Senate Caucus to End Human Trafficking

Senate Caucus to End Human Trafficking

Senator Blumenthal is partnering with Senator Portman to lead the Senate charge to combat human trafficking.  The Senate Caucus to End Human Trafficking will provide a multijurisdictional forum where members can come together to combat human trafficking. Because committees tend to silo various trafficking issues, the caucus will be an invaluable tool for engaging members on common policy goals. Through briefings, discussions, and coordinated strategy, caucus members will create synchronized and comprehensive policies. This caucus will lead the Senate charge to eradicate trafficking by promoting awareness, removing demand, supporting prosecution efforts, and ensuring appropriate service systems are available for survivors.

Co-Chairs

Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) & Rob Portman (R-OH)

Caucus Members

Mark Begich (D-AK) Barbara Boxer (D-CA)

Scott Brown (R-MA)

Richard Burr (R-NC)

Thad Cochran (R-MS)

Chris Coons (D-DE)

John Cornyn (R-TX)

Richard Durbin (D-IL)

Al Franken (D-MN)

Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)

Mark Kirk (R-IL)

Mary Landrieu (D-LA)

Mark Pryor (D-AR)

Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)

Ron Wyden (D-OR)

Senators Blumenthal and Portman have already shown leadership on this issue by sponsoring the End Trafficking in Government Contracting bill, and by calling for the classifieds website, Backpage.com, to shut down its personal services section.  But much work remains to be done.

Blumenthal, Portman Launch Senate Caucus to End Human Trafficking

(Washington, DC) – Today, Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) launched the Senate Caucus to End Human Trafficking with celebrity advocate Jada Pinkett Smith, founder of Don’t Sell Bodies, as well as two survivors of human trafficking: Minh Dang, a doctoral student, and Withelma “T” Ortiz, a college student. The caucus will provide a forum for senators to come together to combat human trafficking by promoting awareness, removing demand, supporting prosecution efforts, and providing appropriate service systems for survivors. Release continued here.


Below is a recap of the caucus kickoff:


Since monitoring of human trafficking began in 2000, reports indicate that this crime may be on the rise.  The statistics are alarming:

  • Traffickers prey on the most vulnerable victims.  The Protection Project estimates that 50,000 women and girls are trafficked into the U.S. each year. The Department of Justice’s Human Trafficking Reporting System (HTRS) reported in 2010 that over 30% of sex trafficking cases in the U.S. involved the commercial sexual exploitation of a child. Many victims are uniquely vulnerable due to mental or physical disability, or immigration status.

 

  • Reported cases of human trafficking are on the rise.  The National Human Trafficking Resource Center (HTRS) hotline received 60% more calls from victims of human trafficking and a 64% increase in call volume in 2011 compared to 2010. This follows a steady increase in reported human trafficking cases between 2008 and 2010, while the State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report of 2012 listed an increase of global prosecutions and domestic convictions.

 

  • Trafficking victims come from diverse backgrounds.  The 2010 HTRS report showed that 80% of the victims in sex trafficking incidents were U.S. citizens, while more than 70% of the victims of labor trafficking were undocumented or qualified aliens. Women and girls made up 94% of sex trafficking victims, while 40% of labor trafficking victims were male. A victim may be traumatized by coercion into activities as diverse as commercial sex, selling drugs, begging on the street, or laboring in an unregulated industry.