June 14, 2012 LETTER — LIRS Welcomes Introduction of the Strengthening the Child Welfare Response to Trafficking Act

Press Contact: Jon Pattee, LIRS Assistant Director for Media Relations
202-591-5788, jpattee@lirs.org

June 14, 2012

The Honorable Karen Bass
U.S. House of Representatives
408 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representative Bass,

On behalf of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), the national organization established by Lutheran churches in the United States to serve uprooted people, thank you for introducing H.R. 2730, the bipartisan Strengthening the Child Welfare Response to Trafficking Act.

LIRS stands with Lutherans all across America and our broad network of legal and social service partners in the fight to abolish modern day slavery. In July 2010 the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod approved a resolution to support efforts to end human trafficking. The resolution called on the Church to provide information about human trafficking to congregants, encouraging pastors and laity to “become educated regarding this issue and to be proactive in their response.”

U.S. government officials estimate that there are as many as 27 million victims of human trafficking around the world, many of whom are here in the United States. Research shows that the majority of child sex trafficking victims are already involved with the child welfare system. The Strengthening the Child Welfare Response to Trafficking Act is critical legislation that would ensure that state child welfare agencies identify child victims and provide them with the services they need.

LIRS is one of only two organizations that provide specialized foster care services for refugee and migrant children. In December 2008 President Bush signed into law legislation to combat human trafficking. LIRS played a central role in supporting the bill, advocating for provisions that would protect and assist vulnerable migrant youth in the United States.

LIRS applauds your efforts to combat trafficking and we look forward to working with you to build support for this important bill. Please feel free to contact Eric B. Sigmon, LIRS Director for Advocacy, at (202) 626-7943 or via email at esigmon@lirs.org with any additional questions.

Yours in faith,

 

Linda Hartke
President and CEO
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service