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Occurrences in the Congressional Record

Entry Title Date
Remembering Trooper James A. Moen And Recognizing Megan Peters June 24, 2015
Lisa Murkowski, R-AK
"One of Trooper Moen’s children is Megan Peters, a spokesperson for the Alaska State Troopers. Megan‘s name is perhaps better known among Alaskans than her father’s was. But one thing that Alaskans may not know is that Megan plays a leading role in organizing the Alaska police memorial ceremony each May. While all Alaska’s law enforcement officers who gave their lives in the line of duty are recognized in this ceremony, the emphasis is on honoring those who passed in the preceding year."
Recognizing Conversations June 24, 2015
David Vitter, R-LA
"In 2010, Megan Hargroder noticed a lack in social media and online engagement consulting for startups, small businesses, and nonprofits in the greater New Orleans area. Eager to fill the niche, Hargroder founded the media consulting company Conversations. Through Conversations, Hargroder’s team provides targeted, easy-to-implement strategies for entities to connect with clients and future clients across a variety of online media platforms. Conversations has been an integral component in the online presence of hundreds of local organizations, businesses, and campaigns, such as the Junior League of New Orleans, the League of Women Voters, Tobacco Free Living, and former New Orleans Saints safety Steve Gleason. Additionally, the Conversations team maintains an online journal and steady calendar of speaking engagements in their quest to continually educate and engage folks in social media outreach techniques."
Recognizing Huntington High School And Huntington Middle School Students For Representing West Virginia In The 2015 Science Olympiad National Tournament May 21, 2015
Evan Jenkins, R-WV
"Science Olympiad team members from Huntington Middle School include: Team Coach Leann Haines, Tess Anderson, Beth Bell, Khaled El-Shazly, Allyson Ey, Elena Ferguson, Shylah Johnson, Phillip Murphy, Kayla Patrick, Rankin Payne, Sam Pittman, Clara Poling, Perin Schray, Isaac Sutherland, Megan Wolf, Demetrios Svingos, Cassidy Woodrum."
150Th Anniversary Of The Town Of Clinton, New Jersey May 20, 2015
Leonard Lance, R-NJ
"I thank and congratulate Megan Jones-Holt for her work as chair of the 150th anniversary committee. She and her husband, former mayor and current Hunterdon County Freeholder Matt Holt, do so very much for the town civically."
A Pathway To Freedom: Rescue And Refuge For Victims Of Sex Trafficking May 19, 2015
Christopher Smith, R-NJ
"Mr. Speaker, I recently chaired a hearing focusing on the fight against human trafficking—an insidious human rights abuse that thrives in an environment of secrecy, of silence, and of a mindset that says that it is somebody else’s problem. The truth of the matter is that combating modern-day slavery is everybody’s business. We are all in this together. Cooperation and coordination are key to mitigating—and someday ending—this pervasive cruelty. Significant progress has been made since I authored landmark legislation—the Trafficking Victim’s Protection Act of 2000, or TVPA—to combat sex and labor trafficking in the United States and globally. When I first introduced the TVPA in 1998 however, I was repeatedly told by detractors that it was a “solution in search of a problem.” The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, and its 2003 and 2005 reauthorizations, which I also authored, launched a bold new strategy that included sheltering, political asylum, and other protections for the victims; long jail sentences and asset confiscation for the traffickers; and tough sanctions for governments that failed to meet minimum standards prescribed in the TVPA. And for the first time ever, the law recognized the exploited as victims—not perpetrators of a crime. Since 2004, the TVPA has resulted in Anti-Human Trafficking Task Forces in 42 cities across the U.S. These task forces identify potential victims of human trafficking, coordinate local and federal law enforcement to rescue victims, assist with referrals for victim care, and train law enforcement. Last week’s hearing concentrated on rescue and refuge. In January of 2000, I received actionable information that eight Ukrainian women were being exploited by sex traffickers in two bars in Montenegro. The women had been lured there with promises of legitimate work, then forced into prostitution. One desperate victim, however, called her mother for help using the phone of one of the men exploiting her. When informed, I immediately called the Prime Minister of Montenegro, Filip Vujanovic, who personally ordered an immediate raid on the bar. As a result, seven of the eight women were rescued and returned to their families in Ukraine. Tragically, the eighth woman was trafficked to Albania prior to the raid. We know that organized crime, street gangs, and pimps around the world have expanded into sex trafficking at an alarming rate. It is an extremely lucrative undertaking: a trafficker can make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year off just one victim. Unlike drugs or weapons, a human being can be held captive and sold into sexual slavery over and over again. Pornography and the devaluation of women are helping to drive demand. And while our Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security works with law enforcement abroad in sting operations to catch American pedophile sex tourists and rescue victims where there is a nexus with the United States, they cannot conduct rescue operations or run investigations that fall outside their jurisdiction. Nevertheless, there still are victims—someone’s young son or daughter being cruelly exploited. Into this gap steps non-governmental rescue operations. Some of the best are staffed by former Navy SEALs, ex-CIA agents, and even the occasional sitting member of State government. That is who we heard from last week—from witnesses that include a former CIA agent now involved in rescuing the most vulnerable, and a sitting state Attorney General. We also heard from a former member of the Mexican Congress who has fought trafficking her entire career. And we heard from a victim of trafficking, who told us about the importance of refuge and rehabilitation following rescue. Operation Underground Railroad has made it their business, literally and figuratively, to identify children being sex trafficked in other countries, and then to partner with the relevant foreign government entities for the rescue and rehabilitation of these children. Operation Underground Railroad members frequently pose as American sex tourists who enlist traffickers to host sex parties for them—it is such a common occurrence in many Latin American nations that it provides the perfect cover for Operation Underground Railroad to lure the traffickers with the children for sale to a preset location, and then have the local authorities ready to bust the traffickers as well as rescue the children. Operation Underground Railroad also trains the local governments in how to conduct stings on traffickers, and on the rehabilitative needs of the trafficking victims. Yet the magnitude of the problem remains huge. Worldwide, in the past two years, 80,000 trafficking victims have been identified—a small percentage of the estimated 20.9 million victims in the world, but evidence that with a combination of encouragement, plus some persuasion and sustained pressure via sanctions imposed by the United States, countries are moving in the right direction. Child traffickers cater to child predators—a crime that thrives on secrecy. In 1994, a young girl in my hometown was lured into the home of a convicted pedophile who lived across the street from her. Megan Kanka, seven, was raped and murdered. No one, including Megan Kanka’s parents, knew that their neighbor had been convicted of child sexual assault. The outrage over this tragedy led to enactment of Megan‘s Law—public sex offender registries—in every state in the country. I thought up the idea for International Megan‘s Law to Prevent Demand for Child Sex Trafficking (H.R. 515), already passed by the House and now pending in the U.S. Senate, in a conversation with a trafficking in person’s delegation from Thailand during a meeting in my office in 2007. I asked what Thai officials would do if we were to notify them of travel by a convicted pedophile. Each of the dozen officials said they would bar entry into their nation of such a predator. A primary way to fight child trafficking is to fight demand created by sex tourists, which is what International Megan‘s Law does. We know from other official data that registered sex offenders are traveling disproportionately to countries where children are trafficked for sex."

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