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

  • Consumers Politics Top Stories CareFirst data breach hits Virginians; Warner offers tips

    CareFirst data breach hits Virginians; Warner offers tips

    U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner provided a variety of useful resources and an online form on his Senate website for Virginians potentially impacted by the cyberattack targeting health insurer CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield to contact his office for assistance.  CareFirst, which operates in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia, announced late yesterday that 1.1 million of its customers had been victims of a June 2014 data breach – first uncovered by the insurer a month ago and publicly disclosed on […]

    Read more →
  • Military Top Stories WWII, Korean War veterans honored at DCA and around town

    WWII, Korean War veterans honored at DCA and around town

    Reagan National Airport is normally a busy place on Saturday mornings but today it more closely resembled 4th of July on the Mall than an airport filled with grumpy travelers, as three planeloads of World War II and Korean War veterans arrived on special Honor Flights. The Fairfax Main Street Band played marches and nostalgic period music as the veterans walked, rolled and, in one case, danced down the concourse. The flights are organized by the Honor Flight Network, a […]

    Read more →
  • Real Estate Top Stories Median home sale prices inch up in Northern Virginia

    Median home sale prices inch up in Northern Virginia

    Areas of the Northern Virginia region experienced increases in median sale price in April, according to the Long & Foster Market Minute reports. The Northern Virginia market includes the city of Alexandria and Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties. The Long & Foster Market Minute reports are compiled from data from residential real estate transactions within specific geographic regions, not just Long & Foster sales. The real estate market in Northern Virginia saw increases in median sale prices in […]

    Read more →
  • Education Top Stories Fairfax school board approves gender identity protection policy

    Fairfax school board approves gender identity protection policy

    Fairfax County Public Schools’ non-discrimination policy now includes gender identity, after the school board voted 10-2 yesterday to approve an update proposed by board member Ryan McElveen. The vote makes Fairfax, the largest school district in Virginia, the first in the state to add gender identity to its list of protected classes. “Equality Virginia is pleased that the board took into consideration the opinion of both community members and experts, and voted to do the right thing,” said James Parrish, […]

    Read more →
  • Business Education Fairfax Top Stories GMU’s Patriot Center will become EagleBank Arena

    GMU’s Patriot Center will become EagleBank Arena

    EagleBank today announces a multi-million multi-faceted, long-term strategic alliance with George Mason University. As part of the agreement, George Mason University’s Patriot Center will be renamed EagleBank Arena. EagleBank’s alliance with George Mason University spans a broad array of substantial education-related programs including scholarships, internships, lectures and seminar series, the bank said. The agreement provides for a minimum $6.6 million commitment by EagleBank to the university over 10 years. It also includes the unilateral right of EagleBank to extend the […]

    Read more →
  • Politics Top Stories Transportation Congress asked to leave DC-VA airports alone

    Congress asked to leave DC-VA airports alone

    As the 2015 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill comes before Congress, U.S. Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Tim Kaine (D-VA), along with Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and Reps. Gerry Connolly (D-VA-11), Don Beyer (D-VA-8), and Barbara Comstock (R-VA-10) urged the Congress not to exacerbate overburdened operations at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport by adding more flight traffic. In their letter, the members point out that when Congress established the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) in 1986, it was […]

    Read more →
  • Politics Top Stories Transportation Congressional spending plan threatens Metro funding

    Congressional spending plan threatens Metro funding

    The House Appropriations Committee is considering a spending plan that would cut federal funding to Metro in half — from $150 million to $75 million, threatening efforts to improve safety and catch up with deferred maintenance on the troubled system. “Providing anything less than the federal commitment of $150 million would jeopardize rider safety and the successful partnership with Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia to fund the purchase of new rail cars and vital safety improvements throughout the […]

    Read more →
  • Fire & Rescue Top Stories Fairfax search and rescue looking for victims in Nepal

    Fairfax search and rescue looking for victims in Nepal

    USA-1, the Virginia Urban Search and Rescue team, searched collapsed buildings in the Kathmandu area of Nepal Thursday but found no live victims. Searches will resume at first light Friday, the team reported. The Virginia team and USA-2, from Los Angeles County, are working from a base established on land controlled by the U.S. Embassy. “Our Recon Operations were well received by the public. Some of the local community members visited our BoO providing information on collapsed structures and potential work sites. […]

    Read more →