Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn demanded a floor vote Thursday on her proposed “End Child Trafficking Now Act,” which would make DNA tests mandatory for any adult alien attempting to enter the U.S. with a minor.
“Minors are especially vulnerable to trafficking and are often forced to perform sex acts,” Blackburn said. “Making DNA tests mandatory on anyone claiming a family relationship with a minor will send a powerful message that traffickers will be caught and aggressively prosecuted.”
Separately, she told Fox News Wednesday that cartels were exploiting minors, forcing them to act as mules and carry drugs across the border between Mexico and Arizona.
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“They put a wristband on them that shows they’ve either paid their fee [to be smuggled across across] or they need to work that fee out,” she said. “That’s called indentured servitude: Work that fee out once they get to the U.S. This is through sex trafficking, human trafficking, labor gangs, MS-13 and other gangs.”
Sens. Blackburn, Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Thom Tillis, R-N.C., and Mike Rounds, R-S.D., introduced the bill Wednesday.
“Unaccompanied children are passing through our border with the help of strangers and members of cartels, putting these children at an increased risk of sexual abuse and human trafficking,” Tillis said in a statement. “This is completely unacceptable and the Biden administration’s response has been severely lacking.”
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, one in four victims of human trafficking, also known as modern day slavery, are children – and the majority of forced laborers, including forced sex workers, are women and girls.
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Experts have warned that signs of potential human trafficking can include a lack of control over one’s own identification or travel documents, as well as traveling with older men – especially nonrelatives.
Blackburn’s legislation would target both of those indicators.
The senators have accused Biden of “breaking” the border after reversing many of former President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.
Biden, speaking during his first news conference since taking office Thursday, said he would make “no apologies” for ending Trump-era protocols – including the so-called Remain in Mexico policy that kept migrants across the border rather than in overcrowded detention facilities.
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He said Trump’s immigration policies “have an incredibly negative impact on the law…as well as on human dignity.”