Congressman Richard Hudson sponsored the Freedom Requires Action event at the United States Capitol on January 28th, 2020 in partnership with Safe House Project because he understands that we have made a lot of progress, but there is still more we can do protect our children and serve those who have been victims of sex trafficking in America.
"Human trafficking is not a simple problem, and there is not an easy solution. However, I am encouraged that we can all do our part to put an end to this atrocity. Today, whether a business person, community leader or concerned citizen, each person in attendance will be equipped with an understanding of this issue on a deeper level and action steps you can personally take to be part of the solution.
Now – how many of you are looking forward to this weekend’s super bowl?
Did you know, every year, as many of us meet with friends and family to watch the Super Bowl, there is a completely different and horrific meeting taking place? Human traffickers use this widely attended event to exploit adults and children alike—some as young as 13—to be forced into modern-day slavery. During the 2014 Super Bowl, more than 45 individuals were arrested for human trafficking and law enforcement officers rescued 16 child victims.
By the same token, roughly 10,000 children are brought into the United States to be sex trafficked every year.
In the United States alone, human trafficking is a $10 billion a year criminal industry. I’ve made it a priority to meet with local law enforcement officials, faith leaders, and nonprofit groups who are fighting the scourge of human trafficking on the front lines. I’ve met with survivors and heard their stories. I’ve taken what I’ve learned from them and put it into action.
In 2018, President Trump signed into law the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) (H.R. 1865), a bill which I helped get across the finish line.
While human trafficking can happen through kidnapping, there are other ways children and the most vulnerable in our society are exploited and trafficked. Many times it can start with deceit, abuse, manipulation and recruitment of victims through the internet — that’s why this legislation is so important. It allows prosecutors to criminally charge operators of websites that allow human trafficking content and ensures they are shut down for good. Because of our efforts, Craigslist—one of the largest platforms for trafficking—immediately removed trafficking content. The website Backpage, probably the largest purveyor of trafficking content on the web, shut down completely.
I’m glad we can finally tear down this facade and show these people for what they are – monsters who profit from modern-day slavery.
Last year, President Trump signed into law S.1862, the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act to strengthen the United States global stance in the fight against human trafficking by requiring other countries to produce concrete action on their efforts.
The signing of this bill shows the rest of the world that America will remain a leader in this fight.
There is also a need domestically for improved victim services, trauma-informed support, better data on the prevalence and trends of human trafficking, and effective mechanisms to identify and rescue trafficking victims.I cosponsored the Put Trafficking Victims First Act - an important step toward addressing these critical needs. This legislation will help provide stakeholders—from law enforcement to prosecutors to service providers to government officials—with the guidance and information they need to better serve victims of trafficking.
At the end of the day, there is simply no room in our society for those who seek to profit from human trafficking.
I never want a parent to go through that pain. I never want an innocent child to go through that nightmare. And I never want a person to have their rights and their freedom stolen from them.
We’ve made progress, but we must – and we can – do more to stop these despicable crimes. The countless victims we haven’t saved are counting on us, and I know you’ll learn a lot today to join us in this movement to support law enforcement officials, assist survivors of human trafficking and bring those who perpetuate this despicable crime to justice."