Congresswoman Ann Wagner

Representing the 2nd District of Missouri

Not for Sale: The SAVE Act

The Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation (SAVE) Act



As a mother, I believe we have a moral obligation to stop the devastating consequences of human trafficking where innocent children are dragged into the dark abyss of sex slavery. During my time as a United States Ambassador, I was exposed firsthand to the horrors of human trafficking on an international level. But never in my wildest dreams did I ever think human trafficking was so rampant in the United States of America, in our neighborhoods, school districts and faith communities.

Modern-day slavery exists right here in the United States.  Through the scourge of human trafficking, children in our own neighborhoods and communities are sold into forced prostitution every single day.   Sexual predators can browse advertisements and have child prostitutes sent to their hotel rooms as easily as if they were ordering a pizza.

For the last 13 years, the House of Representatives has not passed any new pieces of legislation dealing with human trafficking.  During that time, the problem has changed and evolved.  Our efforts to combat sex trafficking need to be updated to match the problem as it stands today.  That’s why I authored the SAVE Act, which seeks to criminalize the advertisement of innocent victims being forced into sex slavery.  

Summary of the SAVE Act:

  • The SAVE Act adds advertising to the types of conduct that constitute sex trafficking.
  • H.R. 4225 would amend Section 1591 of the Federal Criminal Code, inserting “advertises” into the list of conduct that comprise the crime of federal sex trafficking.
  • This legislation would put the advertiser of trafficked children under the age of 14 in prison for a minimum of 15 years to life.

General Figures on Human Trafficking in the United States:

  • Human trafficking generates $9.5 billion yearly in the United States. (United Nations)
  • Approximately 300,000 children are at risk of being prostituted in the United States. (U.S. Department of Justice)
  • The average age of entry into prostitution for a child victim in the United States is 13-14 years old. (U.S. Department of Justice)
  • A pimp can make $150,000-$200,000 per child each year and the average pimp has 4 to 6 girls. (U.S. Justice Department, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children)
Legislative update on the SAVE Act:
On May 20, 2014, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the SAVE Act with overwhelming bipartisan support. By a vote of 392-19, Republicans and Democrats alike stood up for innocent young men and women and declared that no more would we allow online advertisers to profit from modern day slavery. I am thrilled to see my colleagues in the House taking positive steps on important issues and protecting our most vulnerable citizens. The SAVE Act and four other key pieces of human trafficking legislation have now been sent to the U.S. Senate, where I am hopeful that they will be passed without delay and signed into law by the President.   

Click here for more information on human trafficking in the United States

Wagner Op-Ed in West Newsmagazine: Combating Sex Trafficking in Missouri


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