U.S. Representative Ed Royce (R-Fullerton), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement to mark Human Trafficking Awareness Day:
"Modern day slavery results in a $150 billion a year profit. It's egregious and unacceptable that millions of people around the world are trafficked. That's why I'm proud to be a leader in the fight against this heinous crime. While Congress has made progress by giving more resources to those on the front lines, there is still plenty of work to be done. Just recently, Backpage closed its adult advertising section after my colleagues and I pressured it to do so. Traffickers are changing their tactics in the Internet era, which means we must be innovative to stay one step ahead of them."
Today, Chairman Royce cosponsored the Trafficking Survivors Relief Act, which allows human trafficking victims to petition courts to clear their criminal records of non-violent offenses that they committed while they were being trafficked.
Chairman Royce voted for passage of the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act to protect victims by requiring traffickers to be treated as violent criminals for purposes of pre-trial release, monitoring, and detention. It also recognizes child pornography production as a form of human trafficking and ensures that victims have access to crucial support services. The President later signed this bill into law.
As Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Chairman Royce also oversaw passage of three pieces of anti-trafficking legislation by the Committee last year. He authored H.R. 400, the Trafficking Prevention in Foreign Affairs Contracting Act, an anti-trafficking measure to ensure U.S. tax dollars do not support human trafficking among the thousands of foreign workers the U.S. government employs overseas.
In 2013, Chairman Royce launched a Human Trafficking Congressional Advisory Committee (HTCAC) to address human trafficking concerns, as well as offer policy recommendations. The HTCAC is comprised of victims’ rights groups, local and federal law enforcement agencies, and community advocates, and is actively working to combat human trafficking in Southern California.