Sen. Ron Johnson is leading an effort by Republican senators to urge four of their Democratic counterparts with relevant committee chairmanships to hold hearings on human trafficking. 

“Given your committees’ roles in overseeing [the Department of Homeland Security], we urge you to investigate and hold hearings into DHS’s efforts to combat human trafficking,” Johnson, R-Wis., and the other Republican senators wrote in a letter to the Democrats, who control the committees by virtue of their party’s majority in the Senate.

Co-signed by all 49 GOP senators, the letter, dated July 27, came two days after the docudrama film “Sound of Freedom”—based on the true story of Tim Ballard, a former Homeland Security agent who rescued hundreds of children in Colombia from sex trafficking—was shown to members of Congress on Capitol Hill in a special screening.

The letter is addressed to Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations; Richard Durbin, D-Ill., chairman of the Judiciary Committee; Gary Peters, D-Mich., chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee; and Robert Menendez, D-N.J., chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.

Republicans point to what they say is “the Biden administration’s open-border policy” for “facilitating the multibillion-dollar business model of some of the most evil people on the planet — drug-, human-, and sex-traffickers.” 

The letter includes numerous statistics on illegal crossings at the border, including data from Customs and Border Protection, which “reported over 2.3 million encounters at the southwest border, including 152,057 encounters of unaccompanied and single minors” in fiscal year 2022.

The GOP senators also cited the Rand Corp., a nonpartisan institute that performs research and analysis, which has estimated that “14,500 to 17,500 people are trafficked into the United States each year to perform bonded or forced labor.”

The number is likely higher, as the U.S. is currently ranked as the “top destination for child sex-trafficking.” As a result, Republican senators told their Democratic counterparts, “without our attention and leadership, human trafficking will continue to plague this country.”

The GOP senators concluded their letter by urging the Democrats to capitalize on the momentum “Sound of Freedom” has initiated “in creating public awareness of this modern-day form of slavery” by holding hearings on sex trafficking in their respective committees.

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