News

Latest News

Next Week: Rubio Staff Hosts Mobile Office Hours

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) office will host in-person and virtual Mobile Office Hours next week to assist constituents with federal casework issues in their respective local communities. These office hours offer constituents who do not live close to one of...

read more

Rubio Marks National Slavery & Human Trafficking Prevention Month, Pushes For Reforms In Child Welfare Systems

Jan 30, 2014 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today marked National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month and urged Congress to pass The Strengthening the Child Welfare Response to Human Trafficking Act, a bill he and U.S. Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) introduced last month to combat sex and labor trafficking in child welfare systems.

During a video message at an anti-human trafficking event hosted by Free The Slaves at Broward College today, Rubio said, “In South Florida, our community knows all too well how much of a problem this is. Just this month, a human trafficking ring was busted at a Miami Beach strip club. Their victim was a 13-year old girl. 13 years old.

“It seems unconscionable that anyone would target and exploit our precious children like this. But they do, and we need to do more to stop it,” Rubio continued. “Last year, Congress took an important step to combat human trafficking by reauthorizing landmark legislation. But significant gaps remain.

“That’s why I’ve introduced ‘The Strengthening the Child Welfare Response to Human Trafficking Act’ – a bill to combat sex and labor trafficking in child welfare systems across the country. And we need your support to pressure Congress to get it passed and signed into law this year,” Rubio added.

This legislation requires states to report to the Department of Health and Human Services the number of trafficking victims in their child welfare systems as well their current procedures and policies to combat this problem. The bill includes sample protocols and recommended strategies in order to identify trafficking victims and allows for the collection, documentation and data sharing in existing statewide automated child welfare information systems.

For television stations interested in airing the message, a broadcast quality video is available here. The link to this video message expires today.

The full transcript of Rubio’s remarks is available below:

Hello, I’m Marco Rubio and it’s my honor and privilege to serve you here in the United States Senate.

I want to thank Broward College, Free the Slaves and the Wasie Foundation for organizing this event – and for all the work you do on behalf of human trafficking victims, and all the work you do to fight this grotesque form of modern day slavery.

It seems unreal that, in 2014, slavery still exists. But it does, and the problem is still so rampant that this entire month is officially dedicated to raising awareness of it. It’s National Slavery and Human Trafficking Month.

In South Florida, our community knows all too well how much of a problem this is. Just this month, a human trafficking ring was busted at a Miami Beach strip club. Their victim was a 13-year old girl. 13 years old.

It seems unconscionable that anyone would target and exploit our precious children like this. But they do, and we need to do more to stop it.

Sadly, our community in South Florida ranks near the top nationwide for human trafficking crimes. And every day seems to bring some new news story of victims being exploited. But fortunately we’re also seeing more and more stories of arrests, prosecutions and jail sentences.

And that’s where your work is so important. 

Last year, Congress took an important step to combat human trafficking by reauthorizing landmark legislation. But significant gaps remain. For example, too many innocent children in our child welfare systems are being targeted. For children, adoptions and foster care should be a lifeline to a better life, not a path to being a trafficking victim.

That’s why I’ve introduced “The Strengthening the Child Welfare Response to Human Trafficking Act” – a bill to combat sex and labor trafficking in child welfare systems across the country. And we need your support to pressure Congress to get it passed and signed into law this year.

But our concerns about this problem shouldn’t just be limited only to what’s happening here in the United States. For example, children are being trafficked into domestic servitude in Haiti, or used for slave labor in Brazil’s agriculture and timber sectors. It’s happening virtually everywhere.

We need U.S. government at all levels engaged with foreign governments, law enforcement, civil society, the business community and survivor activists – to end human trafficking at home and abroad.

So I want to thank you again for all the work you’re doing and encourage you to continue your activism. It matters a lot, and it’s the reason why many victims of trafficking have been rescued and given a second chance to reclaim their God-given dignity and achieve their God-given potential. 

Thank you for what you do. May God bless all of you. May God bless all those impacted by human trafficking. And may God always bless our country, the United States of America.