Washington, DC – Congresswoman Kay Granger on Wednesday joined her House colleagues in standing up for victims of human trafficking and providing law enforcement additional resources to better protect vulnerable women and children from exploitation and slavery.
“The enslavement of humans for the purpose of prostitution or forced labor is not something we think about as happening here in America, but the truth is that human trafficking affects every region of our country. North Texas is not immune,” Granger said. “The legislation we passed today will help crack down on human traffickers and strengthen protections for at-risk youth.”
A recent University of Texas report estimates there are more than 300,000 victims of human trafficking in Texas, including almost 79,000 children victims of sex trafficking and nearly 234,000 adult victims of labor trafficking.
The House on Wednesday passed three bills targeting human traffickers:
- Enhancing Detection of Human Trafficking Act (HR 2664) would ensure the U.S. Department of Labor effectively trains its employees to recognize and respond to the illegal trade of people for exploitation or commercial gain;
- Empowering Law Enforcement to Fight Sex Trafficking Demand Act (HR 2480) would enable states and local governments to use Justice Department Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grants to combat human trafficking;
- Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act (HR 2200) would reauthorize $130 million for the prevention of human trafficking, protection of victims, and prosecution of traffickers.
Nationwide, incidents of human trafficking rose 35.7 percent in 2016 over the previous year, according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. The hotline received 7,572 reports of trafficking in America last year. Texas was the state with the second highest number of cases with 670.
Since its founding in 2007, the hotline has received 145,764 reports of human trafficking across the United States.
The International Labor Organization estimates that 20.9 million people are trafficked globally. Of those, 68 percent are subjected to forced labor, 26 percent are children and 55 percent are women and girls.
“We must do better to protect the most vulnerable among us,” Granger said. “While legislation alone will not solve human trafficking, these bills reflect our continued commitment as a caucus to eradicating this scourge and giving victims a chance at a brighter future.”