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Public Statements

Strengthening Child Welfare Response to Trafficking Act of 2014

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. McDERMOTT. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the Strengthening Child Welfare Response to Trafficking Act of 2014.

Today, more than 293,000 American youth are at risk of sexual commercial exploitation and trafficking each year. Far too often, State child welfare systems fail to properly identify and assist trafficked and exploited children. The protective services and protocols established for abused and neglected children within the child welfare system are rarely extended to trafficked children and youth. In many States, such children are often not even categorized as victims.

I would point out that we have on our borders today 57,000 youngsters who have come in whatever way they have come to our attention. One of the real dangers in sort of sending people back into whatever is that you may well be sending them back into sexual trafficking. This is one of the issues that should be looked at in every case where you find a youngster roaming the streets. States have got to look at this issue and figure out a way to deal with it.

We know that youngsters when they age out of foster care have no skills, they have no job, and they have very little to keep themselves alive, and, therefore, they easily become victims of sexual trafficking. This is an issue that this country, if we really care about children, we are going to look carefully at every kid and what are the risks to which they are being exposed.

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