Foxx, Owens request examination on child trafficking

In case you missed it, Education and Labor Committee Republican Leader Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Republican Leader Burgess Owens (R-UT) sent a letter to Comptroller General Gene Dodaro requesting the Government Accountability Office (GAO) examine the federal government’s efforts to combat child trafficking.

In the letter, the Members wrote:

“Child trafficking is a horrific global humanitarian concern. Congress recently acted in a bipartisan manner to combat this form of modern-day slavery, passing several laws that created programs aimed at fighting trafficking of both children and adults. Before creating new duplicative programs that double down on previously failed practices, we want a holistic view of what is working, what is not, and where there may be gaps or overlap between programs. GAO has completed various reports on this topic, but we are interested to know more about the federal efforts on child trafficking so we can improve the system and ultimately, save lives.”

Read the full letter to Comptroller General Dodaro here or below:

Dear Mr. Dodaro:

Child trafficking is a horrific global humanitarian concern. Congress recently acted in a bipartisan manner to combat this form of modern-day slavery, passing several laws that created programs aimed at fighting trafficking of both children and adults. Unfortunately, these efforts have not meaningfully reduced rates of human trafficking. For this reason, we are requesting the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issue a report on the federal government’s implementation of these programs and recommendations for improvement.

From 2018 to 2019, there was a 19 percent increase in human trafficking incidents, according to the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline. Something needs to change. The programs intended to fight this criminal activity are housed in several agencies and have differing purposes, making it challenging for policymakers to see the complete picture of the prevention activities that are taking place and the efficacy of those activities.

Before creating new duplicative programs that double down on previously failed practices, we want a holistic view of what is working, what is not, and where there may be gaps or overlap between programs. GAO has completed various reports on this topic, but we are interested to know more about the federal efforts on child trafficking so we can improve the system and ultimately, save lives.

To help us understand the landscape of this topic, we request GAO complete a report that answers the following questions:

  1. What federal programs exist to address child trafficking, what is known about the funding status for each of these programs, and what is known about their effectiveness at preventing trafficking or supporting victims?
  2. Of the existing programs, which programs are focused on prevention and which programs are focused on supporting victims?
  3. Of the existing programs, which programs are focused nationally, and which are focused internationally?
  4. What federal programs exist to address human trafficking more broadly?
  5. What do we know about partnerships between educational institutions, local governments, federal government, and private businesses to help fight trafficking and to support victims?
  6. What do we know about the differences in programs to fight domestic trafficking and efforts to fight international trafficking?
  7. How does trafficking impact vulnerable populations including runaway and homeless youth?
  8. What is known about gaps in prevention or support efforts?

Thank you for your attention to this matter. If you have additional questions or comments, please contact Mandy Schaumburg ([email protected]) of the Committee staff at (202) 225-4527.