Minor sex trafficking victims have had contact, often multiple times, with a child welfare system not always prepared to help them. A study in New York state showed that more than 85% of identified commercially sexually exploited children in the state had prior child welfare involvement (pdf) and the U.S. Department of State’s 2013 Trafficking in Persons Reporthighlighted children in the care of child welfare agencies as being at high risk of human trafficking.
Right now in Congress, your representatives are deciding whether to support a bill that will help states identify and track child victims of sex and labor trafficking in the system. It also calls for new guidelines on how to best give these victims the specialized care they need. They need to know you support the Strengthening the Child Welfare Response to Trafficking Act (H.R. 1732).
Four more reasons you should support this bill:
1. It’s bipartisan.
2. It’s low-cost (using existing resources and reporting frameworks).
3. It helps child welfare officials catch and respond to trafficking faster.
4. It’s a national approach to a national problem, one which is being handled inconsistently with dire consequences.
Reforming the child welfare system will better the lives of thousands of child trafficking victims and potential victims. We know what it takes to help someone achieve true independence--we’ve been serving survivors of human trafficking for 10 years. It’s vital work and we need your support to do it.
Thank you for your commitment,