ECPAT-USA applauds Congressmembers Vicky Hartzler and Karen Bass and Senators Lisa Murkowski and Tina Smith for introducing two pieces of anti-trafficking legislation to protect children, The Empowering Law Enforcement To Fight Sex Trafficking Demand Act of 2021 and The Human Trafficking and Exploitation Prevention Training Act of 2021. These bills take important steps to create new resources and to better serve individuals at risk of trafficking and exploitation. First, H.R. 3996, the Empowering Law Enforcement To Fight Sex Trafficking Demand Act of 2021, would allow law enforcement agencies to apply for federal funding to develop and implement sex trafficking demand reduction programs.
At its most basic, supply and demand fuel sex trafficking, and demand reduction programs are essential to ending these crimes. Efforts to address demand are generally geared toward disincentivizing individuals from purchasing sex and have included community education programs, seizing cars used to buy sex, and focusing on arresting and prosecuting purchasers of commercial sex.
ECPAT-USA supports legislation that expands resources for demand reduction programs and eliminates the profitability of child exploitation while prioritizing protection and services for victims and survivors.
The Human Trafficking and Exploitation Prevention Training Act of 2021 seeks to prevent human trafficking and the exploitation of children by creating education programs for parents/guardians, students, teachers, school and youth development personnel to recognize and respond to signs of trafficking and exploitation. S. 2136 would prioritize grants to regions based on the prevalence of trafficking and the size of underserved populations, including foster youth, runaway homeless youth, and kids involved in the child welfare system, groups that traffickers target.
It can be difficult for communities to identify or address trafficking and exploitation. The Human Trafficking Prevention Education and Training Act is a meaningful approach to ending the trafficking and exploitation of children throughout the country, and ECPAT-USA is proud to be a sponsor. State and federal lawmakers have an obligation to increase educational awareness about these issues nationwide.
More sex trafficking cases across the country that made headlines recently:
- Twenty-Year Sentence in GirlsDoPorn Sex Trafficking Conspiracy
- Baltimore Sex Trafficker Sentenced to 10 Years in Federal Prison for Sex Trafficking Four Minor Victims
- New Haven Man Charged with Production of Child Pornography