Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Congressman Poe: Fighting Human Trafficking (slavery)


Last Sunday, fans from all over the United States gathered in Houston to root on the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots. I'm proud of all of the hard work that went into making this event a huge success, a safe event, and something that we Houstonians can be very proud of.

And, I'm proud of our law enforcement who arrested 178 sex buyers for trying to buy victims of modern day slavery right the midst of the fanfare of the Super Bowl. It is an unfortunate fact that big events like the Super Bowl are a draw for traffickers, but we know that this crime doesn't go away just when the large events end.
My goal is clear: end trafficking. Not in our city, not in our state, not in our country. In recent years, Congress has passed several bills to assist in the fight to end human trafficking, including my bill, the bipartisan Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA). JVTA is now federal law, and it's a great start to help go after human traffickers and buyers and restore victims.

Even so, there is still much work to be done to make trafficking a thing of the past. This week, I had the opportunity to speak at the Second Annual McCain Institute Trafficking Symposium about what Congress is doing to help eradicate this scurge. You can watch the panel by clicking here or on the photo below.
Speaking with Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Bob Corker (R-TN) at the McCain Institute's Trafficking Symposium.

I also recently toured Courtney's House, a shelter in Washington, D.C., that Tina Frundt, a survivor of trafficking, founded to rescue and support trafficking victims. She actively uses her own personal experience to connect with victims and give them support, nourishment, and hope. Since 2008, Courtney's House has helped over 500 victims escape the bonds of sex slavery and become survivors.

Standing with Tina Frundt, a survivor of human trafficking who now works to help restore other victims.

Back in the Harris County Courthouse, I saw firsthand how criminal cases were about the people versus the criminal. What did that mean for the victims of crime?  Under the Reagan administration, a novel program was started called the Crime Victims' Fund. Under VOCA, the Victims of Crime Act, criminals convicted of certain federal crimes would pay into a fund to pay for the costs of their crimes. That money is then used for victims and helps pay for their injuries, for their medical expenses, sometimes their funeral expenses. But now, the fund is being threatened by bureaucrats who want to use it for other purposes. This money does not belong to the federal government. It does not belong to taxpayers. It's criminals paying for the harm they caused to their victims. To prevent a raid on this fund, I've introduced H.R. 818 to ensure that VOCA funds can only be used for their original intent: helping victims of crime. Learn more about my bill here.
While I've been up in Washington for votes, my staff has been all around the district meeting with constituents and attending events in our community. Here are a few recent pics:

Please keep in touch and let me know what issues are most important to you and your family.


Member of Congress

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