Royce amendment encourages direct U.S. security assistance – intelligence and advisors in the field – to aid Nigeria in rescuing kidnapped girls and combating Boko Haram threat

Washington, D.C. – Today, the House Foreign Affairs Committee, chaired by U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), passed three bipartisan measures: condemning Boko Haram’s kidnapping of Nigerian girls, combating the growing problem of human trafficking, and sanctioning Venezuelan human rights abusers.

A summary of the Committee action, including adopted amendments, will be available HERE.

The Committee passed H.Res. 573, (Chairman Royce is an original cosponsor of the resolution introduced by Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL)), which condemns the abduction of female students by armed militants from the al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group Boko Haram in Nigeria.  In considering H.Res. 573, the Committee adopted an amendment offered by Chairman Royce to encourage more aggressive security cooperation between the U.S. and Nigeria.

Chairman Royce said:  “This Sunday is Mother’s Day.  But for hundreds of mothers in Nigeria, this will be another day of horrendous grief.  Their daughters are missing: kidnapped from school by a jihadist terrorist group.  This resolution puts the Committee firmly on record in condemning this atrocious abduction of nearly 300 schoolgirls.  This resolution also reaffirms our support for the assistance that the Administration has offered to help the Nigerians find these girls, and encourages more.  I am pleased that the Committee adopted my amendment to encourage more aggressive assistance.  It’s clear the Nigerian forces are struggling in this fight.  Direct U.S. security assistance – intelligence and advisors in the field – can make a big difference in rescuing these girls and combating this terrorist threat.  But this assistance can only be helpful if the Nigerians utilize it. Historically, they have been reluctant to receive such outside aid. Luckily, that seems to be changing. We should be pushing on the Nigerian government to accept as much help as they can – to save these young women now, and to eliminate the Boko Haram threat soon.  This resolution is a part of that push.”

The Committee also passed legislation to combat the growing problem of human trafficking.  H.R. 4573 (introduced by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ)) protects children from exploitation, specifically sex trafficking in tourism, by providing advance notice of intended travel by registered child-sex offenders outside the United States to the government of the country of destination, requesting foreign governments to notify the United States when a known child-sex offender is seeking to enter the United States.

Chairman Royce said:  “This bill deals with an issue I know all of us want desperately to address – the horrendous exploitation of children overseas, by adults traveling for purposes of engaging in so-called ‘sex tourism.’  Unfortunately, this has become a growing industry in a number of countries which are ill-equipped to deal with an influx of child predators, including from the United States.  This bill helps combat child sex tourism, by establishing the ‘Angel Watch Center’ within the Department of Homeland Security’s Child Exploitation Investigations Center.  This bill also improves the timeliness of the information that the Center receives, which will allow it to better detect and report the travel of child predators.”

The Committee also passed H.R. 4587, (introduced by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)), which  imposes targeted sanctions on individuals responsible for carrying out or ordering human rights abuses against citizens of Venezuela.

Chairman Royce said:  “President Maduro — Hugo Chavez’ hand-picked successor – has unleashed a heavy-handed and violent response to the student led, peaceful protests that have been ongoing since February.  While the Obama Administration has been supporting political talks in Caracas, there has been little progress.  If the Maduro government is to agree to true reforms to reverse the descent, its leaders must feel the pressure. Targeting those officials who have directed this repression is a good place to start.”

A summary of the Committee action, including adopted amendments, will be available HERE