Human trafficking has become a major problem in America, with adults and young people forced into prostitution and unpaid labor in our own backyard at an alarming rate.
North Texas is a favorite target for modern-day slavers because of its relative proximity to the border and the convenient access to major highways and airports that make transporting victims to the rest of the country easy. In fact, 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.
Every night across America, human traffickers prey on lost boys and girls, selling them through force or coercion for sex in big cities and small towns from coast to coast. Human trafficking has become a major human rights crisis that is overwhelming the limited resources of our local law enforcement agencies and destroying the lives of a generation of victims. In fact, just last month police rescued 15 young women right here in the metroplex.
This past week, I met with a staff member who works at TCU’s Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development, which strives to help children suffering from the effects of early trauma, abuse and/or neglect. I learned of the incredible work they do to deepen understanding about the complex needs of these children and how to help them overcome social, behavioral, and emotional challenges. This is very important work and will make a real difference in our community.
As a senior member of the House State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee and co-chair of the House Human Trafficking Caucus, I have met with the victims of trafficking and witnessed the emotional devastation caused by being forced into slavery.
In Washington, we’ve taken action to stop the scourge of human trafficking. Since the beginning of last year, the House has passed dozens of bills to fight human trafficking. As a result, online advertising for commercial sex trafficking has decreased by 60-80%. This is an important step to fight human trafficking.
I’m also pleased that the Trump Administration is taking action. Just yesterday, President Trump called a meeting of President’s Interagency Task Force (PITF) to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. The President rightly noted that “Our country will not rest until we have put these vile organizations out of business and rescued every last victim.” He said that “We will not stop until we have stamped out the menace of human trafficking once and for all.” I couldn’t agree more.
We must do everything we can to protect the most vulnerable among us. We must continue to give victims a chance at a brighter future.
Member of Congress