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capitalbuilding_120Tom Reed voted to advance five bills in the House aimed at combating human trafficking. Reed, a member of the Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus, says Congress should be doing everything in its power to protect those who are and could become vulnerable to human trafficking.

“As a father and an uncle, I am sickened by the number of human trafficking victims right here in the United States,” Reed said. “Many of these victims are children, some of the most vulnerable among us, and need us to fight to protect and care for them. These bills take proactive steps to prevent human trafficking, give law enforcement and prosecutors the tools they need to combat trafficking and protect the rights of victims.”

Hundreds of thousands of men, women and children are trafficked throughout the world each year with as many as 300,000 U.S. children at risk each year of becoming victims. Human trafficking is a $9 billion a year industry in the United States with online prostitution advertising totaling $45 million in 2013.

“Many think of human trafficking as a devastating problem in other parts of the world but don’t generally see it as being a problem here in the United States,” Reed continued. “We know though that human trafficking is a serious issue in every state in the United States. Raising awareness is a large part of our efforts – too few Americans realize how close to home this issue hits. It can happen anywhere, it can happen in our backyard.”

Reed supported all five of the anti-human trafficking bills up for consideration in the House:
  • Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation (SAVE) Act – closes internet marketplaces that host advertisements for the exploitation of minors. The bill criminalizes their actions and allows prosecutors to charge websites with a federal crime for knowingly advertising sex with minors.
  • Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act – creates a victim-centered grant program that helps state and local law enforcement strengthen investigations and prosecutions of sex traffickers and help support victims.
  • International Megan’s Law to Prevent Demand for Child Sex Trafficking – creates a center within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to notify foreign governments of U.S. child-sex offenders who are traveling to their countries.
  • The Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act – encourages states to adopt “safe harbor” laws that better protect victims who are minors and treats them as victims, not criminals. The bill makes Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program grants a priority for those states and makes victims eligible to participate in the federal Jobs Corps program.
  • Preventing Sex Trafficking & Improving Opportunities for Youth in Foster Care Act – Tom Reed is a co-sponsor of this bill to require states to develop policies for assisting victims of sex trafficking, require states to take steps to prevent, identify and address sex trafficking of youth in foster care and includes provisions that encourage states to move more children out of foster care and into adoptive homes.

“Children in the foster care system are traditionally at greater risk of becoming victims of sex trafficking,” Reed said. “If we can help get these children into permanent, adoptive homes sooner, we can proactively mitigate that risk. Preventing children from being placed in unsafe environments in the first place is the best way to care for all of our children.”

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