Combating Human Traffickingby Representative Randy Hultgren
Posted on 2015-01-26
HULTGREN. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to join my colleagues in
recognition of Human Trafficking Awareness Month and Human Trafficking
Awareness Week here in the House of Representatives.
I especially want to thank my good friend and colleague from Missouri, Ann Wagner, for hosting tonight's Special Order.
Today, human trafficking represents a modern form of slavery. It is a crisis that victimizes 21 million people worldwide. In my home State of Illinois, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center estimates that 25,000 women and girls are exploited each year by sex traffickers. Because of its strategic location as a major transportation and commercial center, Chicago has become a major national hub for human trafficking.
As a member of the Congressional Human Trafficking Task Force, we are working to coordinate the efforts of the congressional leadership and international anti-trafficking groups to punish perpetrators, rescue and bring hope to victims, and assist nations in their fight against the global epidemic of trafficking in human beings.
Through legislation like that which the House will bring to the floor this week, I am pleased to see this body take critical steps to target the perpetrators of human trafficking and enhance efforts toward eradicating it.
Later this week, I will be reintroducing my own bill, the Sex Trafficking Demand Reduction Act. Evidence suggests a clear link between the purchase of commercial sex and the prevalence of sex trafficking in a society. Where there is a robust demand for commercial sex, human trafficking as an industry and practice thrives as well. The Sex Trafficking Demand Reduction Act highlights this link and requires national governments to factor in their efforts to combat demand as part of their overall fight against human trafficking.
Human trafficking is the most insidious of criminal enterprises. It targets the youngest and most vulnerable in society, stealing their innocence and depriving them of any hope of escaping a downward spiral of depravity and despair. Thankfully, we are all becoming increasingly aware of the extent of human trafficking and the magnitude of the effects on its victims. Through the persistent efforts of international anti-human trafficking groups, national, State, and local governments, the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, and dedicated individuals concerned about the communities in which they live, we have made sustained inroads towards eradicating the scourge of human trafficking. We can envision the day when human trafficking will no longer represent a blight on humanity, a day when victims will experience complete restoration.
Again, I want to thank my colleague from Missouri (Mrs. Wagner) for this opportunity to speak.