(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) issued the following statement in response to the release of Confronting Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking of Minors in the US – a two-year study sponsored by the Department of Justice and conducted by the National Academies’ Institute of Medicine:
“Sex trafficking is usually perceived as a faraway, foreign problem, but in fact, hundreds of thousands of children in the United States are at risk of abuse by sex traders. Children who rely on state child welfare and foster care systems are often most vulnerable to trafficking, which is why I, along with Senators Portman and Wyden, have introduced The Child Sex Trafficking Data and Response Act. This bipartisan bill would streamline data collection and reporting on sex trafficking in child welfare, and require state child welfare agencies to report the number of children identified as victims of sex trafficking and the identity of any child missing or abducted from care. I strongly urge Congress to pass this legislation, and support other measures to end the tragic sex trade of children in this country. I applaud DOJ and National Academies for this extensive report.”
In May 2013, the Senate Caucus to End Human Trafficking, co-chaired by Blumenthal and Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth hosted a congressional forum titled Children at the Intersection between Child Welfare and Domestic Child Trafficking to discuss how children in the child welfare and foster care systems are vulnerable to falling prey to traffickers and to identify tools and best practices to help communities screen for and provide services to victims of child trafficking. Below are key findings from the Confronting Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking of Minors in the US report:
- Commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of minors in the United States are serious problems with immediate and long-term adverse consequences.
- Efforts to prevent these problems are essential but largely absent.
- Efforts to identify and respond to these crimes are emerging, but largely under-supported, insufficient, uncoordinated, and unevaluated.
- Efforts to prevent, identify, and respond require collaborative approaches that build upon the core capabilities of people and entities from a range of sectors.
- Efforts need to confront demand and the individuals who commit and benefit from these crimes.