Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today joined a panel at Politico’s annual Women Rule Summit to discuss efforts to combat human trafficking at home and abroad.
Rubio was joined on the panel by: Barbara Amaya, human trafficking advocate and survivor; Kate Bosworth, actress and filmmaker; Maura Healey, Massachusetts Attorney General; Sarah Saldaña, former Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; and moderator Susan Glasser, POLITICO-Chief International Affairs Columnist.
A partial transcript of Rubio’s remarks is below:
On need to improve law enforcement approach with victims: [Law enforcement treats victims] the way you would someone you arrest. They think that by arresting them and by intimidating them you’re going to get them to cooperate to testify against the people that put them there. That doesn’t work for someone who is psychologically shattered, in fear, whose mind is controlled by the individual that put them there. And that, I think, requires a longer term awareness campaign on our part to better train law enforcement, state attorneys, district attorneys, and U.S. attorneys across the country.
On labor trafficking: Obviously sex trafficking receives a lot of attention and rightfully so. But labor trafficking is an enormous problem as well.
On trafficking victims and the opioid crisis: The victim becomes, almost always unwillingly, addicted to an opiate or heroin. This person obviously now is suffering from that disease as well. And your trafficker is the person who possesses the substance to keep you out of the suffering that happens when you go through withdrawal. So it’s another one of the tools that’s used along with some of the other things we’ve talked about.
On domestic human trafficking: We should not lose sight that there is a significant number of people domestically here. Runaways and young girls who find themselves in vulnerable situations at home that become prime targets for what they may not even realize is trafficking until it’s really developed into something much more serious. You say there might be a young girl in Fairfax County? There most certainly is and probably more than one facing these circumstances today.
On bipartisanship efforts on human trafficking: Anytime you have a bipartisan sponsor, it increases dramatically your chances on getting a result. And on an issue like this that doesn’t really have natural partisan confines, it’s actually very productive.