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Tim W.
Republican MI 7

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  • Strengthening Child Welfare Response to 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. 469) to amend the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act to enable State child protective services [[Page H550]] systems to improve the identification and assessment of child victims of sex trafficking, and for other purposes.



    The Clerk read the title of the bill.

    The text of the bill is as follows: H.R. 469 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 ``Strengthening Child Welfare Response to Trafficking Act of 2015''.

    SEC. 2. CAPTA AMENDMENTS.

    Section 106 of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (42 U.S.C. 5106a) is amended-- (1) in subsection (b)-- (A) in paragraph (2)(B)-- (i) by striking ``and'' at the end of clause (xxii); and (ii) by adding at the end the following: ``(xxiv) provisions and procedures to identify and assess reports involving children who are sex trafficking victims, and which may include provisions and procedures to identify and assess reports involving children who are victims of severe forms of trafficking in persons described in section of 103(9)(B) of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 7102(9)(B)); ``(xxv) provisions and procedures for training representatives of the State child protective services systems about identifying and assessing children who are sex trafficking victims, and which may include provisions and procedures for such training with respect to children who are victims of severe forms of trafficking in persons described in section 103(9)(B) of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 7102(9)(B)); and ``(xxvi) provisions and procedures for identifying services (including the services provided by State law enforcement officials, the State juvenile justice system, and social service agencies, such as runaway and homeless youth shelters) and procedures for appropriate referral to address the needs of children who are sex trafficking victims, and which may include provisions and procedures for the identification of such services and procedures with respect to children who are victims of severe forms of trafficking in persons described in section 103(9)(B) of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 7102(9)(B));''; (B) in paragraph (2)(D)-- (i) by striking ``and'' at the end of clause (v); (ii) by inserting ``and'' at the end of clause (vi); and (iii) by adding at the end the following: ``(vii) the provisions and procedures described in clauses (xxiv) and (xxvi) of subparagraph (B);''; and (C) in paragraph (4)-- (i) by striking ``and'' at the end of subparagraph (A); (ii) by striking the period at the end of subparagraph (B) and inserting ``; and''; and (iii) by adding at the end the following: ``(C) Sex trafficking victim.--The term `sex trafficking victim' means a victim of-- ``(i) sex trafficking (as defined in section 103(10) of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 7102(10))); or ``(ii) a severe form of trafficking in persons described in section 103(9)(A) of such Act (22 U.S.C. 7102(9)(A)).''; and (2) in subsection (d), by adding at the end the following: ``(17) The number of children identified under clause (xxiv) of subsection (b)(2)(B), and of such children-- ``(A) the number identified as sex trafficking victims (as defined in subsection (b)(4)(C)); and ``(B) in the case of a State that has provisions and procedures to identify children who are victims of severe forms of trafficking in persons described in section 103(9)(B) of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 7102(9)(B)), the number so identified.''.

    SEC. 3. REPORT TO CONGRESS.

    (a) Report.--Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall submit to the Committee on Education and the Workforce of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the Senate, a report that-- (1) describes the specific type and prevalence of severe form of trafficking in persons to which children who are identified for services or intervention under the placement, care, or supervision of State, Indian tribe, or tribal organization child welfare agencies have been subjected as of the date of enactment of this Act; (2) summarizes the practices and protocols utilized by States to identify and serve-- (A) under section 106(b)(2)(B) of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (42 U.S.C. 5106a(b)(2)(B)), children who are victims of trafficking; and (B) children who are at risk of becoming victims of trafficking; and (3) specifies any barriers in Federal laws or regulations that may prevent identification and assessment of children who are victims of trafficking, including an evaluation of the extent to which States are able to address the needs of such trafficked children without altering the definition of child abuse and neglect under section 3 of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (42 U.S.C. 5101 note).

    (b) Definitions.--For purposes of this section: (1) Severe form of trafficking in persons.--The term ``severe form of trafficking in persons'' has the meaning given the term in section 103(9) of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 7102(9)).

    (2) Victim of trafficking.--The term ``victim of trafficking'' has the meaning given the term in section 103(15) of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 7102(15)).

    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. 469.

    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 Strengthening Child Welfare Response to Trafficking Act, and I yield myself such time as I may consume.

    Mr. Speaker, domestic child trafficking is a serious problem, sadly, in the United States. Around 300,000 American youth are at risk of sexual commercial exploitation and trafficking each year. That is why the House of Representatives is considering a number of bills this week that seek to ensure that human trafficking victims are treated as victims and have access to the services they desperately need.

    As a Member of Congress, I have worked on legislation to help address this problem in the past and will continue that important work this year. I have also held local roundtables in Michigan with victims, advocacy, and law enforcement groups to do everything I can to work with my communities to address this heinous crime.

    The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimates that 68 percent of likely sex trafficking victims were involved in the child welfare system at one time. Instead of properly identifying and assisting trafficked and exploited children, these children are often sent to the juvenile justice system, where they are labeled and treated as criminals. These innocent victims are victimized by the very system that was designed to protect them.

    That is why, Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 469. The Strengthening Child Welfare Response to Trafficking Act of 2015 will help protect child victims by improving practices within State child welfare systems to identify, assess, and document sex trafficking victims. The House passed this legislation by a voice vote last summer, and I thank my colleague, Congresswoman Karen Bass, for her work on this important legislation again this Congress.

    H.R. 469 amends the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act to direct States to implement and maintain procedures to identify and assess reports involving children who are victims of sex trafficking.

    The bill also requires that States train child protective services workers on how to identify these children and the services necessary to meet their needs, and it would improve reporting on the number of children identified as sex trafficking victims.

    Mr. Speaker, this bill requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to report on the type and prevalence of youth trafficking victims in the welfare system, provide a summary of State practices for serving youth trafficking victims, and report on any barriers in Federal law that prevent identification and assessment of youth victims of trafficking.

    It is imperative that we continue to pass legislation that helps victims of both labor and sex trafficking, to ensure that victims receive the services they need to escape a life of abuse.

    Again, I would like to thank Congresswoman Karen Bass and Chairman Kline of the Education and the Workforce Committee for their work on this important bill.

    I urge my colleagues to vote in favor of H.R. 469, and I reserve the balance of my time.

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