Today, Congressman Peter Roskam (il-06) voted to pass vital human trafficking prevention legislation out of the House Ways and Means Committee. H.R. 4058, The Preventing Sex Trafficking and Improving Opportunities for Youth in Foster Care Act, of which Roskam is an original cosponsor, would prevent child sex trafficking, focusing specifically on at-risk youth in the foster care system.
"For too many children in the foster care system, their lives have been filled with instability, abuse, and neglect," said Roskam. "The psychological toll of such an environment makes it all too easy for sex traffickers to target vulnerable foster care youth and bring them into what can only be described as modern day slavery. Today's action demonstrates our commitment as lawmakers to use every tool available both at the federal and state level to fight human trafficking and protect our nation's children from this horrible crime."
H.R. 4058 would prevent sex trafficking of foster children by documenting ongoing efforts to place foster children in permanent homes and implementing plans to rapidly locate a child missing from care; requiring states to develop new systems to identify at-risk children and ensure relevant data is provided to caseworkers; and encouraging states to involve children in developing their own case plans, encouraging personal responsibility and growth.
"Based upon our work in Cook County, we know that children who are in the foster care system are among the most vulnerable potential victims of sex trafficking," said State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, whose administration has led efforts to step up the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking crimes throughout Cook County. "The Preventing Sex Trafficking and Improving Opportunities for Youth in Foster Care Act would provide much needed resources that are critical in helping to prevent at-risk children from becoming victims of sex trafficking. We are pleased to support this bill and thank Congressman Roskam and his colleagues who are working to enact this important measure."
Congressman Roskam hosted a Human Trafficking Forum at Benedictine University last week, bringing local leaders together to raise awareness of the threat from human trafficking in the Chicago suburbs and to discuss solutions. Congressman Roskam was also recently selected to be part of the House GOP Human Trafficking Task Force, which identifies substantive legislation that will combat domestic and international trafficking to bring to the House Floor and raises awareness among other Members of Congress of these heinous crimes. Congressman Roskam has been on the forefront of combating human trafficking in Congress, cosponsoring legislation that would:
mandate that the Attorney General develop a National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking;
reinforce treating children as victims, not criminals; and
reform US foreign assistance programs to ensure they are incorporating anti-trafficking efforts.