DearColleague.us

Letter

From: The Committee on Ways and Means
Sent By: caitlin.alcala@mail.house.gov
Date: 11/19/2013

Cosponsor the “Our Daughters Are Not for Sale” Resolution about Child Sex Trafficking in the U.S.

Dear Colleague:
We invite you to cosponsor the bipartisan “Our Daughters Are Not for Sale” resolution that we are sponsoring and that will be introduced later this week. This important resolution will draw attention to the complex issue of child sex trafficking in the U.S.
Researchers have estimated that hundreds of thousands of American children are at risk of commercial sexual exploitation. Many of these youth have been in foster care or been part of the child welfare system. For example, 59 percent of youth arrested for prostitution in Los Angeles County in 2010 were in foster care. Similarly, 60 percent of children reported missing to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children as likely child sex trafficking victims were in foster care or group homes when they ran away.
We owe it to these youth to treat them as victims, not as criminals, and to ensure that traffickers and buyers are prosecuted. We also need to ensure that our nation’s foster care system does all it can to protect vulnerable youth so they can live safe, happy, and successful lives. For too many kids in foster care, we are not living up to that promise.
We urge you to join us in supporting this important legislation.
Sincerely,
Congressman David Reichert (R-WA)?
Congressman Rick Nolan (D-MN)

House Concurrent Resolution
Expressing the sense of the Congress that children trafficked in the United States be treated as victims of crime, and not as perpetrators.
Whereas, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, it is estimated that hundreds of thousands of American children are at risk for commercial sexual exploitation;
Whereas this risk is even greater for the up to 30,000 young people who are emancipated from foster care each year;
Whereas many of these children are girls previously or currently living in foster care or otherwise involved in the child welfare system;
Whereas flaws in the child welfare system in the United States, such as an over-reliance on group homes and barriers to youth engaging in age-appropriate activities, contribute to children’s vulnerability to domestic sex trafficking;
Whereas the average age of entry into sex trafficking for girls is between just 12 and 14 years old;
Whereas many child sex trafficking victims have experienced previous physical and/or sexual abuse—vulnerabilities that traffickers exploit to lure them into a life of sexual slavery that exposes them to long-term abuse;
Whereas many child sex trafficking victims are the “lost girls”, standing around bus stops, in the runaway and homeless youth shelters, advertised online—hidden in plain view; and
Whereas many child sex trafficking victims who have not yet attained the age of consent are arrested and detained for juvenile prostitution or status offenses directly related to their exploitation: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Congress —
(1) finds that law enforcement, judges, child welfare agencies, and the public should treat children being trafficked for sex as victims of child abuse;
(2) finds that every effort should be made to arrest and hold accountable both traffickers and buyers of children for sex, in accordance with Federal laws to protect victims of trafficking and State child protection laws against abuse, in order to take all necessary measures to protect our Nation’s children from harm;
(3) supports survivors of domestic child sex trafficking, including their efforts to raise awareness of this tragedy and the services they need to heal from the complex trauma of sexual violence and exploitation;
(4) recognizes that most girls who are bought and sold for sex in the United States have been involved in the child welfare system, which has a responsibility to protect them and requires reform to better prevent domestic child sex trafficking and aid the victims of this tragedy;
(5) believes that the child welfare system should identify, assess, and provide supportive services to children in its care who are the victims of sex trafficking, or at risk of becoming victims; and
(6) supports an end to demand for girls by declaring that our Nation’s daughters are not for sale and that any person who purchases a child for sex should be appropriately held accountable with the full force of the law.