Buchanan cosponsors measure to stop human trafficking

Human trafficking is the fastest growing segment of organized crime and the second largest criminal industry in the world, and Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) said on Monday he cosponsored legislation that would help prevent it.

“In a country founded on principles of freedom, it is a sad reality that hundreds of thousands of women and children are victims of human trafficking in the United States,” Buchanan said. “These atrocities must be addressed.”

The bipartisan End Sex Trafficking Act is intended to assist law enforcement agencies detect, investigate and prosecute sex trafficking predators. The measure would also enhance the punishment of offenders by expanding prohibitions against sex trafficking in federal criminal code.

More than 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year, and more than 1 million children are exploited by the global commercial sex trade each year, according to the non-profit group Polaris Project.

“Too many innocent lives remain at risk to allow this gruesome criminal industry to continue,” Buchanan said.

In the United States, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center fielded 31,945 calls from victims of human trafficking or those who wished to report it in 2013. The organization also received 1,488 e-mails and 1,669 online tips during that time.