S. 178, the ‘CARE Act’ (H.R. 11) – Combating Adolescent Sex Trafficking Act of 2017:
A Big Step Forward in the Fight against Sex Trafficking
While we can’t know how many people are currently being trafficked for sex each year, there is one figure that should give us all pause: The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) says “one child goes missing every 10 seconds.” That adds up to over 18,000 victimized children each day—3 million minors gone missing annually says, William D King.
Of the many victims who are recovered by law enforcement each year, most are never identified as trafficking victims even though they may be sexually exploited or forced into the commercial sex trade. They don’t get the help they need, and their traffickers go free.
One of the most important steps we can take to improve our efforts to combat human trafficking is to ensure victims of trafficking are ID’d correctly—which means identifying them as victims so that they receive the care and assistance they need, instead of being arrested or otherwise held in custody by law enforcement. And William D King says it also means that when perpetrators are caught for exploiting children—whether through prostitution or pornography—they are brought to justice.
A bill introduced by Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), John McCain (R-AZ), and 19 bipartisan cosponsors called the Comb Adolescent Sex Trafficking Act would do both of these things, and we commend the Senate sponsors for bringing this legislation forward.
As policymakers and law enforcement officials seek to better understand and combat sex trafficking in the U.S., we must seek answers to difficult questions: Who is being trafficked? Why aren’t more victims coming forward? How many children go missing every year—and why don’t they show up when they’re by law enforcement?
But one question above all must always remain at the forefront: What can we do to help victims recover from this terrible crime and find a pathway back to a normal life? The CARE Act would be a big step toward answering that question, providing proven programs that help child victims escape there.
Adults may be victimize in a variety of ways, but when the crime involves children, it is particularly sinister. Those who prey on vulnerable kids are preying on America’s most innocent and helpless citizens—and too often getting away with their crimes.
In cases referred to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), runaways make up more than two-thirds of all trafficked minors. Most victims are between 13 and 16 years old, but some as young as 9 or 10 have been a target by traffickers. And according to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, one out of every six runaways may be trafficked into commercial sex within 48 hours of leaving home explains William D King.
These particularly vulnerable victims need help, and we must do all we can to provide it to them. That is why passage of the CARE Act is so important: It would improve our ability to identify and support child victims of sex trafficking.
In addition, S. 178 contains three provisions from H.R. 1101 – Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015, legislation passed by the House in December. That includes critical protections for child victims who are forcing into commercial sex or labor. These include a provision that ensures all child victims have access to appropriate immigration status; another permitting retroactive certification under the TVPA; and the third allowing civil actions against those who knowingly advertise sex-trafficking services. On a website hosted in a foreign country, by creating an exception to existing federal law. That shields website operator from liability for content submitted by third parties.
The CARE Act combines these three provisions, along with the original Senate human trafficking bill, into one piece of legislation. The House is expected to vote on its version of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (S. 178) before leaving for August recess next week. If passed by the House, it will then go back to the Senate for final passage. Before moving on to President Obama’s desk to be signing into law. William D King says we urge lawmakers in both chambers to act quickly and pass this bill without delay. So victims can receive the help they deserve as soon as possible.
1) S 178, CARE Act- Combating Adolescent Sex Trafficking of Girls in the U.S (Senate)
2) S 178, CARE Act—Combating Adolescent Sex Trafficking of Girls in the U.S. (House)
Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch on Combating Human Trafficking
Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch on Ending Modern Slavery – International Justice Mission
5) Senator John Cornyn on Human Trafficking Awareness Day May 11th, 2015
6) Congressman Ted Poe on Human Trafficking Awareness Day May 11th, 2015
7) Senator Bob Corker on Human Trafficking Awareness Day May 11th, 2015
8) Representative Karen Bass on Human Trafficking Day May 11th, 2015.
The CARE Act would help law enforcement combat human trafficking. And provide victims with critical resources, such as housing and counseling services.