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Jaime Herrera Beutler Takes Action to End Sex Trafficking As Co-Sponsor of Legislation Passed Today
U.S. House of Representatives Passes Comprehensive Package of Bills to Combat Sex Trafficking
Today, Jaime Herrera Beutler, along with her colleagues in The U.S. House of Representatives, passed a comprehensive package of five bills to combat sex trafficking. As a mother, an aunt, and Chair of the Congressional Women’s Caucus, Jaime has been active in raising awareness of trafficking in the United States– including Southwest Washington.
Jaime hosted a briefing on May 2nd in Vancouver bringing together law enforcement, social workers, and non-profits to discuss the need for action by Congress to strengthen the law regarding sex trafficking and crimes. The bills passed today will increase funding for services to victims and give prosecutors better tools to go after traffickers.
Legislation to combat sex trafficking:
The Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking (SETT) Act seeks to establish safe-harbor laws that treat minors involved in child sex trafficking as victims, not criminals, and encourage law enforcement to direct victims toward child protective services for help. It also increases federal, state and local cooperation in investigating trafficking cases and going after buyers and pimps.
The Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation Act (SAVE Act) makes it a federal crime for a website to knowingly allow advertisements for sex with children. Because of the profitability of the industry and loopholes in federal law, there has been resistance by these sites to end their facilitation of trafficking.
The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act focuses on tracking down and prosecuting criminals involved in all aspects of sex trafficking. The bill provides additional funds to victims of human trafficking, and authorizes grants for law enforcement training, deterrence programs, and restorative care for victims.
The Preventing Sex Trafficking and Improving Opportunities for Youth in Foster Care Act seeks to better prevent at risk children in foster care from becoming victims of sex trafficking through improved monitoring and reporting.
The International Megan’s Law combats sex tourism— where child-sex offenders travel domestically or to other countries for the purpose of purchasing sex with children. The bill directs Homeland Security to notify foreign governments when U.S. citizens who are confirmed child sex offenders travel to their countries. The bill also urges President Obama to negotiate agreements with foreign governments on this issue so the U.S. will know when child-sex offenders are seeking U.S. entry.
"Congresswoman Herrera Beutler has brought her compassion and knowledge about the horrors of human trafficking to her work in Congress, wisely co-sponsoring and making a priority several critical bipartisan bills in Congress, said Former Congresswoman Linda Smith—Founder of Shared Hope International. “These bills have the potential to help Southwest Washington and the nation stop the buying and selling of our vulnerable women and girls for sex."
“We cannot close our eyes and pretend that it doesn’t exist; rather we must take up our responsibility to be a voice for the children and defend those who cannot defend themselves and are targeted by predators,” said Jaime. “These bills we are voting on today are necessary to help victims, as well as provide the criminal justice system with the tools needed to investigate, arrest and prosecute those involved with trafficking.”