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Martha M.
Republican AZ 2

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  • Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation Act of 2015

    by Representative Martha McSally

    Posted on 2015-01-27

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    McSALLY. Madam Speaker, I would like to thank Chairman Sensenbrenner, Congresswoman Wagner, and all the other Members for their hard work on this important legislation put forward last night and today to combat human trafficking.

    Human trafficking is a 21st century form of slavery, and it is devastating lives across the country. In Arizona's Second Congressional District, a lack of resources to identify victims, prevent instances of trafficking, and prosecute those who participate leads to many young girls and boys being victimized by these traffickers.

    I spoke very recently with Jerry Peyton, the founder of an organization called Sold No More, dedicated to ending trafficking in Tucson, Arizona. Jerry experienced the devastation of trafficking firsthand in his own family. His daughter Lisa, who was a high school honors student, ran away from home after the death of her boyfriend, where she quickly was preyed upon by traffickers and forced into smuggling and prostitution. Jerry found his daughter living with five men who ran a drug ring and was able to rescue her, yet the police never apprehended the men who victimized Lisa. The only police record of this innocent reads: ``A juvenile returned to the custody of her parents.'' Jerry's family's experiences highlight the growing need for resources to train law enforcement to identify and respond to instances of trafficking. He told me that in Pima County there is not a single law enforcement officer in any agency dedicated full-time to the trafficking issue.

    Before 2010, there had not been a single case of sex trafficking in Pima County, despite arrests for prostitution that treat victims like criminals. When they place online ads in back pages for clearly young victims, within 24 hours, there are 100 calls that come in looking to exploit these victims. This is wrong.

    We can start raising awareness of trafficking by changing the perception of trafficking victims. It is estimated that only about 10 percent of those trafficked in our country have come across the border. The overwhelming majority are runaways and vulnerable children who are preyed upon.

    {time} 1345 These are our neighbors being trafficked in our communities, not some distant far-off place. Under the surface of our communities, sex trafficking is a prevalent and devastating reality. Widely-attended events like the Super Bowl coming up in Glendale, Arizona, or the annual gem show in Tucson act as a magnet for traffickers and, unfortunately, their victims.

    It is critical that we pass this bill to prosecute all offenders who victimize and participate and advertise, including online, in the trafficking of children. We also must support efforts to raise awareness and educate those who work in law enforcement, health care, child protective services, and elsewhere to prevent all trafficking, give law enforcement the tools they need to be proactive, and care for the victims after they have been rescued.

    I support this legislation and the 11 other bills put forward to combat human trafficking, and I urge support from my colleagues.

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