WASHINGTON, DC – Tuesday, Illinois Congressman Peter Roskam spoke on the House floor in praise of a series of bipartisan anti-human trafficking bills and touted the work of groups in Suburban Chicago who are leading the way in the fight against trafficking.
Roskam told his House colleagues:
In the western suburbs of Chicago there is an organization called the West Suburban Anti-Trafficking Coalition. These are people who have come together trying to focus attention on what’s actually happening…and there’s something very good that’s happening in my home state of Illinois.
Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez is a national leader, along with a member of her staff Jack Blakey, who is the Chief of the Special Prosecutions, and they have come together to come up with something called ‘The Chicago Model.’ What is the ‘Chicago Model?’ They’re saying there has to be close coordination between victims services, law enforcement and prosecutors to the point where victims service advocates are accompanying on [law enforcement] on raids, coming alongside to make sure these young people are rescued…and the approach also minimizes a victim’s exposure in the courtroom itself, to minimize her contact with her trafficker. There is something incredible that is happening in Chicago that is leading the way.
Each year in the U.S. as many as 300,000 innocent children are at risk of falling victim to forced labor and sex exploitation known as human trafficking. Tuesday, the House passed several measures to improve support services for victims and strengthen law enforcement tools to crack down on those engaged in committing this evil crime.
- H.R. 4058, The Preventing Sex Trafficking and Improving Opportunities for Youth in Foster Care Act requires states to expand protections for children in foster care and empower them to develop into successful adults.
- H.R. 3530, The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act improves victims’ support and anti-trafficking grant programs and gives law enforcement officials more tools to bring human traffickers and their conspirators to justice.
- H.R. 3610, The Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act encourages states to establish safe harbor laws so that trafficked minors can seek protective services and counseling as victims, without fear of facing jail and being targeted as part of the problem.
- H.R. 4225, The Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation (SAVE) Act makes it a federal crime to advertise for commercial sex with minors.
- H.R. 4573, The International Megan’s Law to Prevent Demand for Child Sex Trafficking increases communication between the U.S. and other countries regarding sex offenders’ travel and allows the Secretary of State to restrict the passports of people convicted of sex crimes in other countries.
Congressman Roskam is a member of the Human Trafficking Task Force led by Majority Leader Eric Cantor. The task force is made up of House Members to identify substantive legislation that will combat domestic and international trafficking to bring to the House Floor and to raise awareness among other Members of Congress of these heinous crimes.