WASHINGTON, D.C. (ABC4) – Republican leaders are seeking a better look at the Federal Government’s combative efforts on preventing child trafficking.
Elementary, and Secondary Education Republican Leader Burgess Owens (R) Utah, Education and Labor Committee Republican Leader Virginia Foxx (R) North Carolina, and the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education sent a letter to Comptroller General Gene Dodaro asking the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to examine the Federal Government’s efforts to combat child trafficking.
In the letter, the members emphasized:
“Child trafficking is a horrific global humanitarian concern. Congress recently acted in a bipartisan manner to combat this form of modern-day slavery, passing several laws that created programs aimed at fighting trafficking of both children and adults. Before creating new duplicative programs that double down on previously failed practices, we want a holistic view of what is working, what is not, and where there may be gaps or overlap between programs. GAO has completed various reports on this topic, but we are interested to know more about the federal efforts on child trafficking so we can improve the system and ultimately, save lives.”
According to the letter, despite the efforts made by Congress to stop child trafficking, there hasn’t been any meaningful change in these crimes.
The letter asks for the GAO to issue a report about steps taken to eradicate child trafficking and include recommended improvements.
From 2018 to 2019, there was a 19% increase in human trafficking incidents, according to
the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline. Officials say something needs to change.
The letter states that the programs in place intended to fight this criminal activity are found in multiple agencies and have different purposes. This makes it difficult for policymakers to see the complete picture of the preventative measures taking place and how efficient they are.
To help understand the landscape of this topic, republican leaders have requested that GAO complete a report that answers the questions below:
- What federal programs exist to address child trafficking, what is known about the funding
status for each of these programs, and what is known about their effectiveness at
preventing trafficking or supporting victims?
- Of the existing programs, which programs are focused on prevention and which programs
are focused on supporting victims?
- Of the existing programs, which programs are focused nationally, and which are focused
- What federal programs exist to address human trafficking more broadly?
- What do we know about partnerships between educational institutions, local
governments, the federal government, and private businesses to help fight trafficking and to
- What do we know about the differences in programs to fight domestic trafficking and
efforts to fight international trafficking?
- How does trafficking impact vulnerable populations including runaway and homeless
- What is known about gaps in prevention or support efforts?
The letter was signed by Virginia Foxx and Burgess Owens. You can read it in full here.