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Robert P.
Republican NC 9

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  • Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015

    by Representative Robert Pittenger

    Posted on 2015-01-27

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    PITTENGER. Mr. Speaker, I thank Judge Poe for his great leadership in this very important area. It is so encouraging to see the bipartisan commitment. Thank you, Congresswoman Lee and Congresswoman Maloney, for your strong support.

    When I came to Congress, it was my perception that human trafficking was a concern found in other parts of the world, certainly not in North Carolina. After talking to our law enforcement, I found out that North Carolina was within the top 10 States for human trafficking.

    As such, I realized that we needed to take care of our own in our own region and hosted a meeting for public officials, church leaders at the Billy Graham Center. We brought in wonderful organizations, Compassion to Act, Justice & Mercy, Neet's Sweets, and others who have been there on behalf of these women.

    There are so many important ways that we can provide safety, security, a safe haven for these precious young girls that have been brought into slavery.

    Human trafficking is one of the most tragic issues plaguing our world today. Nearly 21 million human beings are living in modern-day slavery, including domestic servitude, forced labor, and sex work. As a nation, we have both a moral and a constitutional obligation to protect the most vulnerable in our society from this horrific exploitation.

    I therefore urge all my colleagues today to join in supporting the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015 presented by Congressman Poe. We need to ensure that we can provide to these young, domestic human trafficking victims the support that they need.

    This week, yes, we in the House will devote ourselves to raising awareness of this heinous crime and passing legislation to take significant steps toward the eradication of trafficking, both domestically and abroad.

    However, even as Human Trafficking Awareness Month draws to a close, our dedication must not waver. I thank the chairman for his leadership, and I thank my colleagues for their support.

    Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, I will close. I yield myself such time as I may consume.

    The previous speaker indicated that we are in the national month acknowledging and recognizing the gravity of human trafficking, and I believe that it calls upon us to stand by the most vulnerable who really can't help themselves.

    My last comment before yielding was the demand for commercial sex is a primary cause of the human rights violation of human trafficking, so eliminating that violation requires the elimination of the demand.

    What I might not have added, which a number of Members have said, is the violence that goes along with sex trafficking and human trafficking, the violence that goes along when some entity--a person called a pimp, which is an old-time term, really becomes an abuser, a violent abuser and abuses the frail, small body of a little girl or boy because they really haven't risen to the occasion, provided them with their daily infusion of dollars to continue to do their dastardly work.

    As I have heard mentioned on this floor, we are not alone here in the United States. For those of us who met the victims of sex trafficking and human trafficking around the world, we understand that America's standards will help others.

    What is good about what we are doing today and the underlying bill is that we set a standard that the world can look at, that we are not going to tolerate or be sufferers of the abuse of little children.

    Yesterday, as I listened to a great success story spoken about by the Prime Minister of Jamaica, relating their economic success, she was willing to talk about Jamaica's concerted effort at fighting human trafficking.

    An island where it might be easy for that trafficker to move from one place to the next, here was a leader of government acknowledging the scourge of human trafficking and that Jamaican children were suffering and subjected to sex trafficking and that it remains a serious problem, but we are going to fight it.

    I felt very good about that because you would think that an island that is very much dependent on tourism and entertainment would not have that calling and that cause; but, yes, the fight is spreading.

    I believe the Jamaican Government should be congratulated, and I ask other governments to take heed of the underlying legislation, rise to the standard, be part of the total elimination of cutting into the lives of children, of little boys, of little girls, of cutting them off from any kind of aspirations and hope that they could ever have.

    Maybe we don't necessarily connect it, but we know the story of the three women that were held for a period of time in our own Nation. Some started out as children. When they were ultimately found, they were women. One cannot help note that the violence that they described was a vile sex trafficking, human trafficking episode. We don't know how many around the Nation that are today, as we stand on the floor of the House, suffering.

    I thank Representative Poe. I thank my colleague Representative Maloney and committee staff on both sides of the aisle to help address this issue, and as well, I am glad that this particular legislation will set a standard that this dastardly series of acts will not be suffered by any human being not only in this Nation, but around the world.

    With that, I ask support for H.R. 181 and yield back the balance of my time.

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