Taking Steps to Fight Human Trafficking in America

September 10, 2014

Suspected Uighurs are transported back to a detention facility in the town of Songkhla in southern Thailand after visiting women and children at a separate shelterLast month a number of Thomson Reuters Leaders attended the National Conference of State Legislatures 2014 Legislative Summit, where legislators and staff from across the country gathered together to share ideas, and discuss initiatives and strategies for solving several important issues facing America.

While Thomson Reuters was there as a sponsor and exhibitor, we also attended educational sessions as we were able. One of the sessions that I found most impactful was led by Senator Amy Klobuchar (MN) and Cindy McCain, and focused on the issue of human trafficking in America. During the session I was both surprised and troubled to learn that:

  • The average age of a child when they first become a victim of human trafficking is just 13 years old. 13!
  • Guns and drugs can only be sold once, but a girl/woman can be sold multiple times a day

But I was encouraged to learn about the steps that are being taken by Sen. Klobuchar and McCain, in partnership with bipartisan legislators, law enforcement, and other stakeholders, to combat this issue.

One step involves the introduction of new legislation, The Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act (SETT), modeled after Minnesota’s Safe Harbor Law that went into effect in August of this year. If passed, SETT will give prosecutors and law enforcement the tools that they need to ensure that minors who are sold for sex are treated as victims, not defendants, and that they receive the support they need. You can read more about the proposed legislation here.

The Thomson Reuters Foundation has also been actively involved in the fight against human trafficking. The foundation has worked to bring law firms and corporate legal teams together to address global women’s rights issues ranging from domestic workers’ rights to laws on human trafficking and prostitution. For more information about the programs and projects that are being undertaken, visit our website.