Ending Modern-Day Slavery

Forced labor, prostitution, child pornography. These are just a few of the darkest and most tragic forms that human trafficking, a type of modern-day slavery, take. These heinous acts are frequently forced upon women and children with the promise of a life free of poverty, or a better future for their families. In reality, victims of human trafficking are often left voiceless and completely unseen by society.

Sadly, New York State is a hotbed for this invisible crime, and is the 4th worst state in the country for human trafficking behind California, Texas, and Florida. Despite its size and many rural areas, the North Country is not immune to the tragedy of human trafficking, with some 400 children estimated to have been trafficked upstate between 2000 and 2010. Children especially deserve our support after they are rescued from those who have victimized them. Children who have fallen victim to human trafficking are more likely to abuse substances, continue a life of prostitution into adulthood, develop serious mental health problems, become perpetrators of human trafficking themselves, or otherwise fall through the cracks of society and our criminal justice system. Simply put, addressing the problem now can help prevent a lifetime of pain for many victims of human trafficking.

Action must be taken to address this human rights crisis, and I’m proud to report that this year, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an extensive series of legislation to crack down on this humanitarian scourge.

The following pieces of legislation passed the House of Representatives with my support:

· H.R. 2664, the Enhancing Detection of Human Trafficking Act

· H.R. 2480, the Empowering Law Enforcement to Fight Sex Trafficking Demand Act

· H.R. 2200, the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act

· H.R. 1862, the Global Child Protection Act

· H.R. 1842, the Strengthening Children’s Safety Act

· H.R. 1188, the Adam Walsh Reauthorization Act

· H.R. 883, the Targeting Child Predators Act

· H.R. 695, the Child Protection Improvements Act

· H.R. 1625, the Targeted Rewards for the Global Eradication of Human Trafficking Act

· H.R. 1809, the Juvenile Justice Reform Act

· H.R.1808, the Improving Support for Missing and Exploited Children Act

· H.R. 1370, the Department of Homeland Security Blue Campaign Authorization Act

· H.R. 2473, the Put Trafficking Victims First Act

· H.R. 2052, the PRIVATE Act

· H.R. 1761, the Protecting Against Child Exploitation Act

· H.R. 1973, the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse Act

These sixteen pieces of legislation take serious action to combat human trafficking. From increasing penalties on the perpetrators of these heinous crimes to improving support systems for victims of trafficking, these bills represent an inspiring effort from my colleagues on both sides of the aisle. I’m proud of our focus this year on ending this horrific practice that touches all of our communities, and I urge my colleagues in the Senate to pass these bills to ensure that our schools, communities, and beyond are safe for women and children. Representing you in the 115th Congress is a tremendous honor, and I’ll keep working to ensure that Congress passes meaningful legislation to combat a crime that disproportionately hurts women and children