POV: Human trafficking happens here, and it’s time to end it

This week, the House overwhelmingly voted to end human trafficking.

House Republicans took to the pages of newspapers across the country to remind readers that human trafficking isn’t something that only happens in foreign countries.

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Fighting to Protect Youth in Foster Care from Sex Trafficking
-Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee Dave Reichert (R-WA)

“Sex trafficking has become an epidemic, not just abroad as we often think, but right here in the United States. It is an epidemic of tragic and disturbing proportions, and we have left some of our own far too vulnerable to this crime – our children in foster care.

“I didn’t know this experience would become such a critical asset in Congress, but shortly after assuming the role of Chairman, we began holding hearings and soliciting public input on the state of this country’s foster care system. One thing that became quickly apparent was that foster children are a group frequently overlooked, but one of the most vulnerable, when it comes to sex trafficking.

“My legislation that passed the House of Representatives yesterday, the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Improving Opportunities for Youth in Foster Care Act, makes serious strides to correct these oversights and instruct states to gather data and report on instances of sex trafficking. “

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We Must Stop Human Trafficking
-Chair of the House Committee on Administration Candice Miller (R-MI)

“Human depravity takes many forms. But it is hard to imagine one more repugnant than that in which vulnerable children are coerced into prostitution by adults. Sadly, we don’t have to imagine it; it is reality.

“Traffickers prey on vulnerable or desperate young people by offering promises of employment, protection or a better life. They cruelly betray those promises, providing instead intimidation, physical punishment and deprivation.

“Their actions are truly contemptible, and negatively impact the lives of their child victims forever.

“They are also intolerable. We can demonstrate they won’t be tolerated by concerted and coordinated action to drive human traffickers out of business and into prison.”

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‘Modern Day Slavery’: America must fight epidemic of human trafficking here at home
-By Rep. Diane Black (R-TN)

The federal government reports that as many as 17,500 people are trafficked into our country annually, and these estimates do not even capture the number of individuals trafficked within our borders each year.

As a mother and grandmother, the thought of children being forced into what the federal government and outside experts call “a modern-day form of slavery” is terrifying and unacceptable, which if why Congress has worked over the past 15 years to combat the epidemic of human trafficking. 

While the American people are rightfully focused on their economic security and the current job market, as their Representatives,  we also must work where we can to protect those most vulnerable to these barbaric trafficking crimes — after all, this is happening closer to home than we may think. “

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Education, resources and collaboration are key to preventing human trafficking
-Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV) and Assemblyman John Hambrick (R-NV)

“We must focus on three main areas to achieve our dual goals of ending human trafficking and protecting and assisting the victims.

“First, we must ensure that law enforcement officials, the judiciary and victim support programs have the resources to combat human trafficking as well as to assist victims. 

“Next, we must crack down on human trafficking advertising, especially advertising done on the Internet, to cut off access to the supply of individuals trafficked for commercial sex acts and domestic labor. 

“Finally, we must educate our community about the very real dangers of human trafficking, especially child sex trafficking.

“The key is collaboration between federal and state elected officials and close consultation with law enforcement and victim advocacy groups. We encourage everyone to arm themselves with information about how to keep their friends and family safe from human trafficking and to aid those who have been its victims.”

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Both parties agree: Time to end human trafficking
-By Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) and Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA)

“Members of Congress are more than members of political parties. We are mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles, and grandmothers and grandfathers.  And this common bond unites us together stronger than the bonds of partisanship. We absolutely must protect our nation’s children just as we protect the children who are in our homes and in our families.

“A national problem requires a national answer. Members of Congress from both sides are working across the aisle to advance a number of bills to prevent trafficking, protect and serve victims, and prosecute exploiters.

“When it comes to helping the children most in need, we have removed our partisan blinders to focus on well thought-out and practical solutions.”

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“House takes aim at human trafficking”
By Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH)

“Bring Back Our Girls. This phrase is echoing around the world as we learn more about the horror in Nigeria, where hundreds of schoolgirls were kidnapped.

“These girls were kidnapped from a boarding school, where they were studying to better their future through the promise of education. 

“The House of Representatives took action Tuesday to fight back against the scourge that is human trafficking. Half a dozen bills were passed that take aim at modern trafficking networks and the individuals who seek to exploit and abuse women and children. We will help victims reclaim their lives as well.

“There is no magic bullet to end this modern-day slavery, but heightened public attention, increased collaboration among governments and a commitment to every life will help the millions who suffer. “