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House Advances Bipartisan Legislation to Support Youth Victims of Sex Trafficking

The House of Representatives today approved the final bill in a series of legislative reforms aimed at strengthening support for youth who are victims of sex trafficking. The proposed bills would improve identification and assessment of child sex trafficking victims and enhance existing services for runaway and homeless youth.

“We have a moral obligation to do all we can to serve children who are victims of sex trafficking,” said Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN). “No victim should be denied critical support because of outdated policies or fall through the cracks of a child welfare system. The legislation passed by the House will fix these flaws and strengthen our response to this national crisis. I want to thank Representatives Bass, Heck, and Beatty for helping to lead this important, bipartisan effort.”

Each year an estimated 300,000 children become victims of sex trafficking. Many of these children were once involved in a state child welfare system, yet their experience with sexual exploitation may go undetected. The House-passed bipartisan legislation would enhance support services for victims and improve the child welfare response to trafficking:

  • Strengthening Child Welfare Response to Trafficking Act. Introduced by Reps. Karen Bass (D-CA), John Kline (R-MN), Tom Marino (R-PA), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Michelle Bachmann (R-MN), and Louise Slaughter (D-NY), the legislation (H.R. 5081) will improve practices within state child welfare systems to identify, assess, and document sex trafficking victims. H.R. 5081 passed the House by a vote of 399 to 0 on Friday, July 25.
  • Enhancing Services for Runaway and Homeless Victims of Youth Trafficking Act. Introduced by Reps. Joe Heck (R-NV), John Kline (R-MN), and Bobby Scott (D-VA), the legislation (H.R. 5076) will improve support provided specifically to runaway and homeless youth who are victims of trafficking. H.R. 5076 passed the House by voice vote on Wednesday, July 23.

The House also passed earlier this week H.R. 5111, legislation introduced by Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH) that would add the term “child sex trafficking” to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s CyberTipline reporting areas to reinforce that these children are victims, not criminals. H.R. 5111 passed the House by a vote of 409 to 0 on Thursday, July 24. 

To learn more about the legislative proposals, click here.

To watch Chairman Kline’s floor remarks on H.R. 5076, click here

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