COMMITTEE on WAYS and MEANS

Chairman Dave Camp

Prevent Trafficking

Ways and Means Committee Actions to Prevent Child Sex Trafficking and Improve the Lives of Youth in Foster Care

Over the past year, the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Resources has reviewed one of the most serious concerns about the nation’s foster care system -- that it doesn’t do enough to protect young people in its care from becoming victims of sex trafficking. 

On June 26, 2014, Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI), Ranking Member Sandy Levin (D-MI), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Ranking Member Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT) announced the introduction of the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act (H.R. 4980).  The legislation is fully paid for, and includes numerous provisions that will prevent sex trafficking among youth in foster care, empower and promote normalcy for foster youth, quickly move more children from foster care into adoptive homes or the homes of relatives, and increase the amount of child support provided to families in which one parent is outside of the U.S. 

Below is background information as well as highlights of the various steps the Subcommittee has taken in developing this legislation.

For more information about efforts by House Republicans to address human trafficking, click here: http://MajorityLeader.gov/EndTrafficking


Background on Child Sex Trafficking


Reports suggest a majority of children involved in sex trafficking are either currently in foster care or have been involved with the child welfare system in the past.
  • In 2010, officials in Los Angeles reported that 59 percent of juveniles arrested for prostitution were in the foster care system.
  • Of children reported missing to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children who are also likely sex trafficking victims, 60 percent were in foster care or group homes when they ran away.

Research cited by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shows the majority of sex trafficked youth experienced sexual abuse growing up, and victims of sexual abuse are 28 times more likely to be involved in prostitution than children who have not suffered such abuse.  Even though a history of prior sexual abuse places many children in foster care at far greater risk of becoming victims of child sex trafficking, the child welfare system today does not do enough to identify and help those at risk.

In some cases, certain child welfare policies may have unintentional negative effects on the well-being of children placed in foster care.  As the Subcommittee reviewed in a hearing in May 2013, some foster care rules have made it difficult for foster youth to participate in sports, sleep over at a friend’s house, obtain a driver’s license, get a part-time job, or engage in other age-appropriate activities.  Although these policies are often well intentioned, they may inadvertently increase a young person’s isolation and separation from family, friends, and the surrounding community, making them more vulnerable to victimization.

While foster care often protects children from further abuse and neglect, children who stay in foster care for extended periods – especially those who leave foster care at age 18 without being placed in a permanent home – have troubling outcomes. For example, research shows that children who spend an extended duration in foster care are less likely to graduate from high school, attend college, be employed, or have enough income to support a family than other youth.  They are also more likely to become teen parents, collect welfare, become homeless, be arrested, or use drugs.

Legislative Action

Introduction of H.R. 4980: Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act
June 26, 2014
 
Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI), Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI), Human Resources Subcommittee Chairman Dave Reichert (R-WA), and Subcommittee Ranking Member Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) introduced H.R. 4980, the “Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act.”  The bill represents a bipartisan, bicameral agreement on a number of House and Senate bills dealing with child sex trafficking, adoption, and child support, specifically: H.R. 1896, H.R. 3205, H.R. 4058, S. 1876, S. 1877, and S. 1878.
 
The press release can be found here.
The text of the legislation can be found here.
The section by section summary of the bill can be found here.
The CBO score of the legislation can be found here.

House Passes H.R. 4058 Unanimously
May 20, 2014

On Tuesday, May 20, 2014, the House of Representatives voted unanimously to pass H.R. 4058, the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Improving Opportunities for Youth in Foster Care Act. This bill now moves to the Senate, where a similar bill has been reported by the Finance Committee and awaits consideration by the full Senate.

Video of House action on the bill can be found here.
A summary of the bill as passed by the House can be found here.
The text of the bill as passed by the House can be found here.
A statement on passage of the bill by Ways and Means Chairman Camp and Human Resources Subcommittee Chairman Reichert can be found here.

House to Consider H.R. 4058, as Further Amended to Provide Key Documents to Youth Leaving Foster Care and Ensure Bill Does Not Add to the Deficit
May 15, 2014

On May 15, 2014 Majority Leader Eric Cantor placed H.R. 4058, the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Improving Opportunities for Youth in Foster Care Act and four other bills related to child sex trafficking on the House calendar. H.R. 4058 as ordered reported out of committee was further amended in two ways: (1) to include the “documents” provision (section 204 of the bill as introduced) requiring States to provide youth age 14 and older leaving foster care with key documents; and (2) to include a bipartisan provision (section 401) to improve child support collections, which results in savings that cover the cost of additional services and activities resulting from the legislation. This policy was proposed in the President’s FY 2015 budget.

The text of the bill as it will be considered by the House can be found here.
A summary of the bill as it will be considered by the House can be found here.

The following groups have expressed support for H.R. 4058:
•    American Bar Association
•    American Psychological Association
•    American Public Human Services Association
•    Children’s Defense Fund
•    First Focus Campaign for Children
•    Foster Family-based Treatment Association
•    Human Rights Project for Girls
•    Love 146
•    National Alliance to Advance Adolescent Health
•    National Association for Children's Behavioral Health
•    National Association of Counsel for Children
•    National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
•    National Children’s Alliance
•    Partnership for Male Youth

Cosponsors of the Reichert/Doggett bill include the following:

Republican: Kline (MN), Tiberi (OH), Roskam (IL), Buchanan (FL), Schock (IL), Paulsen (MN), Black (TN), Reed (NY), Young (IN), Kelly (PA), Griffin (AR), Renacci (OH), Latta (OH), Wagner (MO), Noem (SD), Pittenger (NC), Hartzler (MO), Webster (FL), Cramer (ND), Herrera Beutler (WA), Yoho (FL), Rodney Davis (IL), Stivers (OH), Diaz-Balart (FL), Barletta (PA)

Democrat: Levin (MI), Rangel (NY), McDermott (WA), Lewis (GA), Blumenauer (OR), Crowley (NY), Danny Davis (IL), Slaughter (NY), Langevin (RI), Bass (CA), Cardenas (CA), Kuster (NH), Esty (CT)


H.R. 4058, as Amended, Ordered Reported Out of Committee
April 29, 2014

The House Committee on Ways and Means ordered reported H.R. 4058, the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Improving Opportunities for Youth in Foster Care Act, as amended, moving the legislation one step closer to House passage. The committee vote was a unanimous and bipartisan 33 – 0.

The text of the bill as reported by the Committee can be found here. 
The text of the Committee Report can be found here.
The Chairman Camp’s statement on the bipartisan legislation can be found here.

Introduction of H.R. 4058: Preventing Sex Trafficking and Improving Opportunities for Youth in Foster Care Act

February 14, 2014

Ways and Means Human Resources Subcommittee Chairman Dave Reichert (R-WA), Subcommittee Ranking Member Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) and a bipartisan group of 15 additional Members of Congress introduced H.R. 4058, the “Preventing Sex Trafficking and Improving Opportunities for Youth in Foster Care Act.” The bill includes many improvements based on the over 150 pages of comments the Committee received on the December 2013 draft proposal.

The press release can be found here.
The text of the legislation can be found here.
The summary of the bill can be found here.

Request for Public Comment on Discussion Draft

December 20, 2013

The House Ways and Means Committee released draft legislation designed to prevent sex trafficking of youth in America’s foster care system, reduce the vulnerability of youth in foster care, and encourage States to provide youth with additional opportunities so they can become successful adults.  The draft legislation was developed based on testimony received at two Human Resources Subcommittee hearings earlier in the year, as well as other legislation introduced by Republican and Democrat Members of Congress.  The Committee invited public comment on the draft bill.

The press release for the draft bill release can be found here.
The text of the draft bill can be found here.
The summary of the draft bill can be found here.

House Concurrent Resolution 66: Declaring Our Nation’s Daughters are Not for Sale
November 21, 2013

Ways and Means Human Resources Subcommittee Chairman Dave Reichert (R-WA), along with a bipartisan group of 14 other Members of Congress, introduced H. Con. Res. 66, a bill expressing the sense of the Congress that children trafficked in the United States be treated as victims of crime, and not as perpetrators.

The text of the bill can be found here.

Hearings/Events

Hearing - Efforts to Prevent and Address Child Sex Trafficking in Washington State
February 19, 2014 - This hearing highlighted efforts by groups in the State of Washington to end child sex trafficking, prevent youth in foster care from becoming victims of this crime, and empower youth in foster care so they can achieve success.

Event - Our Daughters are Not for Sale
November 19, 2013 - Rights4Girls and Google co-hosted an event where Members from both chambers and from both sides of the aisle came together to draw attention to domestic child sex trafficking at the US Capitol. Rights4Girls photos from the event can be found here.

Hearing - Preventing and Addressing Sex trafficking of youth in Foster Care
October 23, 2013 - This hearing reviewed how the child welfare system currently works to prevent the sex trafficking of youth in foster care, how the needs of sex trafficking victims are addressed, and how Federal laws and policies might be improved to better ensure the safety and well-being of youth at risk of abuse and neglect.

Hearing - Letting Kids Be Kids: Balancing Safety with Opportunity for Foster Youth
May 9, 2013 - The hearing reviewed policies and practices that limit opportunities for foster youth, as well as review recent State efforts to allow foster parents and foster youth to make reasonable decisions about the youth’s participation in everyday events and activities.