House Republicans promised we’d do big things this year. We’re upholding our promises, including our promise to keep the American people safe.
Human trafficking impacts every region of our country, and has no place in a civilized society — especially a society that so strongly values freedom. So the House has made a commitment to help victims, punish traffickers, prevent trafficking, and aid law enforcement.
To date, we’ve passed 16 bipartisan bills that do just that — including three yesterday:
- Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI)’s Enhancing Detection of Human Trafficking Act (H.R. 2664)
- Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO)’s Empowering Law Enforcement to Fight Sex Trafficking Demand Act
- Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ)’s Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act
The House stands with the Trump administration, victims, and law enforcement to crack down on trafficking and strengthen protections for at-risk communities.
Here’s a look at how House Republicans are front and center on combating this growing tragedy:
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI):
“Human trafficking is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the world. It’s a sinister enterprise that strikes at the very heart of our communities.
“Here with me today are Republicans and Democrats from all walks of life in our country. This is truly a national problem, and that means it’s going to take a national effort to solve it.
“We want law enforcement to have every possible resource to protect our citizens. And we want to give real support—and a voice—to the victims of these awful crimes.
“So today the House is taking more action to end human trafficking. And we are going to keep at this, because it is about the safety and security of our children and our country.”
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ):
“…in Minsk, the OSCE-PA – made up of over 300 lawmakers from 56 countries – overwhelmingly adopted my amendment to help combat anti-Semitism and my resolution to battle online child exploitation and trafficking.
Having worked both domestically and internationally on these two human rights issues, I am encouraged we had such an outpouring of support as we continue to work toward ending these abuses. As the Special Representative on Human Trafficking at the OSCE-PA, I have led the efforts over the years on numerous successful resolutions, enlisting more countries into our fight to protect women and children worldwide.”
Rep. John Faso (R-NY):
“Despite many preconceived notions, human trafficking is not a problem that is isolated to foreign soil. It is a crisis at our doorstep. In the past decade there have been close to 150,000 reports of human trafficking in America. This is unacceptable. That is why I am proud of the work we have done in the House to fight this scourge, protect women and children, and seek justice for victims, in particular the three bills we passed this week,” said Rep. Faso. “These efforts also include provisions to support the international law enforcement effort against trafficking because we cannot sit idly by while countries like China and Iran shield the criminals shredding human rights. There is still a lot of work to be done, but the passage of these bills represents an important step in the right direction and I was proud to support them.”
Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA):
“Sex trafficking is not something that only happens in foreign countries or in underprivileged communities, it is happening right here under our noses and in our neighborhoods. Prior to coming to Congress, I spent much of my career trying to help young women and children who had been taken against their will and forced into horrific situations. Now, I am committed to continuing the fight in Congress and today I was proud to join my colleagues in the House in supporting three anti-trafficking bills that will work to better equip law enforcement and government agencies with the resources and tools to identify and combat trafficking across the country and globe.”
Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC):
“Human trafficking is one of the greatest injustices of our time, and it is happening in our own backyard. That is why from day one in Congress, we have worked hard to stop this unconscionable industry. Last Congress, we passed our bill, the Human Trafficking Detection Act, to better detect and intercept human traffickers and their victims. In June, we continued our ongoing efforts by introducing the BRIGHT Act to ensure the abhorrent crime of human trafficking is treated with the seriousness it deserves. [This] week, the House [passed] three more bills to prevent these crimes and protect its victims. Thank you Sheriff Johnson and the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office for your efforts to combat this and keep our community safe.”
Education and Workforce Committee Chair Virginia Foxx (R-NC) on the Floor:
“Over the past few years, we have only begun to comprehend the horrors of human trafficking and how it established a foothold in this country. Thanks to the vigilance of faith-based groups, humanitarians across the globe, and the courage of survivors, we are learning more about the tactics and loopholes human traffickers exploit to prey on the most vulnerable among us. …this is an issue that demands our ongoing attention. More solutions are needed. And that’s why we’re here today — to build on the bipartisan work we’ve already accomplished. The Department of Labor has a unique vantage point for spotting violations in workplaces that can be tell-tale signs of modern slavery and labor exploitation. This bill equips DOL personnel to form partnerships with law enforcement to detect and address signs of human trafficking in America’s workplaces. If we can shed light in any corner where this evil may lurk, we must.
I commend Mr. Walberg’s leadership on this issue, and Mr. Sablan for working with him so passionately. I am proud that the Committee on Education and the Workforce could do its part to support their work and bring this bill to the floor.”
Rep. Ryan Costello (R-PA) on the Floor:
“We know human trafficking is a serious problem all over the world, but it is not a distant concept. It exists in communities all across this country. Last year in Pennsylvania alone, there were over 150 human trafficking cases reported and labor trafficking was the second highest type of trafficking in the commonwealth. We should and must do all that we can to stop this disgusting activity.”
Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL):
“Human trafficking is the fastest-growing criminal industry that affects more than 20 million victims around the world and right here in Illinois,” said Davis. “The National Human Trafficking Hotline reported roughly 7,500 cases last year – 2,000 more than the previous year. Illinois now has the eighth highest human trafficking cases reported among states. We cannot sit idly by as this problem continues to grow in our state and in our country. Passing these bills will help the thousands of victims of crimes we couldn’t stop and hopefully prevent future women and children in our communities from becoming victims.”
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Ed Royce (R-CA) on the Floor:
“Human trafficking is modern-day slavery.
Traffickers around the world abuse and exploit millions – especially women and girls – for commercial gain. According to credible estimates, more than 20 million people are currently victimized by sex trafficking and forced labor. It’s a coercive, multi-billion dollar industry that destroys families and communities, strengthens criminal networks, and tramples human dignity.
This plague is global, and is not limited to the developing world. At the regular meetings of the Human Trafficking Congressional Advisory Committee I set up in Southern California nearly four years ago, I have met with brave survivors who endured forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation in my home state.
I think of Angela Guanzon locked into her abusive workplace, sleeping on the hallway floor. I think of Carissa Phelps being sold on the streets of Fresno at the age of 12 by a violent pimp. Meeting them showed me and many others that the horror of trafficking lies not in statistics, but in stolen lives….”
House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA):
“the People’s House has taken important action and it’s bipartisan– it’s Republicans and Democrats taking a stand and saying we are committed to ending human trafficking in America. …I am so grateful for local organizations in Spokane that are taking action. Lutheran Community Services and the Mosaic Center and HRC Ministries and so many others that are dedicated at a local level to help those who are getting caught in this web.
They need help, at a state and a federal level. That’s why this effort today is so important. I want to join and reinforce that we’ve already passed 13 bills to end human trafficking this Congress, and this week will be passing three more. Great work by Representative Chris Smith, Vicky Hartzler, Tim Walberg, but everyone here has been a part of making sure we’re taking this important action. Thank you everyone very much.”
Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) in the Herald-Tribune:
“At the hearing I co-chaired with Democrat Alcee Hastings of Fort Lauderdale, we spoke with several Florida experts on ways to combat this vile and monstrous crime. One of the witnesses was Elizabeth Fisher, founder and head of Selah Freedom, a national anti-sex-trafficking nonprofit based in Sarasota. Ms. Fisher briefed the members on her group’s efforts to help more than 2,000 young women in the Suncoast region. She also shared the harrowing story of a Bradenton girl who was trafficked from 11 years old up until she was 26. The scope of the global problem is staggering: 27 million people are caught in the modern slave industry, which turns billions of dollars in profits for the heinous individuals behind these crimes.”
Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA):
“This morning Sophia and I visited Bon Secour’s Forensic Nursing Unit. The program began 25 years ago and serves children and adults who are victims of violence, including child sexual and physical abuse, adult sexual assault, domestic violence, elder abuse and human trafficking. The program serves over 20 jurisdictions and has expert medical staff on hand 24/7.
Forensic nurses provide initial crisis intervention, assessments, and medications. The team at Bon Secours performs evidence collections and are available to testify as expert witnesses in court. Forensic nurses provide leadership and education to attorneys, police, EMTs, teachers, physicians and other health care providers, and many others, with the goal of identifying and assisting those who report being victims of violence. These health care professionals provide a tremendous service to vulnerable patients in our community.”
Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) on the Floor:
“Today the House of Representatives will consider three critical bills that will continue efforts to reduce and eliminate human trafficking and implement a stronger detection system for American families. I appreciate the leadership of Congressman Chris Smith, Congressman Tim Walberg, and Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler for their work to build a more effective system to apprehend traffickers. As we take steps at the national level to prevent trafficking, equip local officials, and support vulnerable communities.”
House Judiciary Committee Chair Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) on the Floor:
“Today, Mr. Speaker, we continue our battle against the scourge of human trafficking with H.R. 2480, the Empowering Law Enforcement to Fight Sex Trafficking Demand Act. …Mr. Speaker, there is no question that the fight against human trafficking starts at the local level. It infects every community and our local officials and law enforcement are on the front lines in this battle. They are in the best position to assess how to address this issue in their communities and how to use these taxpayer dollars. As part of any comprehensive approach in combating trafficking, local government and law enforcement must address what many call the ‘demand issue’ – that is, going after those who are buying young victims off the street, and very often, off the Internet. This is simple economics applied to a horrific crime. …We cannot tolerate sex trafficking and must be able to act swiftly to combat this horrific crime. H.R. 2480 ensures our communities will be able to do just that.”