Today, 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 a bill to prevent child sex trafficking and keep youth in foster care from becoming victims of this crime. H.R. 4058, the “Preventing Sex Trafficking and Improving Opportunities for Youth in Foster Care Act,“ introduced by the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Congressional Subcommittee that oversees the nation’s foster care system, represents a strong bipartisan step forward in protecting youth in foster care and ensuring they have the tools they need to become successful adults.
This bill introduced today is the result of months of bipartisan work by the Subcommittee. On October 23, 2013, the Ways and Means Human Resources Subcommittee held a hearing on preventing and addressing sex trafficking of youth in foster care. The Subcommittee heard from Members of Congress who had introduced legislation to address sex trafficking, experts working to combat this issue and a survivor of sex trafficking who shared her personal experiences. On December 20, 2013, the Subcommittee released for public comment a draft bill to address child sex trafficking, building on legislative proposals developed by Members of Congress and incorporating recommendations suggested by witnesses at the hearing. Public comments on that draft legislation informed several changes made to the bipartisan legislation introduced today.
Speaking about the introduction of the bill, Reichert said: “We owe it to these children to ensure our nation’s foster care system does all it can to protect them so they can live safe, happy and successful lives. For too many kids in foster care, we are not living up to that promise today. This bill will help us identify child victims of sex trafficking and develop a plan for how to help them. It will also help us get to the root of the problem by cutting some of the red tape that makes youth in foster care so vulnerable to traffickers in the first place.”
“Children entering foster care who have already suffered abuse or neglect are particularly vulnerable to becoming sex trafficking victims,” said Doggett. “This legislation can help to reduce trafficking through better identification of children who are being trafficked or most at-risk. We must insist upon better protection of children in the foster system.”
Original cosponsors from the Ways and Means Committee include Representatives Paulsen (R-MN), Levin (D-MI), Roskam (R-IL), McDermott (D-WA), Buchanan (R-FL), Lewis (D-GA), Young (R-IN), Crowley (D-NY), Griffin (R-AR), Danny Davis (D-IL) and Renacci (R-OH). Other original cosponsors include Representatives Slaughter (D-NY), Wagner (R-MO), Bass (D-CA) and Langevin (D-RI).
A summary of the bill is available by clicking here.
The text of the legislation is available by clicking here.