Bipartisan Senators Join Forces to Fight Child Trafficking

Bipartisan Senators Join Forces to Fight Child Trafficking

( – Two U.S. Senators, Jon Ossoff (D-GA) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA), are collaborating in a bipartisan effort to address the growing menace of child trafficking. On Tuesday, they unveiled the “Preventing Child Trafficking Act of 2024,” a bill that aims to compel a more robust response from the Biden administration.

The urgency behind this legislation stems from a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that exposed the lack of coordinated efforts within the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Health and Human Services (HHS) to address child trafficking despite broader anti-trafficking initiatives. The report emphasizes the need for improved collaboration between these departments to tackle the challenges faced by child victims effectively.

To bridge this gap, the Preventing Child Trafficking Act mandates a clear timeline for implementing the GAO’s recommendations. It directs the Office for Victims of Crime to collaborate with the Office on Trafficking in Persons within 180 days to formulate a comprehensive strategy. Furthermore, it requires submitting a detailed progress report to Congress within 60 days of completion.

Senator Ossoff emphasized that child trafficking is a national crisis, noting Georgia’s vulnerability to this issue due to its frequent large sporting events, extensive highway network, and major international airport. According to him, the bipartisan bill represents a crucial step towards strengthening federal protections for vulnerable children and providing essential support to victims.

Senator Grassley shared the sentiment, emphasizing the federal government’s responsibility to prevent children from falling prey to this horrific crime. He mentioned that the bill aims to foster collaboration between agencies, prevent future instances of trafficking, prosecute perpetrators, and protect vulnerable children.

Against the backdrop of a rising trend in child sex trafficking cases, the legislation aims to address a 17% increase in the federal prosecution of cases specifically involving child sex trafficking from 2019 to 2020, where children make up 69% of all victims in new sex trafficking cases in 2020, with an average age of just 15 years old.

The United Nations Children’s Fund designates the U.S. as both a “source and transit country” and identifies it as a central hub for child trafficking, spanning all 50 states. This grim reality underscores the significance of legislative efforts to combat such heinous crimes.

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