May 20, 2014
Floor Statements

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Madam Speaker, we come together today at the end of Sexual Assault Awareness Month to address sexual assault in its most harrowing context, the rape of a child.

After our recent hearing on domestic minor sex trafficking, H.R. 3530, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, is an important step in combating the crisis of child sex trafficking in our country and helping survivors begin their lives anew.

Victims of child sex trafficking have suffered the worst trauma imaginable. As a result, they require comprehensive and tailored services to assist their recovery, but funding for the comprehensive care that survivors need is lacking. For example, only 20 beds exist for more than 2,200 children trafficked annually in New York City.

This bill is a step in the right direction, providing $5 million in grants for the comprehensive services that victims of trafficking need and correcting an administrative barrier that keeps domestic victims of trafficking from the services given to foreign victims.

While the rescue of trafficking victims is necessary, so is the prosecution of child rapists and traffickers. Federal courts have interpreted the existing statute to cover the acts of patronizing and soliciting.

Therefore, the addition of these terms under this bill is a mere clarification. Individuals who patronize and solicit already have been held criminally liable under the language of the existing law--specifically

under the provision criminalizing those who obtain those services in the original section 1591.

The Justice for Victims Trafficking Act ensures that law enforcement receives funds necessary to train, investigate, and prosecute more cases, which will send the message that the rape of a child is a crime that can be punished by local, State, and Federal officials.

Child rapists will find refuge in no jurisdiction. This bill will aid in the coordination of investigations among Federal, State, and local law enforcement and enhance reporting data for missing children.

Human trafficking is the second fastest-growing criminal industry in the world, generating over $32 billion annually, and H.R. 3530 is the most comprehensive piece of legislation to deal with this issue in years.

I want to commend our colleague, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Poe) for introducing the legislation and want to commend him and our full committee for working together across the aisle to reach compromise on the spending and foreign impacts of this legislation to streamline its passage.

Accordingly, I urge my colleagues to support H.R. 3530.