What Still Needs to be Done

trafficking_facts_03Congress needs to reaffirm a law that children are not criminals. They are forced into prostitution and should be treated as victims rather than criminals, placed in safe havens and provided with services.

Congress needs to appropriate additional funding to law enforcement, and to safe homes and services for victims of human trafficking.

Congress needs to challenge every citizen to get involved in this fight to save Innocent lives.

Governments need to commit to combat trafficking: This includes ensuring that the necessary legislation is in place to punish traffickers, the necessary resources are made available to ensure that police are equipped to fight trafficking, and that government officials themselves take every opportunity to warn people, in particular children, of the dangers of trafficking.

Laws need to be in place and reliably enforced: Cross-border international agreements help prevent trafficking and facilitate the safe return of trafficked children. Laws should not penalize children who have been trafficked. Every state should raise the age of consent to engage in all commercial sex activities to 21 years. State and local governments need to have human trafficking legislation that is in accordance with the federal TVPA and assess current laws that may conflict with federal laws concerning anti-trafficking. Crime and corruption can all undermine law enforcement. Attitudes and practices need to change: Beliefs about the role of girls, particularly with regard to their education, can lead to families putting girls at risk. Sometimes it is considered better for a girl to seek domestic work, perhaps in another country, than go to school.

Children need to be aware of dangers of trafficking so that they can protect themselves: Children are often lured with promises of money and a “better life”. Children need to be offered practical skills that allow them to find viable alternatives to being trafficked. This could include vocational training or income-generating activities at the community leave.

Adults need to be able to recognize the signs and respond accordingly: A teacher needs to recognize in a child the warning signs of a troubled home. Likewise, police raiding a brothel need to know to search for girls who have come from other countries, since they are often trafficking victims. A border guard with limited awareness of trafficking may not react when seeing young children crossing a border without their parents.

Media Attention can be an important element in the fight against trafficking: Many families and children will be dependent on the media to inform and educate them about the danger of trafficking. Media reporting of trafficking issues can also encourage, influence or pressure others, including government and civil society, to respond to the problem of trafficking.

Reintegration and rehabilitation for survivors of trafficking: States, local governments and communities should make sure that they have the resources to rescue and restore victims of human trafficking. Once they have been rescued, victims need care, security and justice. Children who have been trafficked need services to help them escape their situation, and to return home to a “normal” life. These services might include hotlines that children can call to ask for help of safe shelters for them to stay in while they work out what they want to do. Children, their families, and their communities may need assistance when a trafficked child comes home. Survivors of trafficking may need special assistance to come to terms with what has happened to them, or medical services, including HIV/AIDS test.

Our Heros in Congress

  • Rep. Christopher H. Smith (NJ-04)
  • Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY-14)
  • Rep. Kay Granger (TX-12)
  • Rep. Bobby Scott (VA-03)