FBI Captures 159 Pimps after Texas Lawmakers Introduce Sex Trafficking Bill
On Monday, the FBI announced a national sweep that resulted in the arrest of 159 pimps and the recovery of 105 children who were being victimized through prostitution.
The FBI reported that four Texas divisions were able to rescue 5 juveniles and arrest 7 pimps through Operation Cross Country.
Just last week, Rep. Ted Poe, Sen. John Cornyn, and Rep. Kay Granger helped introduce legislation that would target individuals who purchase sexual acts, prosecute them as human traffickers, and end the demand.
The End Sex Trafficking Act of 2013 would clarify the range of conduct punished as sex trafficking and would require the Attorney General to “ensure that all task forces and working groups within the Innocence Lost National Initiative engage in activities, programs, or operations to increase the investigative capabilities of the State and local law enforcement officers in the detection, investigation, and prosecution of persons who patronize, or solicit children for sex.”
The three-day FBI enforcement action proves the relevancy of the legislation and goes to show that human trafficking in the United States still needs to be addressed.
Operation Cross Country is part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative, which was established in 2003 by the FBI, the Department of Justice Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
The mission of these organizations is to address the sex trafficking of children in the United States. The initiative has resulted in 66 task forces and working groups that involve federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies working with the U.S. Attorney’s Offices.
More than 2,700 children have been rescued by these groups and investigations have led to the conviction of more than 1,300 individuals who exploit children through prostitution.
According to San Antonio Express-News, 25 percent of American children who are lured into sex trafficking each year live in Texas.
Rep. Ted Poe released the following statement last week stating that the demand for the business needs to be eliminated:
“Human trafficking is modern day slavery, and it is occurring in our own backyard. It’s time for Washington to act. The End Sex Trafficking Act targets the source of this problem: demand. In Economics 101, we all learned that the key to a successful business is demand. The human trafficking “business” is no different. In order to eliminate it, we must target and penalize the buyers. This bill strengthens and clarifies federal law to ensure that buyers of sex from minors and other trafficked victims are arrested, prosecuted, and sentenced where they belong: jail.”
Rep. Kay Granger has seen the permanent devastation of human trafficking and stated that North Texas is a hub for moving victims through the I-35 corridor.
“Those who buy or solicit the services of human trafficking victims drive this criminal business. If we can decrease the demand, the need for a supply will wane as well,” said Granger.
Sen. John Cornyn said he is proud to introduce the legislation that will “build upon the important steps we’ve taken to protect victims and crack down on those that perpetrate these heinous crimes.”
Cornyn believes this bill would reduce the demand for human trafficking by helping law enforcement to target the individuals who purchase sex trafficking victims.