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House Panel Examines Domestic Child Sex Trafficking

On March 26, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations held a hearing, “Innocence for Sale: Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking.”

The Honorable Donna Quigley Groman, supervising judge, Kenyon Juvenile Justice Center, Los Angeles County Juvenile Delinquency Court, focused her remarks on the need to treat children who have been trafficked as victims. She said, “It is important to understand that these youth are not criminals. They are children who are being abused by sex traffickers, and they deserve the same protections and resources to which other child victims of sexual or physical abuse and neglect are entitled. Child victims of sexual abuse are comforted by assurances that they are not responsible for the abuse. Child victims of commercial sexual exploitation deserve the same assurances. The criminalization of commercial exploitation of children holds these children responsible for not preventing their exploitation.”

Highlighting federal efforts to end domestic child sex trafficking, Michael Harpster, acting deputy assistant director, Criminal Investigative Division, Branch 1, Federal Bureau of Investigation, noted that “By utilizing information obtained through [task force] operations, and by building a strong rapport with victims, the FBI often uncovers organized efforts to prostitute women and children across many states. These investigations can lead to local, state, or federal charges. To date, our investigations have led to the conviction of more than 1,400 pimps, madams, and their associates who commercially exploit children through prostitution. These convictions have resulted in lengthy sentences, including multiple life sentences and the seizure of real property, vehicles, and monetary assets.”

The following witnesses also testified during the hearing:

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