tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN May 15, 2015 5:00am-7:01am EDT
how long has homeland security and secret service -- how long have they had your draft? mr. roth: they received it may 6. they supply the underlying materials middle or late last week. rep. chaffetz: and yet there is no consequence. what discretion does he have revoking their clearance? mr. roth: i don't have that information. rep. chaffetz: he could revoke it immediately? mr. roth: i am not sure exactly what the process is. rep. chaffetz: he could be put on non-paid leave. do think this is an aggravated situation? rep. chaffetz: unfortunately you are getting into areas of
employment law that are beyond by competence. i think that is a fair situation. as mr. russell pointed out even if they were not drunk and they interrupted a potential scene, that is acceptable. if they lied to somebody who works for the secret service that is unacceptable. if you look at what happened in the e-mail chain, there is monday of. this is a pivotable moment for the secret service. this is when we find out if they have the guts to do what needs to be done. in my opinion, these people should be fired. they should have their security clearances revoked. those that did not report it, i have a list of people who have at least according to your report highlighted policy that could lead to their
removal. mark connolly. perhaps and probably michael. at the very least, they need to be taken to the woodshed and should lose their security clearance. i was the president, i would never want to see them again. i don't want to see them there. we have thousands of people like this gentleman who was recognized for his valor, that should be protecting the president of the united states. if you are going to go consume alcohol and show up at the white house, get out of here. find another job. you would not be able to work at my mcdonald's. he would not even be able to run the french fry machine. you are not going to drink and show up to work. that is what is happening. they continue to investigate your report is conclusive and independent. it is time for this director
and secretary to take definitive conclusive action and fix the problem. send a message to the rest of the workforce that we are not going to put up with anybody showing up to work drunk inebriated, lying. that is my opinion. i will yield to the ranking member. >> thank you. anybody who just tuned in -- you have done a great job. we appreciate your staff. i know you had to pull together a lot of people in a little bit of time. we appreciate it. how are we going to straighten this out? we cannot keep the pressure up without the information you have provided us. i am hopeful mr. chairman, when mr. clancy comes before us, he will have a report letting us
know what disciplinary actions he is taking. i want to thank you. we appreciate you have done. we also appreciate you working with us. you have been great and your staff. thank you. rep. chaffetz: i totally concur. without that information, we would still be left in the dark. when reviewing what your staff has done, we are appreciative. it is now our responsibility to hold the administration accountable and make sure they fix the problem. so we can stop having hearings like these. thank you for this work. this committee stands adjourned. the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] national cable satellite corp. 2015]
insidious human rights abuse that tlooi that thrives in secrecy. a mind set that says, it is somebody else's business. the truth of the matter is combating modern day slavery is everyone's business. we are in this together, cooperation and coordination are key in ending this. progress has been made since i offered landmark legislation, known as the trafficking victims protection act of 2000, to combat sex and labor trafficking in the united
states and globally. the trafficking victims protection act of 2000 and its 2003 and '05 reauthorizations, which i also sponsored, launched a bold new strategy that included sheltering, political asylum and other protections for the victims. long jail sentences and asset confiscation for the traffickers, and tough sanctions for governments that failed to meet minimum standards prescribed in the legislation. for the first time ever, the law recognized -- and this is a seat change -- the exploited women, children and men as victims, not as perpetrators of the crime. since 2004, the trafficking victims protection act has resulted in anti-human trafficking task forces in 42 cities across the u.s. these task forces identify potential victims of human trafficking coordinate local and federal law enforcement to rescue victims. assist with referrals
for victim care and train law enforcement. today's hearing will concentrate on rescue and refuge. in january of 2000, i received actionable information that eight ukrainian women were being exploited by sex traffickers in two bars in montenegro. the women were lured there with promises of legitimate work, then forced into prostitution. one desperate victim called her mother for help using the phone of one man exploiting her. when informed, i called the prime minister of montenegro, who personally ordered an immediate raid on the bar. as a result, i was told, don't let the local police go. they're on the take. they exploit the women. they're getting money from this establishment. so he sent his own police to rescue. as a result, seven of the eight
women were rescued and returned to their families in ukraine. tragically, the eighth woman was trafficked to albania prior to the raid. we know organized crime, street gangs, picks s pimps around the world, have expanded into sex trafficking at an alarming rate. it's an extremely lucrative undertaking. a trafficker can make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year off one victim. a human being can be held captive and sold into sexual slavely over and lyry over and over again. pornography and devaluation of women are driving this demand. while the department of justice and homeland security work with law enforcement aboard in sting operations to catch american ped pedophile sex tourists, but they cannot run operations outside of their jurisdiction. nevertheless, there are victims, someone's young son or
daughter, being cruelly exploited. to this gap steps non-governmental rescue operations. some of the best are staffed by former navy seals. or a city member of a state govrm. government. that's what we'll hear about from witnesses that include a former cia agent, now involved in rescuing the most vulnerable as well as from a sitting attorney general. we'll hear from a former member of the mexican congress that fought trafficking her entire career. we'll hear from a victim of trafficking who will also tell us about the importance of refuge and rehabilitation following the rescue. operation underground railroad made it their business to identify children being sex trafficked
into other countries and to partner with the foreign governments and their entities for the rescue and rehab of those children. operation of underground railroad members frequently pose as american sex tourists, who enlist traffickers to host sex parties for them. this is a common occurrence in many latin american nations that it provides the cover for operation underground railroad to lure the traffickers with the children for sale to a preset location. then have the local authorities ready to bust the traffickers, as well as to rescue the kids. operation underground railroad trains the local governments on how to conduct sting operations on traffickers and on the rehabilitative needs of those trafficking victims. i want to thank our witnesses in advance. for their extraordinary and courageous activity on behalf of these vulnerable people. especially kids. especially women who are at risk. you have
made an enormous difference in the country, the united states the congress and the world really needs to hear what you're doing so these great actions can be replicated so more people will be rescued. i'd like to yield to my good friend and colleague, the gentle lady from california, ms. bass. >> thank you, mr. chair. as always, for your leadership on this issue and so many other issues. i also want to thank our distinguished guests who took the time to be with us today. during this hearing, i look forward to discussing strategies to address sex trafficking assen an issue we're dealing with in the united states and aboard. hopefully we can have an inclusive approach that acknowledges the international nature of this. it's also important to note, unfortunately, that u.s. nationals are also perpetrators of sex crimes aboard andal ali'll be interested in hearing about that, since i know a
couple of you are involved in that. we know the issue affects millions of adults and children, men and women, worldwide, who are victimized across sex and forced labor schemes. in the united states, and in my congressional district and some cities, the population that's particularly vulnerable, the child population, to sex trafficking are kids in the child welfare system. that's an issue that we're concerned about in my city. we've also worked on in a bipartisan basis. i had an experience a couple of years ago of having a young foster child, former foster child, who told me that her experience being in the child welfare system actually, she felt prepared her to be trafficked. because she was so used to being moved around place to place, and people who were involved with her were all paid to be with her. so we know that
the story here is far too common. in a bipartisan effort to decrease the foster youth who experience this horrible exploitation, i know i've reproduced legislation strengthening the response to child welfare act. it passed in the house and the senate. the language from the bill was put in a bill. mr. chair, you might know it's coming back our way next week. we hope to have it on the president's desk very soon. i look forward to your testimony today and how we can learn from what you've done around the world and how we can apply your experiences and lessons here in the united states. thank you. > thank you, ms. bass. i'd like to recognize mr. emmer. >> thank you, mr. chair. also ranking member bass for 00:08:44 unidentified speaker holding this important hearing. i can think of no better place than this subcommittee when it comes to
highlighting the atrocious crime of human trafficking. you should both be commended for your leadership on this issue. when boko haram terrorists kidnapped hundreds of teenage girls with the intent of selling them into slavery, the offense sparked international outrage and inspired action here in the halls of congress. i want to thank the ranking member and robin kelly from this committee, as well as congresswoman jackson, lee and wilson for their leadership on that front. unfortunately, not all trafficking cases make the international news. every day, children across the world are taken from their family, from their homes and sold and enslaved. forced into labor and prostitution against their will. as a father of seven children myself, i cannot begin to fathom the agony their families must be experiencing. the united states to our collective shame is not immune to this tragedy. in america alone, hundreds of thousands are trafficked in by transnational drug cartels and
criminal organizations. the justice departmentest estimates more than 200 children across the u.s. are quote, at risk, of trafficking. it's a $30 billion per year criminal enterprised with thousands of children trafficked yearly. i'm pleased that the obama administration and congress has made strides in combating trafficking, but much work is to be done to prevent men, women and children from being targeted by predators. this body must do everything within its power and authority to stay one step ahead of those involved in these crimes against humanity. as a congress, we must prioritize funding to support the ngos, non-profits and state and federal prosecutes to see the beth methods of protection and prosecution. safe harbor laws have been instituted
across the country included my home state of minnesota. by protecting victims and assisting prosecutors, by pursuing safe harbor laws at the national level, we can better respond to this national crisis. the words spoken here today cannot be nearly symbolic gestures. they must be followed by action and vigilance. our children deserve nothing less. i want to thank our witnesses and the concerned citizens in attendance for your continued efforts in this fight. with that, i yield back, mr. chair. >> i'd like to recognize my good friend and colleague from florida. >> thank you, mr. chairman and ranking member
for doing this hearing about such a tragic, global situation. it's hard to even fathom. i would like to reiterate the words of my friend, mr. emmer. i think it's time to bring home the african kidnapped girls. bring home the girls. i know that's not the topic today, but bring home the girls. we need to do everything we can on that. to the guests, you are doing more than just talking. and i respect action. so thank you for what you all do and the example that you set. we ought to learn from that, and others ought to learn from that. and to karla.language ] thank you. >> thank you very much. i'd like to introduce our distinguished witnesses and invite them to testify.
beginning first, it is my very high honor and privilege to recognize and welcome the honorable shawn reyes, who is the 21st attorney general of utah. first appointed and then elected, but first appointed in 2013. attorney general has received attention locally and nationally for transports the attorney general's office and involvement in bringing traffickers to justice, both in utah and in south america. last year, for example, he traveled with operation underground railroad to participate in a covert sting, where he posed as a bodyguard and translator to help liberate over 100 children from a sex trafficking ring. a public official who doesn't just implement or enforce the
law, but actually gets right there, face to face with the horrific tragedy, preventable tragedy of sex trafficking, and helps to rescue the heads. timothy ball lardard, the founder and ceo of underground railroad. he has worked as the central intelligence agency and is a special agent for the department of homeland security, where he was assigned to the internet crimes against children task force. deployed as an undercover operative for the child sex trafficking team. he worked every case imaginable in the united states and multiple foreign countries in the fight to dismantle, disrupt and bring to justice these terrible child trafficking rings. thank you. then we'll hear from ms. karla, who is now 22 years old and a survivor of human trafficking. when she
suffered from the age of 12 to the age of 16. today, carly is a happy and successful mother of who beautiful childrens wife, student, and activist. she shared her message with the mexican house of representatives, in the united kingdom, rome, as well as in the vatican vatican. she helps rebuild the dreams of other human trafficking survivors by both her words and by her example. encouraging them to overcome and to love life and trust their neighbors again. we'll then hear from rosie, who is currently the president of the commission united versus human trafficking since 1990. she has worked to defend human rights through several associations, particularly preventing human trafficking crime prevention, social development and strengthening families. she's also acted as federal deputy and the
president of the special commission for the fight against human trafficking in the mexican house of representatives. and was the main proponent of the law initiative to prevent, punish and eradicate the offenses on trafficking in persons and to protect and assist the victims of the crimes, which became law in mexico. to a fellow lawmaker, welcome and sthaing forthank you for your leadership. >> members of the committee, it's an honor to be here with you today, along with these distinguished witnesses, to address what i consider one of the greatest evils plaguing our world today. specifically, the trafficking of children for sex exploitations. as the attorney general of the great state of utah, i'm the highest ranking prosecutor in our state and familiar with all manner of crimes. i oversee approximately 80 certified peace officers who serve as investigators for the state, either full time or from partner agencies affiliates of
our internet crimes against children task force. both teams under the ag's office focused on combating crimes such as child sexual abuse, child pornography and exploitation. while i believe trafficking of persons is one of the most insidious of the many crimes we confront, sadly, it's also one of the least understood and least recognized by the public. as a father of six children, i want to change that. i know they are looping behind me, or to the side, some of the footage of the mission from october of last year, when we went down to cartagena and other cities in columbia. if i have time, i will address and give you a little context for that. as mr. ballard may also. in addition to offering my support for the international bill, hr 515, sponsored by the
chair and passed by the house, i'd like to paint with a slightly broader brush in giving text texture to comprehensive issues dealing with sex trafficking. i'll give some statistics. there are an estimated 20 million to 30 million modern day slaves. people are lured in and held against their will. that is twice as many or more modern day slaves than there were during the transatlantic slave trade. which was 10 to 13 million people. i'm not saying that in my way to diminish the blight that is on world history, but to underscore the severity of what is going on today. human trafficking has become the second most lucrative enterprise internationally, arms dealing and counterfeiting. generates an estimated $150 billion or more annually but is very, very
difficult to quantify because of how little is reported. the united nations often on drugs and crime estimates that 18% of the victims are forced into hard labor, others are conscripted into military servitude, recruited for terrorism, forced into acting as suicide bombers, part of illegal adoptions, or even killed to harvest their organs on the black market. but the overwhelming majority approximately 80% are forced into sex slavery or sex exploitation. sex exploitation includes forcing victims into prostitution and compelling victims to commit sex acts for the purpose of creating pornography. a few more statistics particularly on sexual slavery. trafficking women and children for sexual exploitation is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world at this time. this despite the fact that international law and the laws of 134 countries criminalize sex trafficking. about 2 million children are exploitsed every year in the global commercial sex trade. that
number is about 5 million if you're just talking about trafficking in general. women and girls make up 98% of victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation. anecdotal estimates from survivors are only one in ten victims caught up in the life ever make it out alive. that's 90% of the victims that will never make it out of the life alive. according to the u.s. state department, 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year of which 80% are female and half are children. briefly a quote from a young international sex trafficking victim. they forced me to sleep with as many as 50 customers a day. i had to give the pimp all of my money. if i did not earn a set amount, they punished me by removing my clothes and beating me with a stick until i fainted, electric cuting me or cutting me." when i heard experiences such as these i thought they were not humanly possible to endure. i'm dreadfully sorry to report i was wrong. having heard from so
many more victims that corroborated the fact these children can be raped dozens if not scores of times each and every day. in february of 2014 in my own home state of utah based on a tip from our immigrant community and a brave man who wore a wire to help us gather evidence, my office arrested victor manual rax, a central-american individual base on evidence of trafficking children, raping numerous young boys and forcing them to sell drugs in junior high schools and high schools in our area but even elementary schools in the salt lake county area. we consulted with our federal law enforcement partners upon arrest who indicated they knew rax, had tried to make a case against him for many years but witnesses became too intimidated or disappeared in the past. they also indicated rax had been deported six times where he spent time in prison for drugs and child sexual abuse and was a member of a notorious international gang.
rax had come back into the u.s. after each deportation. we were not willing to let him escape again. we with the cooperation of our federal counterparts made the decision to prosecute mr. rax in the u.s. justice system and keep him here rather than deport, we had over 60 victims and witnesses come forward to testify by the time we filed information and charging documents. with such overwhelming evidence, rax took his own life during the pendency of the trial. with an international meagan's law and attended mrkts eded mous and bilat ral agreements gaut ss guatemala or el salvador could have warned us about the monster within our midst. the experience we have in the u.s. and readily shared to operations like underground railroad, there never would have been a victor rax coming to utah as they could have handled his case in his country
of origin. the rax case opened my eyes to the violations being perpetrated upon some of our most vulnerable. we have cigsignificantly increased in our state the number of investigations and prosecutions of trafficking cases during my administration. just within the past two weeks i participated with my strike force team on an undercover sting and raid of a massage parlor we believe to be a front for sex trafficking. it was a site that i personally surveilled over a period of a year with my men. in utah we have worked closely with legislators to enhance penalties for trafficking and treat victims as victims rather than perpetrateors. during the rax case i heard of an organization based in utah called operation underground railroad. which was just starting up. when i folk to the founder tim ballard i told him i was extremely impressed by three things. one, the emphasis that ou.u.r. puts into providing resources, counseling, training and stability to victims they liberate from trafficking and the involvement of groups and people like elizabeth smart in their organization. two, i was
impressed by the focus on training of local law enforcement partners in the various countries where they do operations to give or enhance the skills, techniques, and tools they need to replicate the operations again and again. some of the most gratifying moments is hearing from law enforcement partners after countries telling us they had success on their own using the techniques they learned. number three -- having participated as a partner and member of o.u.r. i would add two more quick points. the talent, dedication of mr. ballard's team, former successful cia, hsi, navy s.e.a.l., special forces and law enforcement personnel and lastly the effectiveness of the stings they set up. as you alluded to, mr. chair, how do i know how effective the stings are? because i've seen them up close and personally as you might be watching them on the sides here. if it comes back to
looping, i'll perhaps editorialize a bit. in october of 2014, i joined an undercover sting operation in carta hena, colombia, organized by operation underground railroad. there were two other simultaneous jumps in armenia, other cities in colombia. because of the success of this organization had and here you're actually seeing on the side the table at which the transaction occurred where we were making the offer to buy and have a sex party, i believe at this very moment, our law enforcement partners, cti, the colombian equivalent of the fbi, are swooping in to make arrests. i think the timing of some of the clips is not sequential, but this is -- this occurred on a group of islands off the coast of carta hena. we isolated the operation to minimize the danger to anyone else and to maximize the
opportunity to cut off escape by the traffickers, and to make sure that we could assure the safety of those young girls and boys that we were liberating. so we had set up on an island there the site for the party the traffickers believed they were going to come and bring all of these young children to have a sex party with an affluent american businessman. again, i was playing the role of the translator and bodyguard. the mean and menacing player which i thought was a bit unfair. you see our law enforcement partners including coast guard, local police, and cti, very well coordinated. after months of work in excruciatingly detailed cooperation and coordination we isolated the young ladies and the couple of young boys that were with them in one of those huts and transacted at
the table upon the successful transaction, a large amount of cash in exchange for the sex party. you'll see law enforcement here now coming to take us down as we were posing as the sex participants, and local law enforcement, when they finished processing the traffickers, they allowed us to leave to head back to the airport. it was very touching to be able to say good-bye to those young girls knowing that many of them would be heading back home to families who had likely prayed for their safe return for a number of years. in other cases, the families had no idea that they were actually being trafficked, they had been dooped into thinking they were participating in a modeling agency and so this is the type of work that operation underground railroad does. very
precise with buy-in from the highest levels of our sister nations. it's something that they welcome with the credit all going to their local law enforcement. and i'll let mr. ballard finish out explaining more about that as i have a few more things to address before -- before i summarize. you see there, we saw upclose the horror and helplessness in the eyes of young girls ages 10 to 16. after the drugs the traffickers had given them that very morning to take the edge off of what they were about to experience. and during those very moments now where it's being frozen around that table they offered up these young girls as if they were desserts to be had for a minimal price, and the fear and, again, helplessness in their eyes was something that i will never forget. contrasted with the sense of liberation just a few minutes later and the hope that
they had that they were going to potentially get home and be back safely with their parents. all i can say is, thank goodness that we were the ones there that day instead of real sex predators. not only did we liberate over 120 innocent girls and boys that day, couple la tiffumulatively with the three missions done simultaneously and reunite them with families and get them much needed resources to start the long road to recovery, but again, we trained local law enforcement with investigative techniques and soft ware and they've called us numerous times to report on their replication of other stings where they've taken down other traffickers and saved even more children. people ask why the utah attorney general went to colombia. my reply, number one because such a high percentage of those traveling abroad for sex parties are american. some statistics suggest 80% or more
of sex tourists may be american. i'm embarrassed by that fact. that americans provide such demand. and i feel a responsible for remedy the scourge that my fellow countrymen have helped to create. secondly, helping stop human trafficking no matter where it exists is vitally important. and to be clear, no state funds were used. i was not going down in my official capacity as the attorney general of utah, in fact nobody knew except for our closest law enforcement partners. three, and i think this is critical to this discussion, creating a firewall in countries like colombia and the many other countries that o.u.r. and other organizations like them have established to prevent future victor raxes from entering the shores of the united states and my state of utah. through the conference of western attorneys general, i and other state a.g.s conducted bilateral raintraining with a.g.s in mexico, el salvador. and i've met with the ambassadors of japan, peru, the
philippines and many others including the filipino ambassador again today to discuss further coordination and training. no leader with whom i have spoken from these countries is opposed to this even greater coordination as envisioned by the international meagan's law. hr-515 also widely provides for adding to the minimum standards for the principle diplomatic school the u.s. employs in this area. the trafficking and persons report by our state department. with its various tiers and incentives for sister nations to achieve tare 1 status. international meagan's law makes sense. to alert law enforcement authorities in destination countries will allow our law enforcement partners worldwide to be more vigilant when known american child sex offenders are entering their countries. sometimes for legitimate travel, but too often for repeat offenses of child crimes, sex parties, and sex
tours. and it will also provide law enforcement at the federal state, and local level here in the united states a much better chance to prevent domestic times when convicted child sexual abusers from other countries enter u.s. territory. fighting human trafficking is not a republican issue or a democrat issue. it is a humanitarian issue. it transcends any political difference or ideological divides. its devastating reach grasps all walks of life and needs a united front for us to find success and give hope to victims and survivors worldwide. i would urge the senate and anyone listening to this hearing to support passage of this law and others aimed at cushing and eventually ending child sex trafficking. thank you. >> thank you so very much, mr. attorney general, and thank you for bringing up the international meagan's law. it has passed the house three times. we believe it will get its 00:32:50 unidentified speaker hearing and be acted upon by the u.s. senate. meagan kanca, before i go to miss ballard, the 7-year-old girl who was brutally slain in hamilton township, new jersey, my hometown, no one knew that that pedophile lived across the street. he invited her into the house, raped her, then brutally killed her and that led to the enactment of meagan's law in all 50 states and district of columbia and throughout the
territories. it is a transformational effort and the international part, as you know, it's all about noticing countries of destination of convicted pedophiles. there was a gao report that found that something like 4,500 convicted pedophiles in one year alone, according to the general >> thank you so very much, mr. attorney general, and thank you for bringing up the international meagan's law. it has passed the house three times. we believe it will get its hearing and be acted upon by the u.s. senate. meagan kanca, before i go to miss ballard, the 7-year-old girl who was brutally slain in hamilton township, new jersey, my hometown, no one knew that that pedophile lived across the street. he invited her into the house, raped her, then brutally killed her and that led to the enactment of meagan's law in all 50 states and district of columbia and throughout the territories. it is a transformational effort and the international part, as you know, it's all about noticing countries of destination of convicted pedophiles. there was a gao report that found that something like 4,500 convicted pedophiles in one year alone according to the general accountability office, got passports and they're good for ten years and then they go about traveling. and they travel to places like colombia like thailand, you know, brazil, all over the world and they abuse children in secrecy.
this would give the ability of that government to deny a visa or to watch them very closely so they don't abuse our kids. thank you for bringing that up as a preventative means of mitigating this horrific crime. mr. ballard? >> thank you, mr. chair. >> good afternoon, mr. chair, and esteemed members of the committee. thank you very much for this opportunity. my name is tim ballard. i'm the founder and
ceo of operation underground railroad. i served for 12 years as a special agent for the department of homeland security where i served on the internet crimes against children task force and the jump team. i worked as an undercover operative infiltrating organizations at home and abroad who are in the business of abusing children, sexually trafficking them. in 2006, with the passage of the adam walsh protect act congress opened the doors for u.s. agents to better investigate these cases especially internationally, and i was one of the first agents assigned to a team that would go out and use our undercover skills to infiltrate these organizations, looking for american travelers who are engaging in sex with children. i was proud to represent the united states in dealing with this horrific issue. however, i often felt helpless by the fact that the vast majority of the child victims we would find fell outside the purview of the united states or for that matter any developed nation with the tools that could save them. unless i could tie a u.s. traveler to the case, i would not be able to rescue the children, even the ones that we were able to identify as being victims. it's an issue of the sovereignty. it's outside of the jurisdiction. and i understood that. however, that doesn't mean that we couldn't be doing more. as an agent, i once had the opportunity to work on a specific case in colombia. i did my due diligence and as a team we located children who were being
trafficked and, again, we were told that if it was not going to end in a u.s. courtroom that there were no resources available and there's little we could do except send a reference and sometimes that's just not enough. and that was discouraging and i grew frustrated being told no many times, though i understood clearly understood the reasons why. because of this, i decided to leave and create operation underground railroad which we did last year. we since went wan toback to colombia as a private organization, and as we talked about and seen on the screens, were were were able to full off one of the largest rescue operations we know about by setting up sting operations that consisted of ruse, child sex parties. we were able to help the colombians rescue more than 120 victims in one day. and to see these children, as young as 11 years old, to look into their eyes as they are tearful, scared to death, and
knowing that they were lured out of this by various means. this group in colombia had actually hired a beauty queen from cartahena who could lend credibility to their ruse and bring these children, and they told us as young as 9 years old they would start recruiting them to be models when, in fact, they were being sold and raped for money. what's most interesting, i think, about this case in colombia, is that homeland security agents ended up arresting an american citizen named dennis dejesus. dejesus caught wind of our fake sex party in colombia and was heading down from florida when u.s. agents arrested him. in the end, we got our american. evidence concluded that dejesus had produced child pornography and traveled previously to colombia in order to engage in sex with minors. he pled guilty to child sex crimes in a federal court in florida just a few weeks ago. this case proved that when engaging the problems
of international child sex crimes, there's a good chance that a nexus to the united states will eventually be made. however, i never would have been able to initiate this investigation as a u.s. agent due to the fact that the u.s. nexus did not appear until the end of the investigation. i also learned that once my team initiated this investigation along with colombian authorities, the u.s. embassy and the homeland security investigations bogota office was more than happy to support the case. moufr however, without our private efforts, resources or mandate to pull it off did not exist with united states assets. this is a matter of frustration to many of my former colleagues in the u.s. government. these u.s. agents. they want to do nr. they need resources to do more. more resources to do more. the current approach by the u.s. government to international child sex crimes could use some adjusting. more mechanisms need to be put into place so that the u.s. can better engage this problem. oftentimes it feels like our policies and
practices, though not our people or our government agents, take a position that a foreign problem is simply not a u.s. problem. however, as the dejesus case proofs, when it comes to child sex crimes this problem is international. and the fact that we are talking about child victims should cause us on a moral level to find ways to remove barriers that prevent international engagement. i have worked with many foreign governments and i've never seen one that does not desire more u.s. involvement when it comes to these specific crimes against the most vulnerable souls on earth. speaking of international meagan's law, and hr-515, here is another
opportunity, a wonderful opportunity to attack this problem from a different angle. it will help bridge a serious gap. as a government agent, it was always frustrating to know that minus a crystal ball, it would always be a serious challenge to predict when a child sex trafficker would cross our borders to engage in elicit sex with children. as quoted in the bill, itself, legitimate studies concluded there are close to 2 million children in the world currently in the commercial sex trade and the bill also points out that a significant percentage of child sex tours from the united states -- i'm sorry, a significant number of these travelers are from the united states, and i for one can testify i know these stats are true because i've been working in this black market for more than ten years. in a sad commentary on our society, the reason our cover story has worked so well and been easily bought by perpetrators is due to the fact that we are americans. these guys, theser. trait perpetrators are used to catering to americans, used to selling children to americans. this is an american problem no matter where on earth the child victim happens to be. in this country, we proudly work under meagan's law as a means to encourage states to protect children by identifying and monitoring the whereabouts of child sex offenders. as a society, we have accepted the fact that convicted sex
offenders pose a great risk to children and so we make their presence known. of course, the question why would we not offer this same mechanism to our friends overseas? and i understand it's been passed three times in the house, it's time to pass it in the senate. and i hope that your colleagues in the senate are listening, that they might hurry along. we might picture a man who has been convicted of raping children in a foreign country. we might imagine that this man is coming for a visit to our towns, to our parks, our neighborhoods where our children play. would we not want to know this man's past? of course we would. and i assure you that our friends in other countries want this information as well, especially the would-be child victims of the crimes. advancing this bill is an opportunity to connect law enforcement agencies around the world by arming them with actionable intelligence that they can use to prevent child sex crimes from occurring. this bill talks about the angel watch center. the angel watch center will be a significant first step in bridging the gap between governments and
nongovernment organizations like ours that have real experience in rescuing and rehabilitating victims of trafficking. one of the great benefits of being an ngo is it allows greater freedom for anti-child crimes experts to move about the world plugging quickly into any government jurisdiction and rapidly bringing the tools to fight child crimes into the hands of government officials who need them. we are readily afforded access to information regarding child sex rings that is useful to combat these rings. one of the challenges for us, of course, is establishing and maintaining direct relationships with government officials who need and want our services. through the angel watch center, this problem will be held. the center will serve as a venue or public/private partnership, can more easily leverage all the intelligence, ideas, tools, and strategies to best protect children at home and abroad. speaking from my organization, we have physically rescued hundreds of victims in the last year alone. advancing hr-515 and creating the angel watch center, i believe, could double or triple
that number for us and that's just for us. add to that the many other ngos and other government agencies, foreign and domestic that will participate in the angel watch center and we will be saving more children than ever before. let's not wait any longer to put this bill into law. the children are desperately waiting for us. i know this because i've seen them. thank you very much for this opportunity. >> thank you so very much. and, again, for that sacrifice of leaving your employment to take on this private sector initiative that has saved, as you pointed out, hundreds of victims in the last year alone. that is extraordinary. thank you for that leadership. well now i'll turn to karla hacento, and i thank you for being here. >> gracias. >> translator: thank you. mr. chairman and members of the subcommittee, thank you for taking the time to listen to my story.
>> translator: my name is karla jacinto and today i have a voice, but for more than four years of my life from an age of is 12 as a little girl whose mother threw her out on the streets open to anyone wanting to take advantage of my vulnerabilities, a professional pimp after three months of wooing me and treating me as a princess propped me up on the corner and forced me to work the streets for his own gain. speaking foreign language ] >> translator: for years and years i was cursed intimidated, threatened, beaten, robbed of my children and emotionally and sexually violated time and time again.language ]
>> translator: during those years, i was forced to serve every type of fetish imaginable to more than 40,000 clients. of those, many were foreigners visiting my city looking to have sexual interactionses with ss with minors like me.speaking foreign language ] >> translator: please try to put yourself in my shoes broken, abandoned, violated, hurt, denigrated and enslaved at a time when i should have been playing with dolls and looking forward to a fun day at school.foreign language ]
>> translator: today i'm thankful to be able to stand before you as a reintegrated woman.language ] translator: at the age of 16, a man that had become a regular client was able to see beyond the short-term pleasure into the eyes of a broken girl. speaking foreign language ] translator: he helped me escape and i entered the shelter. there i received the help, care, time, attention, and love that i needed to put the broken pieces of my soul back together.language ] >> translator: i also met rosio
who has helped me grow into the activist i am today.foreign language ] translator: i am 22, and for the last 5 years, my life has been dedicated to raising my voice to anyone willing to hear that we exist, that there are thousands of little girls in my country being used for the pleasure of those whom live for their own desires, economic gain, and exertion of power.foreign language ]
>> translator: it is up to us, both governments and not government organizations to work together to prevent this crime. punish those who commit them. to look and russ cue for those who already cut in the web. and to provide the care necessary for their healing and reintegration to a healthy society. [speaking foreign language] >> translator: no one person can do it himself or herself. we are all responsible. we are all affected. and we can all do something. [speaking foreign language]
>> translator: today your people have chosen you to have a position of influence that can truly make a difference, and i hope that my story will help you make some choices that will put a stop to this horrible crime. thank you. >> karla, thank you so much for testifying and for the bravery to come forward and tell your story and to admonish all of us to do more to end this cruelty and to help those who have been victimized. so your story will help. i will note for the record that c-span is here which means that americans will have the opportunity to hear all of your testimonies. and c-span, you know, is independent. it does not cover every hearing and i'm very grateful that they are here so that your words will be heard by millions of americans and
people around the world. so, thank you. i'd like to now introduce our final witness, and we understand that the microphones are working. rosie arasco, again, a former deputy author of "landmark anti-human trafficking legislation in mexico. and now the president of the commission united versus human trafficking. >> mr. chairman and members of the subcommittee, thank you for this opportunity. today, i'm here out of a profound sense of obligation to focus on the problem of sex trafficking. especially the reality of sexual tourism and child pornography. as you have heard karla was a victim of all these crimes at the age of 12. to
establish some context, i should explain a little bit of who i am. thanks to the training i received from your justice department here in washington, d.c., 2005, i all my life now has been dedicated to fight human trafficking in all of its forms. but especially that of sexual exploitation of women and, of course, minors. first as a congresswoman from 2009 to 2012 where i was the driving force to establish the general law to prevent, punish, and eradicate the offenses of trafficking in persons and to protect and assist the victim of these crimes. since the law took effect, 2012, and with the leadership of our president, enrique pineto, we have reported more than 200 convictions. mexico now is the leadership -- is the leader in
the prosecution of this crime in all latin america. more recently, as the president of these ngo commission united against human trafficking, we work in partnership with 97 other ngos and we have made sure that we communicate a clear message to every social, political, business, art, and international platform. in mexico, human beings are not for sale, and we will fight against anyone that acts against that fact. today i'm here representing every victim of slavery in my country. sadly, mexico's a country of origin, transit, and destination of human trafficking of women, men, and
children, that are being exploited in mexico and the united states. it worries all of our n.g.o.'s that there has been some intention in congress, in mexico trying to knock down the law that protects the human rights of victims and punish these criminals. they will try again in september, so we are working as n.g.o.'s to protect the good parts of our law and reform the articles that could be better with some legislators or some congresspeople that are very committed against human trafficking. according to world tourism organization and the international labor organization, about three million people traveling the world look for travel-related opportunities to participate in sexual acts with children. sexual tourism affects more than 2 million children, obligated to prosecute
themselves or work in the pornography industry. sexual tourism is the principal thing behind child sexual exploitation. this is a phenomenon that is in recent years and has expanded exponentially throughout the world, especially in asia and latin america with mexico being one of the principal countries affected. especially in the northern border towns and beach cities. last year, your own homeland security department has mexico as the number one distributor of child pornography in the world. this is largely due to the high demand. statistics demonstrate that most perpetrators are coming from the united states, england, holland, and germany. in a study done by the american
bar association, also we know that 47 bands of human traffickers were identified in mexico, of which the most renowned originate in the state of lascala and are very well known for importing their victims to the united states. i urge you today to make sure that our country will continue working together to put a stop to the atrocity of human trafficking and in all its forms, all forms of human trafficking. by refining our laws and committing to communicate and cooperate with each other we can stop the criminalization of victims, work to push hard to strengthen the law against providers and consumers. the prosecution of cases and provide the care that victims and their families need to
rebuild their lives. we believe we've been working very well with the ambassador, anthony wayne. even the wife one of the woman who works -- wives of many of the ambassadors that works with comina casa, karla, herself, has met her. the project is doing a great job also in partnership with mexico now. and you have a great, great general attorney, loretta lynch, who is called in mexico the nightmare of the pimps. and we also have a very good general attorney who will be the nightmare of the pimps soon. she's new in office. and also we have great police who is committed against these crime. in truth, my passion is to work directly with the
beautiful girls that have suffered and been rescued for these horrible crime. i have personally worked with more than 200 victims, shared their stories and witnessed their struggle as they look to reveal their lives and heal from the worst pain that can be inflicted on a human being. the lost of the freedom and dignity. more than anything, they need laws to be able to fight for them and they deserve to be here. just think about this. most of these girls were suffering from poverty violence, lack of dedication. when they become targets of criminals that make them also to be their slaves. so when the heroes like people of operation underground railroad rescue them, as a society, we owe them very much. they didn't have what they deserve in our country. they deserve the food the house, the security and dedication, and then we see
them as slaves. thank you to people like the people that works in o.u.r. thank you for being heroes in other countries. we need to work a complete process of reintegration from start to finish until they become successful people that we all admire, like karla, who is with me now today. she's a survivor of human trafficking. she was a sex slave between ages 12 to 16. seven years ago, karla was saved by a client who saw her beauty instead of his lust. and now she's a worldwide activist who has spoke twice in front of pope francis, has shared her story with duchess of cornwell. has been with the ex-president felipe calderon and, and the conference in london among many
other people. we believe that people like karla, if we don't help them until they are successful, they could kill themselves or become criminals. when she arrived to the shelter, she was full of hate. now she's full of love. we must work to break the vicious circle of lack of cooperation between our tourists and ngos, and mistrust of the process, result of people falling to denounce the crime and failure of the prosecution. instead, we must create a circle with authorities and n.g.o.'s like o.u.r., work together then provide a special and dedicate care to victims until they become successful stories. we need to work together with survivors until they become people admired by society. only then more people will denounce the crime of human
trafficking. only then will more criminals be prosecuted. only then more victims will be freed. and only then less and less people will look for slaves to satisfy their basic instincts. please do not name the clients' johns, like they were clients, like the clients that karla had. they are criminals. they are not like johns like they are a nobody. we should treat them like criminals. thank you so much for hearing us. >> thank you very much for your leadership both in the congress as well as now as head of an n.g.o. thank you so much. you inspire us, and obviously you have saved many, many lives. i'd like to ask a few questions. we do have three votes, if it's ok with you, and i know some of you may have to leave. we will take a short recess,
come back and ask some additional questions. but just to begin the questioning, then i'll yield to my colleagues. attorney general reyes, you talked about the 120 kids. let me just say, undercover work whether in utah, your state, or any state in the union, is always dangerous work. but i would suspect that undercover work in a foreign country, where the reliability of the law enforcement assets may be questionable, i mean, i'm not sure how you -- mr. ballard, you might want to speak to this as well -- how do you vet the law enforcement people you make a part of your team, given the distance even in utah, there might be a whistle -- not a whistle blower, but somebody who is complicit in the trafficking who would let the bad guys know you're coming. the 120 kids, what has become of them? the whole idea of recidivism is always a deep concern for all of us. all of you might want to speak
to that. how do you keep them out of harm's way? i have found, because i've been in shelters all over the world, that there needs to be a significant length of time, months doesn't cut it, it needs to be years, to really break that cycle and turn, as miss orozco talked about, the hate into love and self-accept angst, because the victims unfortunately blame themselves far too often. so speak to those two issues at the outset and miss bass, i'll yield to you now to get the questions in because i know miss bass can't return. >> i want to acknowledge my good colleague who's also from your state, mia love. congresswoman mia love, who just came. a couple of things. i also was interested in some of the same questions that the congressman asked. i was very interested in what happened to the girls, and also what happened to the men.
because, you know, as i watched the tape as it was going, i know the first thing that came to my mind is that, do they get released? then they do go back after the girls, you know what i mean? do they capture the girls? then i'd like to ask, if you could please explain, when you were rescued what was it that allowed you to not go back, and then i just want to make a brief statement for the record. >> chair, are you -- >> if we -- we're joined by mia love. and, who's obviously from your state and a very dedicated member of the congress and cares about these issues. then, again, going to my democrat colleague. >> i first of all wanted to say thank you for the invite letting me know that our attorney general and mr. ballard from operation underground railroad is here.
the important -- the work that they do is so incredibly important. it's something that's very important in the state of utah, but also for our nation and around the world. this is not based on fiscal issues. this is not based on party issues. this is what we have to do, and that is protecting life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. this is a moral issue. and i wanted to say thank you so much for making this such an important part of what you do. i have three children, two girls, one boy and it makes me feel better as a parent knowing that there are some good people out there doing this work and making sure that the predators know that we will not rest. we will be diligent, and we are watching them, and we are putting them out of business. from the bottom of my heart, as an american who care about the
concern, thank you for the work do you, and thank you to this committee for taking this issue so seriously. >> mr. chair can we say we're proufed our entire delegation, especially here today. thank you, congresswoman love. she's not telling everything. she's actually been helpful in a number of ways, including an operation or several operations that have occurred in haiti, given her haitian heritage. we appreciate her support and all of your support, so just wanted to acknowledge her and everything she's done to support operation underground railroad. >> miss jackson lee? >> first of all, let me thank you for the courtesies extended by both the chairman and the chairwoman, ranking member. thank you so very much. quickly to the witnesses, let me thank you for your testimony. i just briefly will indicate and ask a question and then hopefully it will go in the record. i am the ranking member on the crime subcommittee. we want to make sure that we
have some collaboration for filling in the holes. my question would be, there seems to be a gap as to dealing with those who are not connected to the united states. we deal with sex trafficking, the buyer the victim and maybe the state, so my question would be, general and, of course, to our congressperson, how do we deal internationally? how do you make sure if there's an international issue in new jersey that you either connect federally or that your laws allow to you reach to be able to ensure that their work is not impacting the jerseyites, people from utah, and nil that gap, that we don't miss those who are trying to do devastating things to children. lastly, i always mention boko haram way, way far away, but you know the dastardly things they've done by kidnapping girls. we believe it has an international effect. so thank you so very much for
your service. >> thank you. are you going to recess now, mr. -- >> no, we do have extra time, so begin the question. >> let me quickly try to address one or some of the questions that were posed. perhaps at a surface level. then i'll allow mr. ballard who is our operations director. >> excuse me. also miss jacinto, because i know i won't be able to come back. i know i won't be able to hear from her. >> i'm happy to defer, too. let's let miss jacinto address those things then we can come back. >> my question was if she could recall one thing that really allowed her to be able to stay away and not get pulled back. translator: my daughter.
because she was taken away from me when she was born. that's really when i really started fighting. [speaking foreign language] translator: when she was born, 1 month old, she was taken away from me. >> foster care? >> no, no, no. the pimp or the crime organization took her from me so they could extort her. [speaking foreign language] translator: when they took her from me, that's what gave me the strength to pull through,
and one of the regular clients recognized my situation and helped me escape and recuperate my daughter. when they gave her back to me, she had burns in her cheeks. [speaking foreign language] transmitter: every day while i was in the shelter -- i wanted to learn how to be a good mother to my daughter. [speaking foreign language] translator: so that our children, because most of the girls that are there, they have children do not fall prey to this crime. [speaking foreign language]
translator: i would never ever, ever want to go back to that place, because in that situation, you become an object a sexual object. you have no other identity. [speaking foreign language] translator: that's what makes me stand here today and raise my voice to say enough. >> thank you. we will take a brief -- we have three votes, like i said, so in about 15 minutes or so we'll resume. everybody, thank you very much, and we stand in recess.
>> apologize again for the delay to our distinguished witnesses as well as to the audience. we are joined by ann wagner, distinguished member of the house of representatives from missouri. she wrote a major law, a bill that has passed the house is likely to be backed in the house after being through the
senate that criminalizes advertising, and i'd like to yield to my good friend and colleague about her bill, which i think will make a huge difference and any questions that she might have of our panel. >> well, i thank you, mr. chairman and i thank you for a lifetime of leadership on this issue. for all of those giving a voice to the most vulnerable and those who are oftentimes voiceless. i served for years as a united states ambassador in western europe and was very familiar with human trafficking vis-a-vis the international aspect of things. but i will tell you, it wasn't until i came home to my own country in 2009, decided to run for office myself, put my own name on the yard sign, dug into a few things, and realized how
prevalent this scourge is, this modern-day slavery is and the prevalence here domestically in our own country. this is a domestically, a $9.5 billion business. there are upwards according to the justice department, of 300,000, mostly young girls at risk for this, and we as a congress, other than reauthorizing the fantastic work that chairman smith has done really had not gotten up to date on some of the new technologies and the new things going on over the last decade so i brought this up. i'm on the financial services committee. i do a lot in defense, but this, this fighting this scourge of human trafficking
and sex slavery is a passion of mine. so we went forward introduced several pieces of legislation last congress. i can tell you in january along with chairman smith's bill and many others, we passed 12 pieces of legislation for human trafficking in january at the house of representatives. the senate has taken a number of them up. they worked things out, and four of those will be coming back to us next week which we're very excited about, some things that will bolster law enforcement and prosecutors and give you, sir, -- >> the tools that we need. >> the tools you need and what you've been asking for. i can't tell you enough, truly, our attorney general of utah, general reyes, the kind of work that you've been doing to fight
this on a day in and day out basis, so we're going to give you some of the tools, the resources, and help those victims in terms of safe houses and education and awareness. my particular piece of legislation is called the save act. it goes on and in the last 12 years or so obviously the internet has just blown up and skyrocketed, and there are these online predators and advertisers on outlets like backpage.com and many others that make it -- i hate to say it, but it is the truth, as easy to order up a young 14-year-old girl to their hotel rooms as it is a pepperoni pizza. it is deplorable. so this does not go after the communications decency act.
it's not going after my kind of freedom of speech issue. this goes into the criminal code. and in the criminal code human trafficking, there's a litany of words that constitute human trafficking. it's things like transporting, harboring, coercing, and on and on and on. and what we did was simply had advertising -- and i don't care whether it's a billboard, a flyer or something you see in the back of a magazine or one of these online predators that are making, let me tell you $4 million to $5 million a month off of selling our women and children and young boys, too. so while i recognize the work that many of you are doing from an international basis, and i support that whole heartedly, and there's a number of great pieces of legislation like the international megan's and law other things that are so very
important to world society as we fight this scourge, but i do want to always remind folks that that is hiding in plain sight in our own backyard, in our own cul-de-sacs, in our own faith communities, in every school district. and we have to not just do things legislatively we have to lift education and awareness. i met with a group of superintendents last week when i was back in the district, and i said you guys are fantastic, do you programs about bullying, about heroin, about boundaries, maybe sexual assault. but have we ever discussed sex trafficing? have we ever discussed how these predators go online and what they're looking for? maybe that maybe that nanny job isn't a real nanny job. maybe that modeling job isn't a modeling job. whatever it may be, there are tools that we need to provide our youth and frankly our
counselors and others. so we're working with conventions and visitors' bureaus, with transportation outlets, with health care professionals, obviously with our prosecutors and our law enforcement. but i want to take it to the next level, which is education awareness in our schools. so i am just so thrilled that after three years we're going to have a number of pieces of human trafficking legislation that have passed the senate, are moving back to the house for final passage here, and i do believe that the president will sign this legislation. it is much needed. so i applaud the work that all of you are doing. i am so grateful to chairman smith for always shining a bright light on this issue. and i stand with you both internationally and domestically. and i have to tell you, general
reyes, the work that you're doing and your commitment to this cause is absolutely head and shoulders above anyone that i've seen. gen. reyes: thank you. rep. wagner: literally in this nation. so i thank you so much. gen. reyes: thank you, congresswoman. thank you, congresswoman wagner. and we so appreciate your fight to get us those tools that we need. it will be effective, and we'll use them. we won't let them go to waste. combating these perpetrators and offenders. i know you're doing the state of missouri proud, and we feel that support from you. so let me just tell you bravo, thank you for your work. chairman smith, if you'd like let me say again, reciprocally from our vantage point we applaud everything that you all do, but there's been no greater warrior in congress on behalf of
fighting for the rights, fighting for these poor innocents, than you, chairman smith, and we take our hat off to you. rep.. wagner: hear hear. gen. reyes: thank you for everything that you've done, not just in human trafficking, on so many different humanitarian issues, and for the time that you've allowed us to have today to hopefully educate just a little bit more our peers, our countrymen, and our fellow men worldwide and women about this issue. you have a couple questions. i'm going to do my best to -- rep. smith: before you go on, i do hope other attorneys general and their staffs get to see this on c-span and perhaps by amplification by the media because you set a standard, an example that needs to be followed. this is a winnable war. we all know that. and every effort that's made every smart effort, will lead to prevention of trafficking, protection for the victims, and prosecution of this nefarious
trade. thank you for your leadership. i would join you in thanking congresswoman wagner because she -- first as an ambassador and working on the executive branch side but now as a lawmaker is making a huge difference. this is a winnable war. so thank you. and we need every state to do what you're doing. maybe they don't all want to go undercover and rescue precious children in colombia but they can use their tools and their capacity to end this egregious practice. thank you. i did ask a few questions. rep. reyes: i will get to those questions. one thought occurred. congresswoman, if you want some ideas about school programs, training, on how to avoid being victims of child sexual trafficking or victims of other sex crimes, please come talk to me afterwards. we have some fantastic ones in utah and we would love to share them with you. and also, again, notwithstanding the praise and the recognition
you that gave, i don't want to accept a disproportionate amount of credit for what my colleagues, my other attorneys general throughout the united states are doing, have done before me and will continue to do. there are many great leaders on the republican side, the democrat side, throughout the great states of our nation who have taken a lead on combating human trafficking. so again, on behalf of all of them, our national attorneys general, they are the front line in many instances against this fight, and i want to pay respect and give credit to all of them. to your questions, though. you asked what happens to survivors. and let me break that down domestically and internationally. domestically, from our office in the state of utah we work with the department of child and family services. we work with non-profits like the elizabeth smart foundation because in spite of the fact the
liberating element of these operations gets the lion's share of the media attention and it's kind of the exciting parts, the stuff you see on the news. we all know who worked in this area that the true heavy lifting comes after the fact when these victims become survivors and then need the resources educationally, training, jobs, counseling, treatment, physical and psychological support, and it's going to take in some cases a lifetime to help them overcome the atrocities they've just endured. so organizations like the elizabeth smart foundation domestically, safe houses that we work with are part of the comprehensive approach we've taken to address what happens to these survivors now that they've been liberated. internationally, each country is different. each country has different resources. each country has a different capacity to provide resources. but one of the things i admire most about operation underground
railroad is they will refuse to work with a country or they'll even forestall operations until that country gives its absolute commitment to give every resource available that they do have to helping the victims once they're liberated. and and the case of colombia we worked with a humanitarian organization called renacer, the rebirth, along with the colombian federal and state resources. there a kirkland of -- their equivalent of child and family services. we need to put so much. you mentioned, congresswoman safe houses. the reason why only one out of every ten leave the life alive is that there's no safety valve for them. they want to leave. they want to get away. and so often there's no place for them to escape. so the safety houses are another way that wke can help encourage them to leave and get the help of the resources.
the other question very quickly i want to touch on, you asked, mr. chair, how do we vet our government partners? and to be candid with you, during the entire operation that i was on in colombia i really was more worried about potential false friends in the government maybe turning us over or turning us in to a cartel than i was about the traffickers. we neutralized them pretty quickly and they weren't an extreme physical threat. i'll say this. o.u.r. vets, through a combination of their own international contacts recognizing that many of them used to be former cia operatives and members and have established trusted relationships over decades along with our federal government agencies like hsi who help us vet and give us a measure of comfort with the actual agencies that we work with hand in hand to take down these criminals abroad.
so, the reality, as has been testified to earlier, is that there are agencies is that aren't as credible and we do have to worry about them and we're very careful. and there still is an element of risk no matter how much vetting and due diligence you do, but that's a risk we're willing to accept when it comes to saving these little ones and bringing them back to their families. i'll let others address the questions, too. >> i would like to mention something related to that question. [ speaking spanish ] translator: congresswoman
wagner, she would like to commend the work that you're doing on behalf of herself and the girls that she knows are in the shelters. [ speaking spanish ] translator: yes. i know a very good friend of mine called anita. she's in the book that rosi provided for you. that was sold in advertisements in the newspaper. [ speaking spanish ] translator: and it's exactly because of anita's testimony in our congress that mexico has already adopted a law against this type of advertising.
rescued victim that o.u.r. rescued. her name is b.b. she lives with us. and karla works directly with her, helping her with her whole process. so we're happy to say that there are places where the girls that they rescue end up being well taken care of. rep. smith: let me just ask what the role in -- particularly in the healing process. i've actually been in shelters in russia, peru, bolivia ethiopia, romania, ukraine italy, bosnia, just to name a few of the countries. and i have observed a marked difference in terms of the positive impact on women and young girls when there is a faith-based component of some kind. some are run exclusively. in bolivia and peru they're run by nuns. and the young girls in peru -- greg and i were in the ones in
ethiopia. piro and i were in the ones in peru and some of these other essentially south american countries. and i was really touched by how much the feeling seems to go so much further when there's a faith-based component. i'm wondering what you think about that. pope francis and other distinguished clerics have made this a high priority, and caring especially for the victims. what your thought on that might be. >> of course in mexico we work with free shelters. the only ones that helps victims of human trafficking, and the three of them has that composure. rep. smith: has what? are faith-based? ms. orozco: yeah.
faith-based. we believe that's important until they really are successful. i'm so proud of karlita because they do a book of dreams and we all -- these 97 ngos, we help them to succeed. we also work in jails with the pimps. that has been very powerful. if you can watch cnn, the documentary that is called "human merchandise," you can watch one of the pimps who is asking forgiveness to one of the friends of carlita that is also in the book, marcela. all the girls you can see in the book are successful victims because all of them knows now that they are special, that they were created to an important mission now. and because of that these also pimps, karlita has been in jail with them and it's very powerful to work in just restoration -- how do you say, restorative justice?
they have been able to ask forgiveness to the victims. that's powerful too. rep. smith: thank you. >> well, let me say this, mr. chair. we certainly are welcoming to all organizations of whatever background that want to join the fight. but so many of our best partners in this effort are faith-based organizations, and it does have a powerful impact in the healing process that i've seen. on a side note, i remember when i let my staff know that i was heading down. i have a chief civil deputy, who is a two star army general. someone i greatly admire, a hero of mine, and he said to me atypical of his usual deference to my position, he said boy, i wouldn't send my own troops down where you're going. you can't go. and my response to him was general, i feel like god is on our side in this effort and that he'll protect us and that i've
counseled with so many of those survivors who've said that it was really god and faith that kept them alive throughout the process. so, of course in the healing process i would expect god and faith would play a critical role and i'm not ashamed to say that. i think that is an important component of it. whatever someone's conception of god or faith may be, i think it's critical. last thing, and this is i guess the beauty of having c-span cover this, i get texts from people saying you need to cover this or that you forgot to say. in terms of the girls we worked with many of them were able to , get back to their families. and i think that's what people were curious about, did they get home to their families? in some sad cases, it was their families that sold them in the first place or the family environment is not one stable enough that we feel comfortable putting them back in
that environment. so again, with our government partners and non-profit partners both domestically and international, we take a look at making sure we put these children in deference to their family first in a situation where they can win. because the last thing we want to do is liberate them and set them up for failure without the resources they deserve. it is true because people ask, sometimes their families, their direct immediate families were the ones that decided to profit from them. so they may go to next of kin. however, i wouldn't be too judgmental. in many cases the families did , not know they were putting their children in harm's way. in this case they thought they were giving them a chance to make more money in one year in a modeling agency, which is part of that culture, beauty pageants, than both parents could make in a decade. why wouldn't they want to help support their other siblings? and they innocently let their children go to be part of that. there are english exchange
programs, the women we help liberate in my state, the victims, we found out they thought they were signing up for an english, united states cultural program or english language program and the wily traffickers, the ones who are cagier will often with a gun to the heads of victim, essentially figuratively or literally to have them skype their families every month to say things are going great here, we love that in america, we are learning a lot. but in the meantime, they're put ten to 20 in a little flat beaten raped, drugs, abused and forced to be prostitutes. their dignity is stripped away, so we do everything we can on the back end to give them chances to reintegrate and be successes like our hero here today. she said that she admired us but she is a real hero into all of us. thank you for your time. thank you for all of your efforts.
we hope our senate, your senate colleagues are listening carefully to the testimony today. rep. smith: thank you for your strong appeal for the international megan's law. coming from a person with your experience and knowing the direct impact it will have. it is very, very powerful. i have one final question. i yield to my friend miss wagner for any additional questions she might have, but one of the emerging phenomenons we've seen is it's not just organized crime, but gangs that have embraced human trafficking in a very despicable way. we've had a number of busts in my state of organized crime out of that, too, but of gangs and these young girls that are being exploited are 14, 15, 16 years old. if you can speak to that as an emerging threat because it seems to be going from bad to worse.
gangs do bad things with drugs with violence of other kinds they're also now in the trafficking business of human persons. ms. orozco: also we have that punishment to the people who are in organized crime or gangs that will take this young people like to sell drugs or to be forced to do crimes and it's happening in our country. we are fighting against that. and also, we are having agricultural people forced to labor. we just had a new girl who escaped from forced labor -- it was like -- dry cleaner and she was even with chains in her body two years. she is devastated.
it's the worst case and it's happening and that's why the law has to be reforms. we really congratulate you. we can see and your heart that you have the passion to protect the dignity and freedom. you have the same spirit of abraham lincoln and we're very happy to be here with you. rep. smith: thank you for your leadership. mr. reyes: the dynamic you described, mr. chair i believe , is an accurate one. more and more. in fact, i think the prevalence of those who are traffickers is less from large organized criminal structures and rather either smaller gangs or one off sells. the vast majority of, especially during operations, are really small and in fact, in colombia the intel we received on that particular cell we busted came from high level narco traffickers.
perhaps there is honor amongst thieves. they said you can handle this two ways. either we'll take care of these guys are away and there might be a lot of collateral damage and carnage, or the government can do something about i and the government reached out to operation underground railroad and said tim, please come in now and help us devise a way to help us go after them without endangering other citizens and so, again, to my point, it seems to be less and less huge cartels and much more just just smaller organizations. because historically, the downside has been very small. that hasn't been that much disincentives in terms of the laws or enforcement. things are changing with the laws you're helping us pass domestically. things are changing because of the international megan's law that will hopefully eventually be the law of the land.
i think that was an astute observation that you brought up. rep. smith: i would like to yield to congresswoman wagner. rep. wagner: i would agree general, that maybe not all large cartel business, but it is big business. here domestically, any given pimp generally traffics about six to eight women. they make 150 to $200,000 a year. off of each one of those victims. and it's absolutely as i've said before, deplorable. what lifts me up and gives me great hope are people like you karlita and survivors. people willing to come forward and tell their stories. i've been to the safe homes and shelters. i've worked with these young people. i've been on sting operations
myself. probably not on the front line as you were, general, but i have been there when we saved two young women and caught two pimps at the same time. mr. reyes: congratulations, that is wonderful. rep. wagner: we dig in big time and at the end of the day, there are things we can do, but education and awareness are key and i can't stress that enough. across the board everywhere. our school, hospitals, whether as i said convention and sports. st. louis, my hometown, sadly is in the top 24 human trafficking. mainly because it hits -- mainly because of its logistical location and its interstate access, so, there are also things that i think that we can do and are putting legislative teeth behind studies and
bringing together research and information about who are the most vulnerable? who are the ones that are most likely to be victimized so that we can take care to watch out and over and give folks the resources and information about how to not fall prey to this kind of victimization. again, i applaud your efforts. it is a labor of love. one that i feel very passionately about. i have got a young daughter. i have nieces. i care about their future. the future of all of our young children and grandchildren. and i will fight legislatively fight for education and awareness on this issue until
i've the last breath in my body and i thank you, general, i will absolutely get with you. some of my staff is here to, we're working as i said, on some best practices and programs for some of the schools and i think we've gotten their attention, so i applaud you and i thank you, mr. chairman, for giving me the time today to come before you. rep. smith: thank you. as we conclude, i'll just when we talk about situational awareness, one of the best practices that is of almost no cost except for the training and that is to train airline flight attendants as well as the pilots to recognize. a woman named nancy bravard has come up with, and others has come up with airline ambassadors international, a wonderful program so that the flight attendants become situationally aware, become eyes and gears during a flight.
and not to be done at train stations and bus stops as well. and then law enforcement is advised in a timely fashion in case of a plane as it lands, to there to ascertain whether or not there is a trafficking in progress and there have been a number of tremendously encouraging stories where this has broken the cycle. coming out of haiti, american airlines was able to break a cycle of little children where a pedophile ring was broken. flights comeing out of russia to chicago where every couple of days, there would be a number of russian girls, young girls, teenagers with one guy. something wrong with that picture. turns out it was a trafficking ring and the flight attendants were situationally aware enough to make sure the pilot called ahead. it is something we need to get in latin america asia, europe, africa so that thousands of airline flight attendants and pilots and crew will be aware of
what it looks like not to be law enforcers, not to put potential victims at risk for themselves but to phone ahead so that when the plane land, they are rescued and the trafficker is apprehended and prosecuted. mr. reyes: eyes and ears. the trucking association has been terrific partners. and shipping as well. we need everyone. rep. wagner: mr. chairman, would you mind repeating who wrote the program? rep. smith: nancy revard. we at the department of homeland security have a best practices module or training capacity called blue lightning. blue lightning and so, that needs to be replicated everywhere. including our own. delta has undertaken this. far too few of our own airlines, certainly in mexico and all the other airlines need to look at
it as well. anything you'd like to say before we conclude? mr. reyes: no, thank you. i would concur with congresswoman wagner that education and awareness will be the biggest deterrent. we can't investigate and prosecute our way out of this problem and when you're ready to come to utah for an undercover sting, come on out. we'll put you to work. thank you. congressman chase it's -- congressman chaffetz has been out with us a couple of times. rep. smith: he sends his best. he's at a top secret briefing or he asked me to convey to you he would be here. ms. orozco: we just want to give you our blue heart. this is the u.n. blue heart for human trafficking. human trafficking are not for sale. rep. smith: thank you.
and thank you again for your bravery in coming forward and telling your story as well. the hearing is adjourned. i'm sorry. hearing adjourned. thank you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] announcer: "washington journal" is next. the house is in in two hours. they will vote on amendments and the defense coverage bill. watch live coverage here on c-span. coming up, vermont congressman peter welch will join us to talk about rail safety, transportation funding and other
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