May 6, 2014
07:08 AMConnecticut Today
Demand Side of Sex Trafficking Targeted by DeLauro of Connecticut
Arnold Gold/New Haven Register
Tammy Sneed, left, director of girls’ services for the Connecticut Department of Children and Families, and DCF Commissioner Joette Katz, right, listen to U.S. Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro speak about the problem of human trafficking Monday in New Haven
NEW HAVEN—A teenage girl stole her aunt’s debit card and was taking money out of the account to meet a quota for her pimp, recalled Tammy Sneed of the state Department of Children and Families.
“If she didn’t pull in $1,000 at night, she was gonna be beaten, so she would go to the ATM, pull out the difference and pay,” Sneed said.
Sneed said while law enforcement in Connecticut doesn’t often arrest 16-year-olds for prostitution, trafficking victims are charged with other “related” crimes.
U.S. Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro, D-3, gathered with DCF and Love146 Monday to discuss ongoing efforts to fight human trafficking in the U.S. As a member of the congressional caucus on human trafficking, DeLauro said she is fighting, along with her colleagues, to strengthen “our response to this criminal industry.”
“It is slavery, pure and simple,” DeLauro said.
DeLauro said slavery is “abhorrent to our basic democratic ideas and to our way of life,” and yet, human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal enterprise worldwide. Trafficking generates $32 billion a year, third only to the drug and arm trades, she added.
Along with U.S. Reps. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y, and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., DeLauro introduced a resolution committing members to getting more involved in the fight against human trafficking. The resolution declaring “Our Daughters Are Not For Sale” has 84 cosponsors, DeLauro said.
“This is not — it cannot be — a partisan issue,” DeLauro said.
DeLauro said she also is circulating a letter demanding that the Justice Department “implement the demand side of provisions against human trafficking.” She said the focus often is on the supply, not the demand, allowing the social stigma to fall on the victims. DeLauro advocated for more collaboration between law enforcement, juvenile authorities and other agencies.
“We need to go after the criminals and we need to go after the abusers,” she said.