The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children recently said children who go missing are vulnerable to child sex trafficking
In a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing, Sen. Ossoff raised concerns with the FBI Director
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff is asking the FBI Director to address threats to children who go missing from the foster care system.
In a U.S. Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing about threats to the homeland, Sen. Ossoff asked FBI Director Christopher Wray to address threats to children who go missing from care.
“It is well understood by the Department of Health and Human Services and by law enforcement that foster youth who go missing are at acute risk of trafficking and other forms of abuse and exploitation,” Sen. Ossoff said to Director Wray. “Will you commit to working with me to enhance the FBI’s ability to locate and free children who may be trapped by criminals?”Sen. Ossoff asked.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) recently found that between 2018 and 2022, 1,790 children in the care of Georgia’s foster care system were reported missing to NCMEC. In a Human Rights Subcommittee hearing Monday, NCMEC testified that anytime a child goes missing, no matter how long, they are vulnerable to experiencing a number of endangerments, including child sex trafficking.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, children who go missing from care are left more vulnerable to human trafficking, sexual exploitation, and other threats to their health and safety.
In the hearing, at Sen. Ossoff’s request, Director Wray committed to reviewing NCMEC’s analysis and noted the close coordination between the FBI and NCMEC to keep children safe.
Please find a transcript of Sen. Ossoff’s line of questioning below:
SEN. OSSOFF: “And Director Wray, that leads to my next question. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, or NCMEC, which as you well know is tasked by Congress to receive reports of missing and trafficked children from state and local agencies across the country — in Georgia, between 2018 and 2022, there were nearly 1,800 reports of missing foster youth.
“And it is well understood by the Department of Health and Human Services and by law enforcement that foster youth who go missing are at acute risk of trafficking and other forms of abuse and exploitation.
“Can you please characterize the FBI’s efforts and understanding of the particular threats posed to foster youth from human traffickers, sex traffickers and others? And will you commit to working with me to enhance the FBI’s ability to locate and free children who may be trapped by criminals?”
DIRECTOR WRAY: “Let me follow back up with you in more detail on this specific issue of foster youth as a particularly vulnerable victim set. But I will tell you that we work very closely with NCMEC; I’ve been over there myself. I consider them a very valuable part of this whole response to the threat. But it is a major, major problem across this country that we have kids, even in this day and age, being victimized and exploited by predators really all across the country.”
SEN. OSSOFF: “And NCMEC does a great job. They are a highly credible organization. And I’d like to get that data in front of you so you’re aware of the scope of the threat to these foster children in Georgia. Will you take a look at it when I send it over to you?”
DIRECTOR WRAY: “Yes, sir.”
SEN. OSSOFF: “Thank you, Director Wray.”