Culberson, Burgess Highlight Work in Congress to Fight Human Trafficking
Tour non-profit dedicated to educating public, direct intervention, and restorative care of “Modern Day Human Slavery”
Congressman Michael Burgess (TX-26) and I toured an anti-trafficking non-profit, while discussing the action Congress has taken in recent months to combat this growing problem.
Houston is a hotbed for human trafficking. It’s heart-wrenching to see how the victims – often women and children – are being treated as pawns to criminals. As the Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science, I have increased the number of grants to fight human trafficking by 82 percent to combat this modern-day slavery in Houston, Texas, and across the country.
Already this year, Congress has passed a number of bills to take aim at the criminal empires that are engaging in human trafficking. Most recently, the House of Representatives passed the Fight Illicit Networks and Detecting (FIND) Trafficking Act. This bill directs the General Accountability Office to compile data on how criminals are using virtual currency and online marketplaces in sex and drug trafficking. Law enforcement will be able to use this data to better understanding how traffickers are using technology to profit from their exploitation.
Congress also passed the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) in April. This bill makes it easier for law enforcement agencies to take action on websites that have made human trafficking a growing problem in recent years.
“The physical, mental, and emotional abuse trafficking victims endure is astonishing in its cruelty,” Congressman Burgess said. “As a physician, I am deeply concerned about trafficking victims' wellbeing. Simply put - human trafficking is modern-day slavery, and Republicans in Congress are have made combating this issue a priority.”
Anti-trafficking organization, Elijah Rising, hosted Congressman Burgess and I. It is devoted to combating the issue through awareness, direct intervention, and restorative care. It holds van tours as part of its public education campaign and gave the congressmen an abbreviated tour. We also received a tour of the Museum of Modern Day Slavery, which is housed at the Elijah Rising office.
"We are grateful for the Congressmen's time and attention to this issue,” Elijah Rising Executive Director Micah Gamboa said. “Human trafficking is not something that this nation can tolerate any longer. If we call ourselves a free and civilized society, then collectively we must issue a speedy and decisive end to this atrocity through whatever means necessary."
Photos from the visit can be downloaded here.