Victims' Rights Caucus


Washington, Sep 13 -


Mr. Speaker, in the United States, throughout this entire land, there are 3,500 shelters--3,500 shelters--and these shelters are animal shelters. According to the Humane Society, there are at least 3,500 animal shelters in our Nation rescuing those animals, primarily dogs and cats, and making sure that they have some safety.

I have Dalmatians. In fact, one of my Dalmatians was from a shelter, Dalmatian Rescue in Dallas, Texas, is where I got it. Three thousand five hundred. Bear that number in mind, Mr. Speaker, because in the same United States of America there are five shelters--five--for minor sex trafficked victims in this country. Fifty beds in the whole Nation is what I understand that there are to take care of minors, primarily young girls who are trafficked throughout the United States for sexual pleasure.

Maybe we have gotten our priorities out of sync. You know, sex trafficking is nothing more than modern day slavery, and it is an epidemic in some parts of the world, and it even is coming to the United States. It's that crime to me that no one wants to talk about.

I spent a lot of time at the courthouse in Houston, Texas, as a prosecutor in felony court, as a criminal court judge for 22 years, and I heard a lot of cases. But this case of someone kidnapping a minor child and transporting them across the United States for sex slavery is one of those cases that is difficult to understand why it occurs in this Nation. And many people, many people in the academic areas and others don't want to admit that takes place in this Nation, but human trafficking does take place, whether it's with minors or whether it's with adults, and primarily, Mr. Speaker, it's with women.

I have traveled to the Eastern European nations as a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and have discussed with people in the Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, the problem those nations have when their young women are sold to other nations in sex trafficking. Here's the way it works on the international scale. One way it works, and in many of these Eastern European countries, young women can't work, can't find jobs, and so they will learn either through the Internet or from an ad in the newspaper, if they go to a certain country they will be promised a job. So they leave their home in the Ukraine or Romania, and they go to some foreign country. They meet up with some person. It's a male, of course, and he promises that he will take care of them and they will get a job doing something. And, of course, what they end up doing is becoming a piece of property for that male so that that person can sell that young female into sex slavery.

Back home where they come from, their families many times never know what happened to their daughter or their sister. They have just disappeared off in some other country. That takes place in that form in many countries throughout Eastern Europe and other nations as well.

Unfortunately, those who keep statistics estimate that overseas the customers, the ones that use that sex trafficked victim, about 25 percent, I understand, are Americans; Americans that go overseas for the purpose of engaging in prostitution as a customer of some person that is trafficked internationally.

But let's bring it back closer to home and what's taking place in the United States. Being from Houston, Texas, the location of Houston, Texas, where it is on the map and its closeness to other nations south of the border makes it, unfortunately, a hub for internationally sex trafficked victi