Did you know that the House voted for new tools to combat human trafficking?
When Boko Haram kidnapped 200 teenage girls in Nigeria in 2014, human trafficking became a hashtag. As a result, the tragedy attracted attention from countries around the world. But we’re wrong to assume that trafficking is only an issue in countries far away.
Human trafficking impacts every region of our country, and has no place in a civilized society. Sadly, reported cases of trafficking continue to rise in the United States. House Republicans have been on the frontlines, continuing to shine a light on this growing problem. See some of our recent work below.
We promised we’d keep Americans safe. That’s why we passed 16 bills that will help victims, punish traffickers, prevent trafficking, and aid law enforcement. For more on that, check out www.didyouknow.gop. While we’re proud of our bipartisan work, we know our we have more to do. No single bill will end human trafficking.
But with action, compassion, and vigilance, we can help protect Americans and their families — and continue to keep our promises to them.
Here’s what House Republicans are doing at home on this issue:
Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX) in the Star-Telegram: Human trafficking happens everywhere. Yes, even here.
Human trafficking isn’t something we think of as being a major problem in America, but the truth is that adults and youth are being forced into prostitution and unpaid labor in our own backyard at an alarming rate.
No community in America is immune to the scourge of human trafficking, including our corner of North Texas.
…No single piece of legislation will end human trafficking, but every bill brings greater attention to this problem hiding in plain sight and further empowers victims to regain control of their lives.
Together with the efforts of community leaders and organizations in and around Fort Worth, we can curb the horrific damage caused by human trafficking and child exploitation.
Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) on Medium.com: Combatting Trafficking in the Digital Age
Technology helps traffickers not only to lure victims into the trade, but to sell their victims to a large number of buyers online. Websites, like Backpage.com, offer a useful, free platform to post ads for commercial sex, and these ads are accessible to countless criminals instantaneously. Even after Backpage shuttered the “adult content” portion of its website, ads for sexual encounters with underage and trafficked victims still exist. To avoid detection by law enforcement, traffickers use code words like “100% young” or “New in Town” to indicate to buyers that a “commodity” is available to purchase for sex.
But, traffickers aren’t the only ones using technology. Law enforcement is, too, thanks to the efforts made by nonprofits and private sector companies who have come together to combat this scourge in our society. Groundbreaking technology can now find and track human traffickers through their public, online presence. The advanced algorithms in these programs can recognize patterns to alert law enforcement that trafficking is occurring. The programs analyze large amounts of publicly-available data to crack secret codes and identify disguised ads. These programs can help cut down a law enforcement officer’s investigation time from weeks or days to seconds.