Target: Representative Ted Poe of Texas
Goal: Thank Representative Poe for working to federally prosecute patrons of sexual slavery
Human trafficking is often associated with Asian countries such as Thailand, but this horrific modern-day slavery is abundant in the United States. Of the estimated 800,000 persons trafficked from country to country annually, an estimated 14,500 to 17,500 cross through the U.S. border. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) established federal penalties for those who participate in trafficking acts. However, no law at this level of government currently targets customers who pay for the services of sex slaves.
That situation may change. Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) has filed the End Sex Trafficking Act of 2013, which mandates federal-level penalties for those who purchase sexual services from trafficked minors. This new bill would amend the TVPA to allow prosecution of those “obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting” sexual services for children trafficked from state to state. It has bipartisan support in both houses of Congress, with backers including Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney and Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
It is easy to see why. The End Sex Trafficking Act of 2013 offers a novel and potentially effective way to address this horrifying form of slavery in the United States. It clearly recognizes that end-customers of sexual services from trafficked children are just as much a part of human trafficking networks as those who transport victims across borders. By signing this petition, you will thank Rep. Ted Poe for taking this important step towards combating human trafficking in the United States.
Dear Representative Poe,
Thank you for creating the End Sex Trafficking Act of 2013. As you know, human trafficking is a horrific form of modern-day slavery and one of the world’s most profitable criminal activities. The Polaris Project notes approximately 14,500 to 17,500 trafficking victims cross the U.S. border to be used for prostitution and forced labor. The federal government responded to this urgent issue with the creation of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA), establishing trafficking as a federal crime, but more action is needed.
This is where your bill comes in. The End Sex Trafficking Act of 2013 would amend the TVPA to establish federal penalties for those “obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting” sexual services from trafficked minors. It is novel because it makes an obvious but overlooked point about trafficking networks. End-customers who purchase services from sex slaves are just as much a part of this cruel chain as those who transport from border-to-border.
Childhood should be a time when kids are free to play and dream, not be forced into prostitution and transported from place to place against their will. Part of the key to fighting modern-day slavery is to ensure harsh penalties for those who exploit victims at all levels. By firmly establishing the patronizing of sex trafficking victims as a federal offense, the End Sex Trafficking Act of 2013 would bring us closer to seeing the end of modern-day slavery in the United States. Thank you for filing this important bill.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: ARaFah via DeviantArt