International Megan’s Law to Prevent Demand for Child Sex Traffickingby Representative Sheila Jackson Lee
Posted on 2015-01-26
in the house of representatives
Monday, January 26, 2015
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, as a senior member of the Judiciary and
Homeland Security Committees, I rise in strong support of H.R. 515
International Megan's Law to Prevent Demand for Child Sex Trafficking.
This legislation protects children from exploitation, especially sex trafficking in tourism, by providing advance notice of intended travel by registered child-sex offenders outside the United States to the government of the country of destination, requesting foreign governments to notify the United States when a known child-sex offender is seeking to enter the United States, and for other purposes.
Child sex tourism, where an individual travels to a foreign country and engages in sexual activity with a child in that country, is a form of child exploitation and, where commercial, child sex trafficking.
Human trafficking is a problem for the United States because the U.S. State Department estimates that approximately 17,500 foreign nationals are trafficked into the United States, the largest number of people trafficked into the United States come from East Asia and the Pacific and the next highest numbers coming from Latin America and Europe.
Law enforcement reports indicate that known child-sex offenders are traveling internationally, and that the criminal background of such individuals may not be known to local law enforcement prior to their arrival.
The commercial sexual exploitation of minors in child sex trafficking and pornography is a global phenomenon.
The International Labor Organization has estimated that 1.8 million children worldwide are victims of child sex trafficking and pornography each year.
It is estimated 2.8 million children living on the streets of this nation are at risk for trafficking into the sex industry.
Children who are abused or victims of molestation are most vulnerable.
If they are lured into human trafficking they are isolated from the rest of the world and start living lives controlled by pimps, escort and massage services, private dancing clubs, pornographic clubs and much worse.
The State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons produces the annual Trafficking in Persons Report (``TIP Report''), which is Congress' primary resource for human trafficking reporting, analysis and recommendations for the United States and 186 countries around the world.
These kids are not criminals. They are victims, robbed of their innocence by adult criminals.
They are boys and girls who have been taken advantage of and are unable to escape an ugly system.
I support H.R. 515 because it is focused on helping at-risk and vulnerable children rather than treating them as criminals.
Specifically, the bill requires that state plans for federal grants for child abuse or neglect prevention and treatment: 1. provide procedures to identify and assess all reports involving children known or suspected to be victims of sex trafficking; 2. provide training for child protection service workers to appropriately respond to reports of child sex trafficking; and 3. develop and implement policies and procedures to connect child victims to public or private specialized services.
Additionally, the bill requires States to report annually the numbers of children identified as victims of sex trafficking within the already existing National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System.
H.R. 515 also requires the Department of Health and Human Services to submit a report to Congress outlining the prevalence and type of child trafficking nationwide as well as the current barriers to serving child victims comprehensively.
I strongly support H.R. 515 and urge my colleague to join me in voting for its passage which will help bring an end to the evil practice that is child sex trafficking.