House Unanimously Passes Congresswoman Bass Legislation
The House of Representatives unanimously passed the “Strengthening the Child Welfare Response to Trafficking Act of 2014,” legislation authored by Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-Calif.) that will help to connect child victims of trafficking to appropriate services and prevent further exploitation.
The legislation is the result of years of work by Rep. Bass and child welfare advocates at addressing the link between children in foster care and sex trafficking. In Los Angeles County, 59 percent of the 174 children arrested in 2010 on “prostitution” charges had contacts with the child welfare system, and 58 percent of 72 sexually trafficked girls in Los Angeles County’s STARS Court in 2012 were children in foster care. Under-age girls should never be arrested and charged with prostitutions when they are victims.
“Today the House of Representatives took a big and important step to protect children in the foster care system,” said Rep. Bass. “This legislation will provide real training to those responsible for protecting foster children and will compile concrete data so that we can continue to fight against sex trafficking”
“Rights4Girls applauds the passage of the Strengthening the Child Welfare Response to Trafficking Act and thanks Congresswoman Bass for her tireless efforts in bringing the vulnerability of these youth to light,” said Yasmin Vafa, Rights4Girls’ Director of Law and Policy. “There is an undeniable intersection between child welfare involvement and child trafficking. Today’s legislation takes crucial steps to protect our most vulnerable children by improving our current policies to ensure that trafficked and exploited youth in our system are no longer invisible.”
The legislation now moves to the Senate for consideration.