By: Senator John Cornyn and Congressman Ted Poe
Earlier this year, U.S. Marshals announced the arrest of Rosain Moreno, a 27-year-old Pennsylvania man, who allegedly convinced a 13-year-old girl to run away from her parents and travel with him to South Carolina. Once the child was reported missing, police asked the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force to get involved. Fortunately, they acted quickly, locating and arresting Moreno in South Carolina and bringing the young girl home safely.
Days before Moreno's arrest, the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons met in Washington. Eleven human trafficking survivors were introduced as members of the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking. The council was created in accordance with the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation we introduced and President Obama signed into law last year. These survivors all have different stories, but they have all lived the nightmare of human slavery. The Council will convene to make policy recommendations on how to continue the fight against this despicable scourge in our nation.
This year, instead of calling for new legislation, we are marking the impactful changes in federal law to combat human trafficking. While we have already seen positive outcomes in the first eight months of this law, the work is just beginning in the fight against 21st-century slavery in this nation.
The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act includes a wide variety of reforms that help victims get the shelter and services they need and provide them with a fresh start. Importantly, it ensures that those sold into the marketplace of sex slavery are treated as victims rather than criminals. The law also strengthens law enforcement tools to target the predators who purchase trafficked human beings.
As former judges, we strongly believe in not only punishing the people who commit these horrendous crimes but also in helping victims rebuild their lives. And as fathers, we refuse to sit back while children are being bought and sold in our own country. That's why we authored the act — to provide law enforcement with new tools to apprehend those who commit these heinous acts and to provide resources for the survivors to restore their lives. We are proud that this bipartisan bill is now the law of the land.
We don’t know what the fate of this young girl would have been had the authorities not rescued her. But we do know that because of the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, and the increased authority given to the U.S. Marshal Service, that child is home today, safe and sound.