The committee is meeting today to examine our Nation's efforts to combat human trafficking. Human trafficking is emerging in epidemic proportions throughout the United States and the world. In many cities across the United States, women and children, some not even in their teens, are held against their will and forced into prostitution rings. While victims might not be physically imprisoned, they are trapped in deplorable conditions through force, fraud, or coercion that can make escape seem impossible. As the fastest-growing criminal industry, human trafficking is generating billions of dollars for its perpetrators. Hundreds of thousands of American children have become victims of human trafficking. In Texas, the Office of the Attorney General reported that between 2007 and 2012, it identified almost 700 human trafficking-related incidences, involving almost 800 victims. Children who should be learning in school, as we sit here, are also held captive and forced into manual labor, along with their parents, in order to satisfy exorbitant illegal debts to traffickers that they can never hope to repay. Some are brought into the United States from abroad with the promise of freedom and opportunity, only to be forced into modern-day slavery.
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