sex trafficking and sex with a minor, the Florida representative was among the 20 Republicans who voted against the renewal of the measure.

On Wednesday, the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act of 2022 was approved in the House for reauthorization with an overwhelming majority of 401 votes to 20.

The anti-trafficking bill combats human trafficking — specifically sex trafficking — through stiff penalties for perpetrators. The measure also offers support services for victims and, since it came into law in 2000, has been reauthorized multiple times with minimum challenge.

However, Rep. Matt Gaetz, who since 2020 has been under investigation for possible sex trafficking and sex with a minor, was among the 20 Republicans who voted against the renewal of the measure. Those who nixed the measure included Rep. Lauren Boebert (CO) and Georgia’s Marjorie Taylor Greene.

It appears that Gaetz was not satisfied with the bill’s definition of “human trafficking” and its cost.

RELATED: Who Is Matt Gaetz and What Does He Really Stand For? Take a Look at His Voting Record.

An election-denying Donald Trump supporter, Gaetz has been under federal investigation over the question of whether he had sex with a 17-year-old girl, and whether he paid for her to cross state lines, as paying for a minor to travel interstate for sex would count as sex-trafficking.

Gaetz, who hasn’t been charged, denies all wrongdoing. However, Joel Greenberg, a former associate whom Gaetz once called his “wingman,” has pleaded guilty to charges including sex trafficking a minor, Politico reported.

No Stranger to Controversy

A Republican who since 2017 has served as the US representative for Florida’s 1st congressional district (which covers the state’s western Panhandle), Gaetz has been at the center of a maelstrom of controversy surrounding not only his private life, but his political stance.

He publicly supported Fox News’ commentator Tucker Carlson’s view of the so-called “great replacement theory,” a white supremacist doctrine which stokes fears that a non-white population will displace a white majority.

RELATED: Just the Facts: Florida Ranks 45th in Tax Fairness, 41st in Access to Health Care, 2nd in Mass Shootings.

And most recently, Gaetz called women who attend abortion rights rallies “ugly,” body-shaming a teenager who called him out over his statements.

Politically, his voting record offers a clear view into his ideology. He voted no to pass the Protecting Our Democracy Act that addresses issues involving abuses of presidential powers, checks and balances, accountability, and transparency.

An ardent Trump supporter, he has also managed to alienate some from his own political party. After Gaetz told an audience of conservative students in Florida that former Vice President Mike Pence would never be president, Marc Short, chief of staff to Pence, told CNN that it’s likely “[Gaetz] be in prison for child sex trafficking by 2024.”


  • Giselle Balido

    Giselle is Floricua's political correspondent. She writes about the economy, environmental and social justice, and all things Latino. A published author, Giselle was born in Havana and grew up in New Jersey and Miami. She is passionate about equality, books, and cats.



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