July 23, 2014
Floor Statements

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 5135, the Human Trafficking Prevention, Intervention, and Recovery Act of 2014. This bill is vital to identifying best practices and effective strategies to deter individuals from committing trafficking offenses and to prevent children from becoming victims, and it, therefore, enjoys bipartisan support in the House.

This bill will encourage Federal, State, and local governments to work together as an Interagency Task Force to investigate and enforce the existing laws. This task force will emphasize prosecution of the purchasers of sex with children as child rapists. These purchasers are usually referred to as ``johns'' who pay for sex with children, but insofar as children cannot consent to sex, the johns are legally committing rape and should be prosecuted as rapists.

The bill encourages law enforcement coordination with intergovernmental organizations and academics who will put into practice what research and data demonstrate will work to prevent these crimes.

The GAO will submit a report on how the Federal grant programs' funds have been used to combat human trafficking or to assist victims of trafficking. An Interagency Task Force will submit a report to Congress on its findings.

The bill will also provide housing to protect and assist children in recovering victims of trafficking. To date, the number of victims, especially child victims, greatly exceeds the number of available shelter beds.

Without a safe place to stay, many rescued victims will end up running away and returning to their abusers due to the unique trauma bond that occurs in these cases.

Along those lines, we must do more to rescue child victims and expand the services they need. Our country has a moral imperative to protect and help these children who are vulnerable, warrant special protection, and need these services, even in the best of circumstances.

This vulnerability is compounded amongst children who have been victims of sexual exploitation, physical violence, trauma, and extreme poverty. With our protection, support, and assistance, we can help them survive.

I commend my colleague from Virginia, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, for working to bring the bill to the floor, and I commend our colleague from South Dakota (Mrs. Noem) for introducing the legislation.

I urge my colleagues to join me in prosecuting those who rape children, protecting and rescuing child victims, and providing the victims with the support that they need.