Human Trafficking Awareness Monthby Representative Eric Swalwell
Posted on 2014-01-15
SWALWELL of California asked and was given permission to address
the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. SWALWELL of California. Madam Speaker, I rise to recognize
January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.
As unbelievable as it may sound, it is estimated that 20.9 million people were victims of some form of forced labor, including trafficking, in 2012. Most of these victims, sadly, were women and children. While we may believe or hope to believe that this is happening across oceans, it is actually occurring rampantly across the East Bay. I saw this firsthand when I worked for 7 years as a prosecutor in the Alameda County District Attorney's Office, mostly with victims who were, too often, young teenage girls.
We cannot sit by as millions of people are exploited in this way-- denigrated, demeaned, and disparaged. It is in this month that we recommit ourselves to ending these horrors of slavery and human trafficking once and for all.
My home county of Alameda, under the direction of District Attorney Nancy O'Malley, is doing its part. They run a coordinated effort called H.E.A.T. Watch to fight trafficking. In fact, District Attorney O'Malley recently announced a massive public relations campaign to draw attention to this issue and help victims. I have one of the posters, and I hope people will call (510) 645-9388 if they suspect trafficking is happening. With their hard work and that of people around the world, we can bring trafficking to an end.