(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) applauded the success of Operation Cross Country – the FBI’s three-day nationwide crackdown on child sex trafficking, whichresulted in the rescue of 105 children, including six in Connecticut and one in Ohio, and the arrest of 150 pimps. Blumenthal and Portman, co-chairs of the Senate Caucus to End Human Trafficking, reiterated their call for Congress to pass legislation to combat trafficking of children and adults.
Blumenthal said, “This stunning success – involving a dramatic rescue of six children in New Haven – shows how the invisible, pernicious scourge of human trafficking can hit close to home. Effective law enforcement in Connecticut and around the country is key to combating such predatory criminal exploitation. I thank New Haven and state police and other local law enforcement for their continued vigilance and vigor against human trafficking. This heinous crime forces innocent victims into abhorrent modern-day slavery. I call on Congress to pass the Child Sex Trafficking Data and Response Act of 2013 and other measures that would give law enforcement agencies better tools to crack down on human trafficking.”
“The FBI raid uncovers more proof of trafficking happening in our own backyards all across America,” said Portman. “While we focus on getting these 105 young victims the treatment and care they need to be able to begin to recover from this horrible trauma, we must all do more to put an end to sex trafficking. We can no longer close our eyes to this type of abuse and exploitation. I am committed to doing everything in my power to pass legislation like the Child Sex Trafficking Data and Response Act to help ensure that sex trafficking of children is a thing of the past.”
Blumenthal and Portman are co-sponsors of the Child Sex Trafficking Data and Response Act of 2013 (S.1118),legislation that would streamline data collection and reporting on sex trafficking in child welfare. Specifically, the bill requires 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. Additionally, this bill encourages states to improve coordination between child welfare, juvenile justice, and social service agencies to address the unique needs of victims of child sex trafficking, including placements in stable housing, treatments for sexual trauma, and other measures to help them reach a full recovery.
In May 2013, the Senate Caucus to End Human Trafficking 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. Information about the forum can be found here. Information about Operation Cross Country can be found here: