Human trafficking is one of the largest and fastest growing crimes in the world. In Washington, lawmakers are addressing the issue head on, voting on 13 pieces of legislation this week aimed at bringing an end to modern day slavery.
It's estimated that more than 20 million people worldwide are victims of human trafficking, with cases reported in every state in the U.S.
"So many times you find it around the world, but it's right here in America. They had more than 7,000 cases just last year reported," House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said.
This week, Congress zeroed in on the issue, passing a number of bills aimed at protecting victims and increasing punishments for convicted offenders.
A top priority is dealing with legal loopholes that predators take advantage of to avoid being convicted.
Republican Rep. Martha Roby's Global Child Protection Act would close those loopholes.
"Under the current definitions, it does deal with people who travel abroad to have sex with children, but the definitions don't include people who travel abroad to force children to do sexual acts on them," the Alabama lawmaker told CBN News.
"It's these types of unintended loopholes in the criminal code where Congress can change the law," she said.
And Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., is also offering a measure that would prevent criminals from getting away on a technicality.
Johnson's bill deals with a 2015 case where a man who recorded a sexual assault on a child was able to escape a federal conviction.
"There's a provision where the courts have said if a predator has sexual activity with a minor and they record any of those images on their phone, their smart phone, other devices, and they didn't intend to record them, then somehow they'd be able to evade prosecution," he told CBN News.
"We think that's outrageous," he charged. "It's a violation of Congress's obvious intent to protect the most defenseless among us."
Meanwhile, Congress has another major item on its plate with the release of President Donald Trump's budget plan of over $4 trillion.
The White House budget reduces Washington's spending plans for future years.
"The budget's a framework, and what's so refreshing here is how honest he is in the process, that he balances a budget in 10 years. We have not had that in the last administration," McCarthy said.
But Democrats quickly attacked the proposal, with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., calling it a "nightmare" that hurts the middle class and relies on "fantasy numbers."
And while not all Republicans gave it a ringing endorsement, many are encouraged to see the Trump administration taking steps to try to limit spending, eventually balance the budget and help get the economy growing strongly.
"When I look at what else he's doing in the budget, he's looking at welfare reform, actually putting people back to work, giving them a sense of accomplishment at the same time," McCarthy said.
"Those are tough things to do," he noted. "And sometimes you get politically attacked for it, but in the end you create and help individuals to buy homes, send their kids to college."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says the president's budget is just a recommendation, and now it's up to Congress to figure out what to do with it.
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) spoke on the House floor today on the House’s anti-human trafficking and exploitation legislation.
Full remarks are below, or watch online here.
“Mr. Speaker, they didn’t list her name in the report, and that makes sense. It all happened before she even reached the age of 16. So to protect her identity, they call her Tonya. She ran away from home and ended up living with a man they called Eddie. Eddie was the stepdad of one of her classmates. Tonya and Eddie started a relationship. Tonya felt that she really loved him. Eddie took advantage of that, and he pressured her into a life no child should have to live.
“Tonya was saved in large part by luck. A tip to the police led to action by a federal special agent. And now Eddie is behind bars finishing the second year of his twelve-year prison sentence. Meanwhile, Tonya is just trying to return to a normal life.
“Mr. Speaker, I wish I could say this story wasn’t true, that these fictitious names didn’t reflect hard reality. I wish I could say it was isolated. I wish I could say that this type of thing doesn’t happen here in America. But it does. It repeats itself with different details, many even more disturbing than Tonya’s story, in towns and cities across our nation. And it’s not just sex trafficking. It’s forced labor. It’s exploitation. It’s slavery. And every single instance cries out against the moral truth written on every human heart.
“Now, the numbers are staggering. 20.9 million people are trafficked globally. Of that number, over a quarter are children. The majority are pressed to work for little to no wages. 4.5 million of these people are victims of forced sexual exploitation.
“Here in America, there were 7,572 cases of human trafficking reported in 2016. That’s an increase of 35 percent just of the year before. My home state of California is particularly dire. Of all the cases in the nation, 1,323 come from California.
“Though we need no explanation for why we’re passing anti-trafficking and exploitation legislation today, I think it helps that we understand the magnitude of this evil.
“We have, in this body, voted on eleven bills so far. Today, we will vote on two more by Susan Brooks and Mike Johnson. Altogether, these bills address many aspects of this problem: international trafficking, recording and transmission of child pornography, abuse uncovered on the U.S. Olympics Teams, the handling of trauma cases in our justice system.
“Now, I don’t believe that these bills alone will end human trafficking or exploitation in and of themselves. But they will help. They’ll help prevent these crimes. They’ll help the victims recover. And they’ll bring us closer to a world where every person, especially those who need us most, won’t be abused, but will be truly loved.”
CNN | May 24, 2017
She ran away from home. She was only 15 when the man she moved in with and thought she loved took her to a party and told her she had to sleep with somebody for money. She resisted. His pressure continued. She thought it would be a one-time deal. It wasn’t.
For weeks, every night, she was taken from bar to bar as the man she had trusted advertised her to other men and sold her. She was only saved by a tip to the police and intervention by a US Immigration and Customs Enforcement homeland security investigations special agent. Today, the man who trafficked her is finishing the second year of his 12-year prison sentence, as the girl he exploited tries to return to a semi-normal life.
As true as it is sobering, this young woman’s story is far from isolated. It is repeated, frequently with even more disturbing details, in towns and cities across our nation. Children are sold on the black market. Young women are forced into prostitution. Immigrants are pressed to work for little or no wages. Each and every one is an affront to our human dignity, our basic freedoms, and our common call to care for, not abuse, those who are vulnerable and in need.
The International Labor Organization estimates that 20.9 million people are trafficked globally. Of those, 68% are subjected to forced labor, 26% are children and 55% are women and girls. And around 4.5 million are victims of forced sexual exploitation. It all adds up to a $150 billion industry worldwide.
But human trafficking — sex trafficking, forced labor and other modern forms of slavery — is not some foreign evil. In America, the National Human Trafficking Hotline recorded 7,572 human trafficking cases reported in 2016, the most — 1,323 — coming from my home state of California. Of the total number of cases, 5,551 reported were for sex trafficking and 1,057 for labor trafficking.
And the matter is only growing more urgent. Reported cases of human trafficking rose 35.7% in America from 2015 to 2016.
Human trafficking and exploitation are evil. Victims must be helped, traffickers must be punished, law enforcement must be trained to detect and uncover it, and as a nation we must work to prevent it. That’s why the House stepped in.
This week, the House is passing 13 pieces of legislation to help put an end to modern-day slavery and sexual exploitation. These bills are both broad and specific. Responding to recent reports alleging that hundreds of athletes were sexually abused in the USA Olympic Teams, Washington Rep. Susan Brooks’ Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse Act requires amateur athletic bodies to swiftly report suspected cases of abuse to law enforcement agencies.
And Louisiana Rep. Mike Johnson’s Protection Against Child Exploitation Act closes a loophole that, in 2015, let a man who recorded images of child sexual assault on his phone escape federal conviction. The new law would make it a criminal offense to knowingly consent to the visual depiction or live transmission of child pornography.
Earlier this week, the House already passed 11 other anti-human trafficking and exploitation bills, including Missouri Rep. Ann Wagner’s Put Trafficking Victims First Act, which directs the attorney general to ensure prosecutors are trained in how to investigate and process cases where a victim has suffered trauma, and encourages states to provide child welfare services and trauma-informed programming to victims of human trafficking. It would also encourage states to never refer to child trafficking victims as “child prostitutes” or “underage sex workers,” recognizing that these children are victims, not criminals.
California Rep. Ed Royce’s Targeted Rewards for Global Eradication of Human Trafficking Act allows the State Department to use its powerful rewards program, where the secretary of state may offer rewards for information that leads to the arrest of terrorists or international criminals, to target human traffickers who threaten both national security and humanitarian interests. In other words, the same program we use to catch terrorists can be used to uncover international human trafficking networks.
And Arizona Rep. Martha McSally’s Protecting the Rights of Individuals Against Technological Exploitation prohibits within the Uniform Code of Military Justice the broadcasting or distribution of intimate visual images. This is in response to an armed forces scandal where service members shared nude photos of their female colleagues via social media.
No single piece of legislation will end human trafficking and exploitation. The crime is both pervasive and hidden in plain sight. But every single one of these bills will help. And with each one, we are closer to ending this terrible wrong and giving victims the chance to live the normal lives that were stolen from them.Read More
Washington, D.C. – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) released the following statement on the White House budget:
“The White House has produced a strong, conservative budget. While I continue to review the details, it’s obvious that the White House sticks to what is right by prioritizing defense and balancing the budget in ten years. This budget also focuses on the President’s priorities to shrink the size and scope of the federal government—and that’s good. For too long we have judged federal programs by how much we spend on them rather than on their outcomes. With a strong focus on program accountability, we can help people achieve self-sufficiency like we did with welfare reform in the 1990s. As Congress continues to work, this fiscally responsible budget is a great starting point in our effort to promote growth and create higher incomes and better lives for Americans and their families.”
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Kevin McCarthy released the following statement honoring Police Week and House passage of two bills, H.R. 115, the Thin Blue Line Act, and H.R. 1039, the Probation Officer Protection Act:
“We owe a debt to all our law enforcement officers who head out in the morning to protect our communities and can never be certain they’ll get back home safely. We all share in the rewards of their service from safe streets where we can live our lives freely to having role models for our kids. But it’s our police officers and their families that bear most of the burdens. Every day, but especially this week, we are proud to show our respect and gratitude for America’s law enforcement.
“These pieces of legislation will allow for juries in federal cases to increase the sentence on those who kill state or local law enforcement officers and will enable probation officers to arrest those who forcibly obstruct them or assault them while they perform their duties. I applaud Congressmen Dave Reichert (WA-08) and Vern Buchanan (FL-16) for introducing these bills and for continuing to look out for our police officers who are out there every day looking out for us.”
The Republican Congress and the President have taken immediate action to repeal Obama-era regulations. The House began this year working on regulatory reform not only because it would save the people money (so far our regulatory reform work has saved billions of dollars), and protect jobs, but because it’s wrong for unelected people in Washington to make such important decisions for everyone else.
So the House and Senate passed and the President signed 14 Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolutions overturning regulations that exceeded the bureaucracy’s authority and hurt the well-being of the people.
McCarthy said this after President Trump signed the 14th CRA:
“Approving and enacting these 14 Congressional Review Act resolutions in fewer than four months is unprecedented. Not only did we stop bad regulations from being imposed on the American people, we made sure the bureaucracy can’t write any other rules like these ever again. Overturning these last-minute Obama-era regulations was good for our economy, good for our Constitution, and most importantly, good for our people. Estimates have shown that our regulatory reform this year has saved us billions of dollars and saved thousands of jobs. Some of the overreaching regulations we reversed would have undermined core constitutional rights, from the 2nd Amendment to our due process protections.
“But it’s restoring the ability of the American people to control their own lives that means the most. Finishing these CRAs is a noteworthy success in our mission to take power out of the hands of the unelected bureaucracy in Washington and give it back to the American people. None of these rules were voted on by the people’s representatives. None of these rules were necessary. The people didn’t have the say they are guaranteed and deserve. Repealing these regulations helps put the people back in charge of Washington.”
These CRA’s improve American energy, increase local control, defend our rights and equally apply the law, protect our workers, and save lives.
Improve American Energy
Increase Local Control
Defend Our Rights & Equally Apply the Law
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) spoke at a House leadership press conference today on how Republicans are working to modernize government technology and increase support for our law enforcement community with multiple pieces of legislation this week.
Full remarks are below, or watch online here.
“Good morning everyone, welcome back. As you heard from Chairman Brady and from the Speaker––the committees are continuing to work to create jobs and growth for all Americans. John F. Kennedy declared this week to be National Police Officers Week, and we all owe a great deal of debt to all of our police officers. In 2016, 118 police officers died in the line of duty. That’s 118 fathers, mothers, daughters, sons, and friends. We want to thank them for their service and for their sacrifice.
“This week on the floor, we’ll have two major bills. The Probation Officer Protection Act, by Representative Dave Reichert, a former Sheriff––and the Thin Blue Line Act by Representative Vern Buchanan. We want to make sure that our law enforcement has all the tools to be able to work in a modern society. Last night we passed the Strengthening State and Local Cyber Crime Fighting Act to help train law enforcement on cyber attacks––as more than 200,000 machines just recently in 150 countries were attacked.
“Also, if you watch what we’ll have on the floor today––Representative Will Hurd’s Modernizing Government Technology Act. We spend 80 billion dollars a year on IT in government. Eighty percent of that is spent on legacy programs––if we modernize government, we will create a more efficient, effective and accountable government for all Americans. Those are just some of the items that you’ll see pass the floor this week.”
Congressman Kevin McCarthy has announced the winners of the 36th annual Congressional Art Competition for high school students.
The overall winner is Christiana Macy, who is in 12th grade at Grace Christian Academy in Rosamond. Her work is called “Life of an Artist.”
Macy will have the chance to attend the Congressional Art Competition opening in June in Washington, D.C. Her artwork will also be displayed for a year in the corridor leading to the Capitol.
McCarthy released a statement while announcing the winners:
“It is always an enjoyable honor to recognize and celebrate the artistic talent our community holds. This is especially true when our students share their work, which expresses the influences in their lives and our community. Each year the participation in this event underscores how vibrant and engaged our community’s youth are in the arts. I commend all of the students who entered a piece into this year’s competition and encourage each one to continue to pursue their passion for the arts. Their work enriches the lives of us all.”
His office also announced awards in the following categories:
ALL OTHER MEDIUM
1st place -- Vincent Alcorta, West High School, for “Curiosity”
2nd -- Sandra Cerna, Bakersfield High School, for “Kitty Love”
3rd -- Nicholas Bruhl, Alicia’s Art School, for “ENGELish Teacher”
Honorable mention -- Daylynn Buntin, Tehachapi High School, for “Color Run”
1st -- Robert Russ, Bakersfield High School, for “Life is Good, All of the Time!”
2nd -- Javier Salgado, Bakersfield High School, for “Kern Canyons Natural Beauty”
3rd -- Rachel Hegle, Tehachapi High School, for “Little Slice of Heaven”
Honorable mention -- Rebekah Price, Tehachapi Valley Oaks Charter School, for “The Hanging Tree”
Honorable Mention -- Madison Soto, Ridgeview High School, for “Aesthetic”
1st -- Cierra Cole, Tehachapi High School, for “Aboveboard”
2nd -- Eric Cortez, Ridgeview High School, for “Untitled”
Washington, D.C. – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) released the following statement on the President’s religious liberty executive order:
“Every single person has the fundamental right to live out their faith. That is a core principle in America. But these rights have been violated. Religious discrimination has had a chilling effect on free speech in houses of worship, has forced nuns to go to court to defend themselves, and has stopped adoption agencies from helping children find good homes. The President’s executive order will help to end unfair discrimination against Americans by the federal government without taking any rights or protections away from anyone. I look forwarding to building on this executive order to defend Americans from government discrimination and protect our First Amendment rights.”
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) spoke on the floor in favor of the H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act.
Full remarks are below, or watch online here.
“Now, Mr. Speaker, Americans are a practical people. We know that we can have fair health care that helps those who need it without trapping everyone in a government-run system dreamed up by Washington central-planners.
“Now, contrary to our freedom, Obamacare forced the American people to purchase insurance. Contrary to our well-being, Obamacare imposed taxes we cannot bear. Contrary to what is responsible and right, Obamacare made Medicaid unsustainable for the people most in need. And contrary to common sense, Obamacare regulations continue to drive up the cost of insurance beyond what people can afford.
“You want to know how Obamacare is working? Just read this week’s papers. Now let me take you all the way back to yesterday. This is the headline: ‘Medica, the last insurer selling individual policies in most of Iowa, likely to exit.’ So now, 94 of the 99 counties will have no insurer in Iowa—94 of the 99 counties in Iowa will have no insurer. Here’s another headline from yesterday: ‘Aetna will exit Obamacare markets in Virginia in 2018.’
Humana left the Obamacare exchanges. Blue Cross left Nebraska. United Healthcare left all but a handful of markets this year. You see, Mr. Speaker, we have roughly 3,000 counties in all of America. One-third—1,022,—only have one provider. Soon, more counties will have none.
“So, you know what doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions? A health care system that doesn’t have coverage. No options means no coverage. That’s the road Obamacare is leading us down, and doing nothing leaves too many Americans out in the cold. And Mr. Speaker, we will not stand for that.
“We tried the Obamacare way. It is failing remarkably, and the American people are demanding a change. Now we have the chance to do something great. We can have care without control, stability without centralization, and support without mandates. We have the chance to listen to the American people and repeal and replace Obamacare.
“The American Health Care Act will repeal the individual and employer mandates.
It will repeal Obamacare taxes.
It will repeal Obamacare rules.
It will repeal Obamacare’s subsidies.
And it will do what is right by stopping taxpayer funding for abortion providers and by refocusing Medicaid on those who most need it.
“And we replace all of that that with a system that protects those with pre-existing conditions. Mr. Speaker, I heard a lot about this bill, and this bill is not 2,000 pages. It’s less than 130. But, Mr. Speaker, I’ve heard things on this floor that are not true. So let me state it one more time: we will replace it with a system that protects pre-existing conditions and then reduce premiums through the tried and true process of fair competition.
“And as the price of insurance decreases, we give those who still can’t quite afford it a step up through tax credits and expanded Health Savings Accounts. This is fundamental and structural reform.
“Now, Mr. Speaker, since I have had the honor to stand on this floor and serve in this House, this body has done many good things. We have stood time and again for what was best for our country. Struggling against other branches for so long, many times that required us to dig in our heels and stop something terrible. It’s good to stop bad things from happening. But it’s great to make good things happen. Finally, after years of waiting, we have the chance to do something good today.
“This bill is not perfect. No bill could be. The question is not why it can’t be made perfect. The question is ,do we retreat, or do we act? Do we take this great leap to repeal and replace Obamacare, extend a hand to our fellow citizens most in need, and break free from Washington control? Or do we continue to wait for the day that is already here in the hope for a better day that may never come?
“We were not sent here to wait. We are called to action. This is our opportunity. Mr. Speaker, I do not want to read another day of headlines of more people going without insurance. Without insurance is without pre-existing conditions, without coverage. Today, we’ll do something good. That’s why today, we will act.
“I yield back.”
2421 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Congressman Kevin McCarthy represents the 23rd District of California, which spans Kern, Tulare, and Los Angeles counties. First elected in 2006, Kevin is a native of Bakersfield and a fourth-generation Kern County resident. He is committed to policies that give small businesses and entrepreneurs the confidence they need to hire, expand, invest and innovate. After the 2010 midterm elections, Kevin was elected by his colleagues to serve as Majority Whip of the United States House of Representatives.
Kevin started his own small business before the age of 21. He built Kevin O’s Deli from the ground up, even enlisting his father’s help in building the deli’s counter in their garage. He worked hard, hired employees and enjoyed success in his community. That’s also where he first encountered government overregulation. The countless frivolous and redundant rules, as well as the taxes small businesses like his were burdened with, spurred Kevin’s interest in public service. When Kevin sold his business, he used the profits to put himself through college and graduate school. He received both his undergraduate degree and his Masters in Business Administration from California State University, Bakersfield.
During college, Kevin accepted an internship with then-Congressman Bill Thomas, and soon became a member of Congressman Thomas’s staff. Kevin won his first election in 2000 as Trustee to the Kern Community College District. In 2002, McCarthy was elected to represent the 32nd Assembly District in the California State Assembly. As a freshman legislator, he was selected unanimously by his Republican colleagues to serve as the Assembly Republican Leader, becoming the first freshman legislator and the first legislator from Kern County to assume the top Republican post in the California State Assembly. Kevin worked with his colleagues in the Assembly and Senate and with the Governor to reduce California’s budget deficit, overhaul the state worker’s compensation system and enhance California’s business climate to create more opportunities for California workers and businesses until he ran for Congress in 2006.
Kevin brings his personal experience as a small business owner and as an effective leader in the statehouse to Washington D.C. In his role as Majority Whip, Kevin leads the effort in Congress to advance common sense policies that will put America back on the path to prosperity. Since gaining control of the House in November 2010, Kevin and his Republican colleagues have blocked the largest tax increase in American history, cut out-of-control government spending by historic levels and passed numerous pieces of legislation that will help create jobs in America. These bills reduce the burden on small businesses, increase our nation’s energy security by promoting domestic energy production, knock down barriers for small business owners to access capital and help increase certainty for the private sector.
Kevin will continue to fight to get Washington’s fiscal house in order while promoting policies that empower the private sector to invest and create jobs.
When Kevin is not in Washington fighting for the constituents of California’s 23rd District and for the future of America, he is home in Bakersfield with his wife Judy and two children Connor and Meghan.