Mr. Speaker, I thank the chairman for bringing up this legislation. Mr. Speaker, this past February, in my hometown of Houston, Texas, we hosted the 51st Super Bowl.
For most Americans, the Super Bowl is a funfilled day spent with friends, family, and cheering on our favorite team. But for human traffickers, the Super Bowl has become an annual opportunity to expand their evil, criminal empire.
Studies show that big events like the Super Bowl create large upticks in the trafficking and purchasing of sex trafficking victims. In order to counteract this, the Department of Homeland Security, as a part of its Blue Campaign initiative, began preparing months in advance before the Super Bowl in Houston.
Through the Blue Campaign, the Department of Homeland Security raises public awareness, it forges antitrafficking partnerships, and brings suspected human traffickers to justice. Most importantly, it rescues victims of the sex trafficking trade. In advance of the last Super Bowl, the Blue Campaign worked with local, State, and Federal law enforcement agencies on the ground, as well as participating in several congressional briefings.
One such briefing I hosted here in Washington. Everybody working together, all different law enforcement agencies, State, local, and Federal, had a great result in what occurred in Houston. Over 750 people were arrested, and 86 victims were rescued.
Many more were likely spared being forced into the trafficking industry. Having worked closely with the Blue Campaign on this, and many other operations, I have seen firsthand the important role the Department of Homeland Security has in fighting the scourge of human trafficking.
Mr. Speaker, as you know, trafficking is second only to the drug trade in the amount of money, criminal money, it brings in. And the Department of Homeland Security Blue Campaign Authorization Act will ensure that the critically important program continues to provide safety to victims and gets some justice to the traffickers and those would-be buyers of little children.
Mr. Speaker, I commend the chairman for this legislation.
And that is just the way it is.