Amending Violence Against Women Act to Defend Child Human Trafficking Victims

U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), along with Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), have introduced an amendment to the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (S.47) that would ensure that would ensure that child victims of sex trafficking are eligible to receive assistance under grants provided to enhance the safety of youth and children.

Portman and Blumenthal are co-chairs of the Senate Caucus to End Human Trafficking.

“In order to fight human trafficking, we must prioritize services to vulnerable youth and connect victims of sex trafficking with appropriate resources,” said Portman. “Our amendment recognizes that the youth who are the most vulnerable to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking are also the most vulnerable to sex trafficking and should be afforded the same protections necessary to fully recover from this devastating trauma.”

According to the FBI, there are currently an estimated 293,000 American youth at risk of commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking. Moreover, the Department of Justice reports that between 2008-2010, 83 percent of sex trafficking victims found within the U.S. were U.S. citizens, and 40 percent of those cases involved the sexual exploitation of children. One reason we lack data as to the definitive numbers of victims is that there are limited resources and programs available to serve these children nationwide.

Section 302 of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 is entitled “Creating Hope through Outreach, Option, Services, and Education for Children and Youth.” This section authorizes grants to enhance the safety of youth and children who are victims of, or exposed to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

Portman’s amendment adds “sex trafficking” as a criteria for victims services in Section 302 and will help ensure that child victims of sex trafficking receive essential services just as those afforded to child victims of “domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking” in this section.

Learn more at the Fayette Advocate article: Portman Amendment To Violence Against Women Act Will Protect Child Victims Of Human Trafficking.

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