Wolf Calls for Increased Efforts to Stop Human Trafficking

April 4, 2012 7:48 pmBy: 
photo

Rep. Frank Wolf

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) today implored the Obama Administration to step up its efforts to stop human trafficking, including the possible criminal prosecution of Backpage.com, which is reported to be the largest online forum for sex trafficking under-age girls in the United States.

Wolf, who has raised the issue of human trafficking not only internationally but here in northern Virginia, had language inserted in the FY 2012 spending bill that funds the Justice Department requiring U.S. Attorneys across the country to establish Human Trafficking Task Forces.  Among other things, the task forces should proactively investigate people, organizations and businesses that facilitate trafficking through classified advertising on the Internet on sites like Backpage.com.  Wolf is the chairman of the House Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) Appropriations subcommittee.

At a February hearing of the CJS subcommittee, Wolf asked U.S Attorney General Eric Holder for an update on the task forces.  Holder said he did not know the status but would report back.  To date, Wolf has not received any information and in a letter to Holder today Wolf said he wanted an update by April 25.

Attorneys general from 46 states last year asked Backpage.com to step up its efforts to remove sex trafficking advertisements, ConsumerAffairs reported. In the past three years, there have been more than 50 cases in 22 states involving the trafficking or attempted trafficking of minors through the site, the AGs said.

Tougher laws

Wolf also asked if tougher laws need to be enacted to assist law enforcement in dealing with the issue, which is essentially modern day slavery.

Wolf’s letter comes on the heels of New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof’s March 31 piece that said Goldman Sachs is one of the owners of Village Voice Media, the company that publishes Backpage.com.  Kristof also reported that a Goldman Sachs executive sat on the board of the Village Voice Media board for a number of years.

“Most Americans would be horrified to know that human trafficking isn’t simply relegated to distant lands, rather it is happening right here at home,” Wolf wrote.  “It is happening to our sisters, our daughters and our friends with devastating implications.  Just last week, in my area, five northern Virginian men with alleged ties to the Underground Gangster Crips gang were arrested and charged with sex trafficking (full story).  The local teenage girls they victimized were allegedly recruited on Web sites like Facebook and then, according to a Washington Post story that reported on the arrests, ‘The teens were advertised on Web sites such as Craigslist and Backpage.com, according to court records…’  Here again, we see Backpage.com in the spotlight.  When will this end?”

Wolf told Holder that the Obama administration needs to make dealing with this issue a priority.

“The media, civil society, faith leaders and more can and must continue to shine a bright light on the activities of Backpage.com and their ilk,” Wolf wrote.  “Similarly, such groups can pressure their financiers, as Kristof has done by exposing Goldman Sachs.  But there is a unique role for law enforcement.  And as our nation’s chief law enforcement officer, that responsibility falls squarely on your shoulders.  This administration needs to make this a priority.”

 

Comments

More Top Stories

  • Top Stories Transportation McAuliffe vows to fix “broken” I-66

    McAuliffe vows to fix “broken” I-66

    Saying that I-66 is “broken” in the Fairfax area, Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced a plan to transform the traffic-choked highway into a multi-modal facility with express lanes, rapid bus service and a park-and-ride network from the Capital Beltway to Haymarket. “Interstate 66 is broken. Commuters are stuck in traffic, limited in the travel choices they can make and unable to predict how long their trip will take on any given day,” said McAuliffe. “Giving Virginians more choices and a better, safer […]

    Read more →
  • Education Top Stories Fairfax County School Board elects new chairman

    Fairfax County School Board elects new chairman

    The Fairfax County School Board has elected Tamara Derenak Kaufax (Lee District) as chairman and Ted Velkoff (at-large) as vice chairman for a one-year term. The chair and vice chair assumed office at the July 10 School Board meeting; they are elected by School Board members during the Board’s annual organizational meeting. Derenak Kaufax has served on the School Board since January 2012; she served as vice chair in 2013-14 and has served as chair of the School Board’s Public […]

    Read more →
  • Business Employment Reston Top Stories Transportation Tysons Corner Vienna Metro offers Silver Line briefings to employers

    Metro offers Silver Line briefings to employers

    As Metro’s new Silver Line prepares to open later this month, Metro is offering briefings to businesses looking to ease their employees’ commutes. Nearly 4,000 employers already provide the SmartBenefits commuting benefit to 250,000 workers in the region, according to Metro. Metro hosts SmartBenefits Seminars for employers to learn how to offer employees a better way to get to work, save money, and take advantage of the most recent enhancements to SmarTrip and the Silver Line. Register now for one […]

    Read more →
  • Education Top Stories Northern Virginia Civil Rights Archive unveiled at GMU

    Northern Virginia Civil Rights Archive unveiled at GMU

    Fifty years ago, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 became one of the most significant pieces of legislation ever enacted into law. Many of the men and women who lived through the Civil Rights era and provided more than 50 hours of video testimonials for Congressman Gerry Connolly’s year-long project to create a Northern Virginia Civil Rights Archive will join Connolly at the unveiling of the project at George Mason University Monday (July 7). “The Northern Virginia Civil Rights Archive: […]

    Read more →
  • Floods & Natural Disasters Top Stories Arthur headed for Outer Banks but likely to miss Mid-Atlantic

    Arthur headed for Outer Banks but likely to miss Mid-Atlantic

    Although it will ruin the July 4 holiday for many Northern Virginians who were headed for the Outer Banks, it appears that Tropical Storm Arthur will head out to sea and miss Fairfax and the Mid-Atlantic region. This NASA image, taken by the Aqua satellite as it passed over Tropical Storm Arthur on July 2 at 2:50 p.m. EDT on July 2, shows a cloud-covered eye as the storm was on the way to becoming a hurricane. This visible image of […]

    Read more →
  • Top Stories Transportation Connolly: Highway Trust Fund shortfall threatens Virginia commuters

    Connolly: Highway Trust Fund shortfall threatens Virginia commuters

    Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA) today urged his House colleagues to take swift action to replenish the federal Highway Trust Fund when they return to work Tuesday, warning that Virginia and other states could be forced to scale back road, bridge, and transit projects unless Congress acts. The U.S. Department of Transportation has notified all states that restrictions will be placed on their federal highway funds starting August 1st because the Highway Trust Fund is bordering on insolvency. President Obama issued […]

    Read more →
  • Floods & Natural Disasters Top Stories Heat advisory in Fairfax Wednesday

    Heat advisory in Fairfax Wednesday

    The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for the Fairfax area from noon today to 7 p.m. this evening. Heat index values will be around 103-105 degrees with temperatures in the mid to upper 90s. A heat advisory means that a period of high temperatures is expected. The combination of high temperatures and high humidity will create a situation in which heat illnesses are possible. We recommend scheduling frequent rest breaks in shaded or air conditioned environments — […]

    Read more →
  • Top Stories Transportation Metro gets ready for the July 26 Silver Line opening

    Metro gets ready for the July 26 Silver Line opening

    Now that the July 26 opening day for Silver Line service has been set, Metro is encouraging commuters and the curious to visit one of the five new Silver Line stations for a ride on the inaugural trains. The McLean, Tysons Corner, Greensboro and Spring Hill stations will all open to the public at 11:30 a.m. so that riders can enter the stations to take a look around and purchase fare media. The Wiehle-Reston East station is the exception – it […]

    Read more →

The forecast for 22030 by Wunderground for WordPress