Washington, DC- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced that he is pushing for passage of legislation, the Child Sex Trafficking Data and Response Act of 2013, which would protect child victims of sex trafficking by ensuring reliable data is available as it relates to children in the child welfare system, one of the populations most vulnerable to becoming victims of child sex trafficking.
“Sex trafficking is a cowardly crime that takes advantage of some of the country’s most vulnerable children,” Senator Casey said. “This legislation will improve state and national data on child trafficking so that law enforcement and child welfare agencies can take steps to better protect children. Without better information on the number of children being trafficked, we cannot hope to end this terrible scourge. We also need to provide better services to child victims of sex trafficking, who have unique needs as they recover. This legislation will promote better coordination among the agencies involved in caring for, and protecting, these vulnerable children.”
Domestic child sex trafficking remains a serious problem in Pennsylvania and across the United States. There are an estimated 293,000 American youth at risk of commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking. Research suggests that the majority of trafficked youth in the United States have been in and out of the child welfare system, specifically foster care. The Child Sex Trafficking Data and Response Act of 2013:
- Requires that each state’s Foster Care and Adoption Assistance plan contains a description of the specific measures taken to protect and provide services to children who are victims of sex trafficking.
- Requires law enforcement authorities to notify the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) when a child is missing from state care.
- Amends the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) to require that child victims of sex trafficking are considered victims of abuse and neglect, giving those victims access to additional services.
- Requires state plans under CAPTA to include provisions and procedures to identify and assess all reports involving children known or suspected to be victims of sex trafficking, and to train child protective services workers on how to identify and provide services for child victims of sex trafficking.
- Requires the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to submit a report to Congress detailing issues related to identifying and providing services for victims of labor trafficking within the child welfare system.