What happens when the most vulnerable, hurt, and forgotten girls are claimed by some of the most powerful women and mothers in our nation? Today, the women members of the U.S. House of Representatives, together with Google and Rights4Girls, are holding a "Women of the House" briefing on American girls being bought and sold for sex.
All across this nation, girls are being trafficked and sold. It is estimated that more than 200,000 American children are currently at risk of commercial sexual exploitation. The majority of them are girls. The average age of entry into a life of exploitation for these girls is between 12 and 14--in other words, girls in middle school. They are the lost girls, runaways from unstable homes or foster care placements where they have often been abused.
Today, we are bringing together the "Women of the House"--Republican and Democrat--and girl survivors of trafficking to address this modern-day form of slavery. And we are asking that these powerful women and mothers who represent us in Congress discuss and share the "Our Daughters Are Not for Sale" Proclamation.
The Proclamation calls its signatories to:
EDUCATE LOCAL COMMUNITIES TO PROTECT SEXUALLY EXPLOITED AND TRAFFICKED CHILDREN.
Educate family, friends, and neighbors to understand that girls subject to commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking are victims--most of whom came out of a broken child welfare system or are runaway youth who were subsequently preyed upon by exploiters and traffickers.
PROTECT AND SUPPORT FUNDING AUTHORIZED FOR DOMESTIC VICTIMS OF TRAFFICKING UNDER THE TRAFFICKING VICTIMS PROTECTION ACT (TVPA).
The TVPA was recently reauthorized, therefore it is critical that Congress support the authorizations designated for domestic victims in the appropriations process. These funds are vital to providing domestic victims of trafficking with much needed services, separate and distinct from those available to foreign victims of trafficking within the United States.
HELP GIRLS WHO HAVE BEEN SOLD FOR SEX.
Support survivors of domestic trafficking in their efforts to raise awareness on who trafficked girls are and the systems of support that trafficked girls require to heal from the complex trauma of sexual violence and exploitation.
SUPPORT THE EXTENSION OF EXISTING SERVICES TO CHILD VICTIMS OF TRAFFICKING.
Affirm that the same protections and supports that apply to victims of child abuse be extended to child victims of trafficking.
ENCOURAGE LAW ENFORCEMENT AND PROSECUTORIAL PROTOCOLS TO TREAT GIRLS AS VICTIMS AND NOT CRIMINALS.
Exploited and trafficked girls are not "bad girls" or "child prostitutes" but victims of systemized rape who need the same legal supports and protections other rape victims are afforded.
SUPPORT AN END TO DEMAND FOR GIRLS.
Our daughters are not for sale. Anyone who buys or sells a child should be punished accordingly.
We are confident that ending the commercial sexual exploitation of our children can inspire bipartisan cooperation in the Congress and signal to the country that today, the "Women of the House" are choosing to stand together as a unified voice to highlight the conditions of our nation's most vulnerable girls. Because that is what women and mothers do for our daughters.