Slaughter Legislation Fighting Child Sex Trafficking Passes House in Bipartisan Fashion
WASHINGTON – Today, in a rare moment of bipartisanship, the House of Representatives unanimously passed legislation fighting child sex trafficking co-sponsored by Congresswoman Louise M. Slaughter (D-NY). The Strengthening the Child Welfare Response to Trafficking Act of 2014 (H.R. 5081) would ensure that child welfare agencies have systems in place to properly identify exploited children, train child protective services workers to appropriately respond to them, and connect child victims to specialized services so that they can begin the process of recovery.
The legislation would require each state to develop a child protection plan with:
• Provisions and procedures to identify and assess all reports involving children known or suspected to be victims of trafficking;
• Training plans for child protective service workers to appropriately respond to reports of child trafficking; and
• Policies and procedures to connect child victims to public or private specialized services.
The legislation would also require states to submit an annual report on the number of children identified as victims of trafficking within the already existing National Child Abuse and Neglect Data Systems, and would require the federal Department of Human Services to submit a report to Congress outlining the prevalence and type of child trafficking nationwide as well as the current barriers to serving child victims comprehensively.
“The trafficking of children for sex is a horrible crime, and by improving our foster care tracking system, data reporting, and training, fewer children will fall through the cracks and into the hands of traffickers,” Rep. Slaughter said. “I thank my colleagues for their attention to this issue, and I look forward to future action on another major reform – stopping the sickening practice of sending sex trafficking survivors into the juvenile justice system where they will be treated as criminals instead of into the child welfare system where they will be protected and treated with dignity.”
Representative Slaughter testified to the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Resources regarding similar legislation in October of 2013. Click here for video (Ms. Slaughter’s segment begins at the 15:00 mark). Representative Slaughter also co-authored the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000.
“Once again, Congresswoman Slaughter has taken the initiative to move forward important legislation that impacts the most vulnerable members of our community: those who are victims of commercial sexual exploitation and abuse,” said Elaine Spaull, Executive Director at The Center for Youth and Member of the Rochester City Council. “This legislation reminds us of the active engagement of our Congresswoman and her sensitive and diligent care to humanitarian issues. The Center for Youth and other agencies supporting these victims will benefit from this legislation and the support of Congresswoman Slaughter.”
The Center for Youth is the lead agency for the Monroe County Safe Harbour program, which provides case coordination and advocacy for commercially sexually exploited youth.