Washington, D.C. – Congressman Michael McCaul (R-TX), Lead Republican of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, attended the White House Summit on Human Trafficking and participated on a panel commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) and the 15th anniversary of the ratification of the U.N. Palermo Protocols to fight human trafficking. 

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-Remarks as Delivered-

“Well thank you Ambassador, and thanks for having me and thanks for your service, Ambassador. And Congressman Ted Poe, who was on Foreign Affairs, did so much on trafficking issues, it’s good to see you again. I think my journey started, I was a federal prosecutor for about ten years, as Cornyn’s Deputy Attorney General, we started the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force to catch predators online. There have been thousands of prosecutions in my state putting these predators behind bars, and that’s a real positive thing. That was back in 2002, but since I became Chairman, when I was Chairman of Homeland, we had the Blue Campaign in the Department of Homeland Security, and I see some out in the audience.

“We authorized that into law to raise public awareness on the issue, because what we found was that most people in the country were not even aware that this was happening. And it happens not just in Thailand, it’s happening in our own backyard. And I wanted to recognize Courtney Litvak, a human trafficking survivor, who came back to us a year ago, who has a special place in my heart and a special story to tell. You have to hear these stories. This happened outside of Houston, Texas in the suburbs of Houston, in Katy, Texas. If it can happen in Katy, Texas, it can happen anywhere in the nation. And so the Blue Campaign has done a great job coordinating with law enforcement, public awareness, the other bills, the Interdiction for the Protection of Children, which takes my Texas DPS model, where, you know, a lot of these troopers make the traffic stops, but if they don’t know how to identify the warning signs that, “hey, this is not this girl’s father,” or, “something’s in that car that doesn’t really make sense.” And they have training program that we want to take nationwide with a grant, a funding component to it so we can capture and arrest these evil monsters, you know, and get them off the streets.

“Finally, the LIFT Act, Leveraging Information on Foreign Traffickers. Believe it or not, in our embassies and our consulate offices, when they deny a visa based on human trafficking, they do not share that information with law enforcement, it’s just tucked away in a file. So, this would mandate that information be shared with law enforcement. But, what I’m also proud of is that we authorized the President’s Advisory Council until the year 2025. Why is that important? And I want to give Ivanka a shout out as well, she’s really elevated this issue and prioritized this issue.  We want to do a lot,  we want to make this Council really mean something, not only for the Executive Branch  but for policy makers in the Congress, so we can get the advice. And I’ve learned so much from Courtney about the process and how it works.

“How could a  17-year-old girl get swept up, how could this have happened? It really makes no sense. And to get these stories and have victims and survivors on the council is very valuable to Congress and to the Executive Branch. As we approach the Superbowl, you know, that’s going to be a major trafficking event.  And there are going to be groomers all around the Superbowl trying to trap young men and women into this horrific modern-day slavery. And we all know the stories, and you’re bought and sold like property. This needs to stop, and as a former prosecutor, I’ve tried to educate prosecutors and judges, too. And you know what, the victims are the victims, they don’t deserve to be behind bars. It’s the predators that need to be behind bars for a very, very long time.” 

Congressman McCaul has introduced three pieces of legislation aimed at ending human trafficking: the Blue Campaign Reauthorization Act, which was enacted into law, the Interdiction for the Protection of Child (IPC) Victims of Exploitation and Human Trafficking Act, and most recently the LIFT Act (Leveraging Information on Foreign Traffickers).