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For Immediate Release:
February 19, 2014
Media Contact:
Olga Vega

Commissioner Diaz urges Congress to address human trafficking involving children

(MIAMI) – Alarmed by the crisis of human trafficking involving children, Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz is urging the federal government to more actively address the commercial sexual exploitation of minors.

On Feb. 19, the Miami-Dade County Commission approved a resolution sponsored by Commissioner Diaz urging Congress to pass the “Strengthening the Child Welfare Response to Human Trafficking” bill sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio. The legislation would require the development of national rules and guidelines to better track and serve child trafficking victims, including those in foster care.

“We need to take steps to protect these most vulnerable young victims from this most heinous of crimes, and I urge Congress to take action as soon as possible,” said Commissioner Diaz. 

Commissioner Diaz has been a staunch advocate of tougher laws to prevent and break up sex trafficking rings in South Florida. In 2012, he sponsored legislation urging the State Legislature to toughen penalties on those convicted of human and sex trafficking. At the local level, Commissioner Diaz spearheaded a training program, which also included a Public Service Announcement, at both Miami International Airport and PortMiami for employees to identify and respond to suspected victims of trafficking.

A 2001 University of Pennsylvania study estimated that between 244,000 and 325,000 children in America are at risk each year of becoming victims of commercial sexual exploitation.