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Combating Human Traffickingby Representative Mark Walker
Posted on 2015-01-26
WALKER. Mr. Speaker, I thank Congresswoman Wagner for her work in
organizing this Special Order, and I also thank Representative Mark
Meadows in allowing us to lead with such an important piece of
It was only a week ago that we celebrated the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., who famously said: ``Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.'' We now have the opportunity to act upon one of the greatest injustices of our time--the growing criminal industry of human trafficking.
All across America, vulnerable young men, women, children, and even entire families, are being victimized and exploited in unspeakable ways. These precious human beings are seen by their traffickers as a commodity, valued only for the profit they can turn. We must not remain silent about such depravity. Rather, we must engage with immediate fervor on this significant humanitarian crisis.
Victims of human trafficking can literally be hidden in plain sight. However, we know that the United States is considered a leading destination for human traffickers. It is a top source of income for organized crime and involves more than half the street gangs in our Nation. From our big cities to our small towns, this billion-dollar industry is here. And unless we move [[Page H560]] quickly, it will be here for some time. It is growing, and it must be eradicated.
Law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and nonprofit groups such as Alamance for Freedom in my own Sixth Congressional District of North Carolina are on the front lines of this battle, and they are pleading for our help. Here in Congress, we hear your voices. Most importantly, we hear the voices of those trapped in this evil, modern-day slavery.
There is an immediate need for training that will enable officers and agents to identify and rescue victims of human trafficking.
Last week, I introduced my first bill, H.R. 460, the Human Trafficking Detection Act of 2015. This bipartisan legislation works to effectively train and inform the Department of Homeland Security personnel to better detect and intercept human traffickers and their victims.
We took an oath a few weeks ago promising to protect the people of this great country. I am convinced that part of this high calling is to protect those who are victims of human trafficking. Our President even says that the fight against human trafficking is one of the greatest human rights causes of our time, and the United States will continue to lead it. Well, now is the time to lead.
This bill will provide the very necessary training skills in identifying victims of human trafficking as they enter and move about across this country. It is not a final step, but an important one that can immediately save these precious individuals from years of abuse. Let us do so with boldness, courage, and an unflinching dedication to those who need us the most.