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Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the work the gentleman, Mr. Smith, has done on human trafficking throughout his career here in Congress to make the Congress and the American people aware of this horrible tragedy that's taking place throughout the world. And I especially appreciate his work on this legislation, International Megan's Law.
Mr. Speaker, slavery is alive and, unfortunately, doing very well in this world today. We see it in the form of human trafficking, sex trafficking, slavery of children who are taken from different parts of the world by these slave traders and, for money, they exploit these children, and they make money because there are consumers that want to abuse children.
Unfortunately, 25 percent of the consumers who use sex trade victims are from the United States. They leave this country. They go to foreign countries. They find some child, and they abuse that child, and they pay some slave trader for that service. A million people a year are involved as victims of human trafficking. Fifty percent of them are children. Most of them are under the age of 18. It is the scourge that is taking place in our world today. And it's about time we let the world know about it. And it's about time we do something about it.
I am founder and cochair, along with my friend Mr. Costa from California, of the Victims Rights Caucus. Children that are exploited, that are taken and they are used for sex trafficking, first of all are not criminals. They are victims of criminal conduct. The criminals are the slave traders and the criminals are those who pay to exploit those children.
It's important that we first take care and find out who those victims are. We should treat them as victims, those children that have been exploited. The second thing we do, we find out who those slave traders are and we put them in jails throughout the world. Lock them up. That's where they belong, no matter where they do their dirty deeds. And the third thing is those consumers, those who pay to exploit children, some of those 25 percent from the United States, we not only lock them up, we let people know who they are. We publish their names, we put their photographs on the Internet, we let people know who these individuals are.
This legislation goes a long way in helping the children. So when some predator gets out of our penitentiary for molesting a kid and wants to leave the country to continue their evil ways, they've got to tell us about it so we can tell that other country, Watch out, this this guy's coming to your country. And so that country can be on notice, so we can be on notice, so we can keep up with these people.
Based on my experience as a judge in Texas for over 20 years, unfortunately most of these child molesters, when they leave the penitentiary, they do it again, and they continue those devilish ways. And it's important we know who they are. This legislation is excellent. I support it.
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