Two children are sold in the world every minute.
Fifty percent of all trafficked victims worldwide are children, according to UNICEF estimates.
The human trafficking and slave labor trades flourish around the world, and one way they are able to remain successful is because, in any given year, there are approximately 51 million children under the age of five who were not registered at birth. Most of these unregistered children are girls.
Without the proper documentation, these children cannot gain access to schools, health services, or the economic, legal and political systems in their home countries. Many of these undocumented children are vulnerable to human and sex trafficking, slave labor, militant groups and other dangers stemming from being members of the "invisible society."
In response to this global epidemic, U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Westwood) introduced bipartisan legislation Wednesday to help ensure girls and boys are accounted for as members of society. He is joined by U.S. Reps. Christopher Smith (R-New Jersey), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) and Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) as cosponsors of the legislation.
H.R. 3398, The Girls Count Act of 2013, aims to address this important issue by authorizing the Secretary of State and the USAID Administrator to work with countries, international organizations such as UNICEF and the World Bank, NGOs representing children and families, and faith-based organizations to support efforts to develop birth certificates and national registries for children in developing countries.
"This bipartisan legislation represents a small, but significant, step toward protecting some of the world's most vulnerable populations and helping to rid the world of criminal enterprises that prey on children," said Chabot.