In response to the recent case of a woman who was assaulted for over an hour on a Philadelphia train while other passengers looked on and did nothing, except for some who recorded it, attorney Pansy Watson of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) says H.R. 5706 has been introduced in Congress.
"The Stop Sexual Assault and Harassment in Transportation Act is really intended to prevent sexual assault and stop sexual assault and harassment on any kind of transportation, public or private," she explains. "This is going to include ride sharing as well, and it does this by laying out clear policies for passengers that this behavior won't be tolerated."
Watson asserts that the bill has some teeth in it.
"It sets the civil penalty of I believe $35,000 for individuals who physically or sexually assault, or even threaten to assault, the personnel, and then the penalty will be increased over time to I believe $45,000 over the next 10 years," the NCOSE spokeswoman details.
Violators could also face criminal charges. The bill further calls for companies to develop policies, training, and reporting requirements for staff on how to recognize possible victims of assault and human trafficking.