As a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I care deeply about combating human trafficking in all its forms. This abhorrent practice affects every country in the world and represents a modern-day form of slavery.
As a nation, we must continue our work at all levels—from the federal government down to local communities—to prevent human trafficking and punish those who engage in this heinous act. This is why I have hosted community events with local leaders and law enforcement who deal with the issue every day. In Rockford, we were joined by nearly 200 concerned citizens and representatives from local law enforcement, faith leaders, and federal agencies, where we discussed the issues we face as a community and as a nation.
In addition to local action, Congress must continue to provide necessary resources to protect and assist victims by increasing punishments for human traffickers while also caring for anyone affected by this heinous crime. That is why I introduced the Reducing the Demand for Human Trafficking Act of 2019, which would encourage a more victim-centered approach to combating human trafficking by aiming to seek out those who solicit these trafficking services and hold them accountable for their crimes. I also introduced the SOAR Act (Stop, Observe, Ask and Respond to Health and Wellness Act), which was signed into Law, and would help raise awareness of human trafficking issues, as well as supports the training of healthcare workers to identify victims and best care for them through established protocols and procedures. Lastly, through the appropriations process, I also supported providing the necessary funding for the Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign, which combats human trafficking and helps those who have been trafficked.