My Take: House Acts to Address Human Trafficking
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, including North Texas.
Human trafficking – mostly of women and children – is a growing concern in Fort Worth. Incidents of trafficking are on the rise across Texas and the Dallas/Fort Worth area has some of the highest case numbers in the state, second only to Houston.
Texas is one of the top two states in the nation for human trafficking, and our community is a favorite target for traffickers 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.
A recent University of Texas report estimates there are more than 300,000 victims of human trafficking across the state, including almost 79,000 children victims of sex trafficking and nearly 234,000 adult victims of labor trafficking.
As the former Chairwoman 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 human trafficking and seen firsthand the emotional devastation caused by being forced into slavery as a child.
We are working in the House to end modern slavery. Since January, we have passed 16 bills to provide greater support for trafficking victims and additional resources for law enforcement to enable them to go after traffickers, including three this week:
- Enhancing Detection of Human Trafficking Act (HR 2664) - would ensure the U.S. Department of Labor effectively trains its employees to respond to human trafficking;
- Empowering Law Enforcement to Fight Sex Trafficking Demand Act (HR 2480) - would enable states and local governments to use Justice Department 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.
We must do everything we can to protect the most vulnerable among us. While legislation alone will not end human trafficking, these bills reflect my continued commitment to eradicating this scourge and giving victims a chance at a brighter future.
Member of Congress