We must protect our kids
Without a doubt, human trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery and it is happening right under our nose. These crass criminal organizations exploit adults, and worst of all, young women and children. Tragically, Texas is home to an astounding nearly 80,000 minors who have fallen victim to this crime.
Simply put, we cannot allow this horrific human rights violation against our children to continue.
That is why it is critical we all work together to protect our kids, and I am proud of the many organizations in our district that are leading efforts to end human trafficking.
This year alone, I have visited several of these organizations to learn more about the work they are doing and let them know how I am leading efforts in Congress.
One great example is the Tomball Shield Bearer Human Trafficking Group which champions healthy family relationships and strong communities to defend our children against the threat of trafficking.
I also met with the Childproof America Human Trafficking Coalition in Katy, which works to educate, equip, and support America’s parents in protecting their children while also fighting to improve the quality of aid to impacted families.
In addition, I spoke to the Texas Regional Office of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children about the work I am spearheading in Congress to combat human trafficking. This group’s dedication to our local communities is vital in helping our child survivors of human trafficking recover.
Despite the organization, the stories they shared were heartbreaking, especially as a father of five.
I heard stories of young girls who were taken advantage of by their boyfriends. For example, one girl’s boyfriend groomed her for a year and ultimately convinced her to take provocative videos. He then used these videos to blackmail her into sex trafficking. Luckily, she was able to seek out resources in our community to help protect herself before he could use similar tactics on her little sister.
Other stories involve the parents. I heard a tragic story of parents who were working abroad who convinced two foreign girls to come back to the U.S. to marry their sons. The girls were brought to the states and instead of the jobs they were promised, were beaten, starved, and sold numerous times.
As Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, I have been working on ways to use our national security infrastructure to help combat human trafficking within our borders and protect our children. The recent culmination of these efforts was the passage of my Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Blue Campaign Authorization Act, which issues agency-wide guidance to develop training programs to spot human trafficking operations.
After a lot of hard work, I was proud to stand with President Trump at the White House as he signed this legislation into law.
Specifically, this bill will better equip DHS to partner, educate, and coordinate efforts and intelligence sharing between multiple levels of law enforcement and intelligence agencies. This will lead to a better system that allows our law enforcement to quickly detect and mitigate instances of human trafficking in our country while also raising public awareness to the threat human trafficking poses in our local communities.
This is an essential step in the right direction to ensure our children are protected from this evil.
Make no mistake, I remain committed to leading efforts in Congress to end this multi-billion-dollar industry that denies freedoms to 20.9 million people worldwide and sells our children into modern-say slavery.