CINCINNATI, OH – Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) hosted a roundtable discussion regarding efforts to combat human trafficking with staff at Valley Interfaith Community Resource Center, local law enforcement, and local community partners. Following the meeting Portman toured the Valley Interfaith Community Resource Center, a non-profit that works to help women in the community break the cycle of poverty, offers emergency assistance of food and clothing to those in need, and connects clients with other community partners as needed. Portman recorded this video. A transcript is below:

I had the chance to visit Valley Interfaith today. It’s an amazing organization. It’s a non-profit that’s reaching out to other service agencies and law enforcement, partnering to try to help people get out poverty. One of their focuses is on sex trafficking and human trafficking. They’ve been helpful to me in supporting our efforts to try to stop trafficking online which is where the growth is occurring. I had a good chance to talk to law enforcement and social service providers today about that. I thanked them for their help. We have a hearing coming up on Tuesday in the United States Senate, in the Commerce Committee, on our legislation to try to stop this sex trafficking online. So this is timely for me to see an organization that is in the trenches doing the good work of trying to help these girls and women get their lives back together.”

NOTE: Recently, Senators Portman and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced bipartisan legislation — the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act — to ensure justice for victims of sex trafficking and ensure that websites such as Backpage.com, which knowingly facilitate sex trafficking, can be held liable and brought to justice.  Next Tuesday, the Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on this bipartisan legislation.

The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act was introduced after the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations’ two-year inquiry which culminated in a report entitled “Backpage.com’s Knowing Facilitation of Online Sex Trafficking,” which found that Backpage.com knowingly facilitated criminal sex trafficking of vulnerable women and young girls and then covered up evidence of these crimes in order to increase its own profits. 

As founder and co-chair of the Senate Caucus to End Human Trafficking, Senator Portman has a long record of fighting this terrible crime. He has authored five federal anti-trafficking laws signed by President Obama, each designed to make a real difference in better serving victims and helping law enforcement to combat this horrific crime.

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