Protect Human Trafficking
I am writing to ask you to support HR 4724 by Congressman Bruce Westerman. HR 4724 – also known as the Child Sex Crimes Victims Protection Act – will protect child victims of sex trafficking and sexual abuse who fight back against their abusers from receiving extreme sentences in the criminal justice system.
Child sexual abuse and sex trafficking is a widespread problem. In the United States, Child Protective Services estimates that 63,000 children are sexually abused each year. One in nine girls and one in fifty-three boys under the age of 18 experience sexual abuse or assault at the hands of an adult. Children who are victims of sexual assault are four times more likely to become addicted to drugs, four times as likely to experience Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and three times more likely to experience a major depressive episode.
In 2015, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimated that one in six endangered runaways are likely child sex trafficking victims. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, child welfare systems across 35 states reported 953 victims of sex trafficking in 2020.
Despite the traumatic experiences they endure, child sex crime victims are too often prosecuted as adults and face decades in prison. Similar legislation has recently been adopted in California, Oklahoma and Illinois, and new bills are currently pending in Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.
Please support HR 4724 to treat child victims as victims.