U.S. Senator Marco Rubio issued the following statement marking National Human Trafficking Awareness Day:
"National Human Trafficking Awareness Day is an opportunity to highlight the suffering of millions of people who continue to be enslaved as part of the human trafficking trade. It's hard to believe that slavery still exists and even more sobering to realize there are an estimated 27 million men, women and children who are victims worldwide. Many are even in our own backyards, including Florida where law enforcement has helped save girls as young as 8 years old. These aren't just statistics; these are heart-breaking human stories.
"The first step in combating this crime is awareness, and I urge my fellow Floridians to learn more about human trafficking and what they can do to help combat this terrible crime. Our laws must be renewed and modernized to protect victims of modern-day slavery and we must champion the cause of human trafficking victims around the world as our own.
"I am proud of the work the Senate has done on this issue, but we have only touched the tip of the iceberg. I look forward to working on this issue this year, and hope Congress will finally re-authorize the Trafficking Victims Protection Act as a top priority."
Over the past two years, Rubio has worked on numerous efforts to combat modern day slavery. He co-sponsored "The End Trafficking in Government Contracting Act" which was passed as an amendment of the National Defense Authorization Act. Also, the Senate passed a Rubio sponsored resolution calling on Village Voice Media to eliminate the "adult entertainment" section of Backpage.com, which has served as little more than a front for prostitution involving human trafficking victims.