At a Senate Finance Committee hearing examining how the child welfare system can help solve the problem of child sex trafficking, Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said, “Slavery in any form is an injustice that we must stop. Unfortunately, not all forms of slavery have been abolished in America. Human trafficking, which includes both labor and sex trafficking, is not unique to third-world countries. It exists right here in America. … At least 100,000 children are exploited every year in the United States.”
In her testimony, FAIR Girls Maryland Program Coordinator Asia Graves, a survivor of sex trafficking said that many Americans have incorrect information or are completely oblivious to the fact that it exists in the United States. Graves said. “There is no such thing as a “child prostitute” because, legally, children cannot consent to be sold for sex. No girl chooses to be a slave. Yet, girls like me are the face of modern day slavery in America.”
Graves offered several recommendations to combat sex trafficking and exploitation. First, children involved in sex trafficking must not be treated as criminals, but instead as victims. Next, lawmakers should provide more funding in order to open specialized homes where children sold into trafficking can receive the care they need. In addition, communities must be trained on how to identify and assist children that fall victim to sex trafficking. Lastly, Americans need to be educated on how to stay safe from sex trafficking.
In an effort to combat the problem, Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) has introduced a bipartisan bill called the Child Sex Trafficking Data and Response Act of 2013. The legislation addresses child sex trafficking in the child welfare system by improving the collection of state and national data and by providing more direct assistance to the victims of child sex trafficking.
Learn more at Catalina Lehmann’s Talk Radio News Service article: Lawmakers, Officials Say Child Sex Trafficking is Modern Slavery.