Mr. POE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, as a former Harris County Judge and prosecutor and the cofounder and chairman of the Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus, protecting the most vulnerable in our society is a top priority for me. I first learned about human trafficking when I was overseas in the Ukraine and soon discovered that modern day slavery occurs in the United States as well, including all around Texas, which is unfortunately a hub given its proximity to the border and many large highways, ports, and airports. The United States views itself as a leader in the fight against human trafficking, even going as far as to grade other countries on their efforts to combat trafficking in persons. Yet, before the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA) became law, I heard about common issues from anti-trafficking organizations on the national, state, and local levels as well as law enforcement and local leaders: The federal government barely funds efforts to combat trafficking in the United States. Trafficking victims are often arrested and treated as criminals, but buyers are often not. Many Americans including those that interact with trafficking victims—law enforcement, educators, medical professionals, and others —do not know about human trafficking or understand how to identify victims. A bipartisan, bicameral group of Members of Congress, led in the House by myself, a Texas Republican, and Congresswoman CAROLYN MALONEY, a New York Democrat, and in the Senate by a Texas Republican, Senator JOHN CORNYN, an Oregon Democrat, Senator RON WYDEN, who came together, recognizing these issues, and wrote a bill to address them, relying a lot on what we learned from Texas, a trailblazer in addressing human trafficking. A core provision of JVTA is the Domestic Trafficking Victims’ Fund. It is clear that more resources need to be put towards human trafficking, but the question is where to get the money. The answer is to supplement current funding, which should be a priority through general appropriations, with financing from the criminals. Let those who harm vulnerable people pay for the damage they have caused. A $5,000 special assessment is collected from those convicted of human trafficking and other related charges, which goes into the Domestic Trafficking Victims’ Fund to finance grant programs that address trafficking including law enforcement operations, training, and victims’ services. A fundamental goal of JVTA is for victims of human trafficking to be treated as victims and not criminals. This is addressed in a number of provisions in the law, including a newly created community-based block grant. The grant promotes the use of a collaborative model (government and non-profits working together) by cities and states to address child trafficking through the enhancement of anti-trafficking law enforcement units, the creation or continuation of problem solving courts like the GIRLS court in Houston, and shelters and services for victims. The bill also changes statutory language that references child prostitution to child trafficking and encourages a safe harbor model in the states. We also focus on the demand—buyers, those that exploit women and children. While many call these people ‘‘johns,’’ I call them child molesters. John is a name from the Bible, a good guy, not someone who pays money to abuse a fellow person. JVTA clarifies that those who buy sex from trafficking victims are human traffickers, can and should be punished under federal law, and are subject to the same penalties as sellers. Gone are the days of boys being boys. We can no longer turn a blind eye to this crime. These core provisions of the legislation guide JVTA as a whole as a victim-centered, tough on crime, fiscally responsible measure that makes certain that the United States is truly a leader in ending modem day slavery. I commend the Texas Legislature for making our state a leader in fighting against the scourge of human trafficking. I appreciate the weight given to this important bill and look forward to continuing to work together to protect our children, the vulnerable in our society, and making sure the bad guys pay. A society will be judged by how it treats the most vulnerable. And that’s just the way it is.