Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA) issued the statement below after the House of Representatives passed five pieces of legislation to combat human trafficking:
"For far too long victims of human trafficking were left in the shadows. Too many of our children have been robbed of their innocence and coerced into a life on the streets where they are treated like property and repeatedly abused.
"Today, members of Congress from both parties came together not just to pass legislation, but most importantly to shine a light and bring these victims out of the darkness. The legislation we passed today is an important first step that will provide real resources to help empower and restore the lives of victims as well as make sure that those who exploit our children face real consequences. This package of trafficking bills also recognizes that foster youth are particularly vulnerable to trafficking and provides a targeted approach to serve and monitor this unique population.
"However, we still have work to do. This legislation is the beginning of the discussion on human trafficking--not the end. These bills are a strong step in the right direction, and I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues in a bipartisan fashion to build on this momentum. It is my hope that in the next few months, Congress will take up additional legislation--specifically the "Strengthening Child Welfare Response to Trafficking Act'--to ensure a coordinated approach to preventing and serving all child victims of trafficking."