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Tim W.
Republican MI 7

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  • Enhancing Services for Runaway and Homeless Victims of Youth Trafficking Act of 2015

    by Representative Tim Walberg

    Posted on 2015-01-26

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    WALBERG. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill (H.R. 468) to amend the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act to increase knowledge concerning, and improve services for, runaway and homeless youth who are victims of trafficking.



    The Clerk read the title of the bill.

    The text of the bill is as follows: H.R. 468 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Enhancing Services for Runaway and Homeless Victims of Youth Trafficking Act of 2015''.

    SEC. 2. AMENDMENTS.

    The Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (42 U.S.C. 5701 et seq.) is amended-- (1) in section 343(b)(5)-- (A) in subparagraph (A) by inserting ``, severe forms of trafficking in persons (as defined in section 103(9) of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 7102(9))), and sex trafficking (as defined in section 103(10) of such Act (22 U.S.C. 7102(10)))'' before the semicolon at the end; (B) in subparagraph (B) by inserting ``, severe forms of trafficking in persons (as defined in section 103(9) of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 7102(9))), and sex trafficking (as defined in section 103(10) of such Act (22 U.S.C. 7102(10)))'' after ``assault''; and (C) in subparagraph (C) by inserting ``, including such youth who are victims of trafficking (as defined in section 103(15) of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 7102(15)))'' before the semicolon at the end; and (2) in section 351(a) by striking ``or sexual exploitation'' and inserting ``sexual exploitation, severe forms of trafficking in persons (as defined in section 103(9) of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 7102(9))), or sex trafficking (as defined in section 103(10) of such Act (22 U.S.C. 7102(10)))''.

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Walberg) and the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Scott) each will control 20 minutes.

    The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Michigan.

    General Leave Mr. WALBERG. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on H.R. 468.

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Michigan? There was no objection.

    Mr. WALBERG. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the Enhancing Services for Runaway and Homeless Victims of Youth Trafficking Act, and I yield myself such time as I may consume.

    Mr. Speaker, human trafficking is not just a concern in foreign countries. It is happening right here in the United States and many times in our own backyards.

    In Michigan, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has referred more than 13,000 CyberTipline reports of suspected child sexual exploitation to law enforcement.

    Last Congress, I hosted a series of human trafficking forums in my district which brought together county prosecutors, sheriffs, the State police, and members of the southern Michigan Task Force on Human Trafficking to discuss how our community is dealing with these heinous crimes and hear feedback on what additional actions Congress can take to help local law enforcement combat trafficking.

    One of the things I heard at my district roundtables is the need for improved resources for victims' advocacy and support, especially for youth victims and at-risk youth. Federal and State officials, law enforcement, the courts, all of us have a moral obligation to eradicate trafficking and support its victims.

    It will take close coordination between all stakeholders to achieve the dual goals of ending the human trafficking epidemic and assisting the victims. That is why I am an original cosponsor of H.R. 468, the Enhancing Services for Runaway and Homeless Victims of Youth Trafficking Act.

    This legislation will help better serve our most vulnerable youth who are victims of extreme trafficking. This legislation amends the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act to use existing grant resources to train staff on the effects of human trafficking in runaway and homeless youth victims and for developing statewide strategies to reach such youth.

    It also allows the Secretary to utilize the existing Street Outreach Program to provide street-based services for runaway and homeless youth who are victims of trafficking.

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague, Congressman Joe Heck, for his leadership on this bill, as well as the Education and the Workforce Committee chairman, Mr. Kline, and the ranking member, Mr. Scott, for their work on moving this legislation forward. Our Nation's runaway and homeless youth deserve access to services that will help them escape a life of crime, abuse, and neglect.

    Passing this simple fix to the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act will help ensure that those suffering from the trauma of these deplorable crimes [[Page H549]] will have access to the care and support they need.

    I urge my colleagues to vote for H.R. 468, and I reserve the balance of my time.

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