Ms. KLOBUCHAR. Mr. President, I come to the floor again today to talk about the importance of getting the bill passed, and we have seen today for the first time--I talked I think 3 hours yesterday--the need to change the tone and try to work across the aisle on some ideas to move forward with this bill. That is happening in many conversations in this Senate Chamber and in offices, and I am pleased that we have had a change in tone and that we have some possibility of moving forward. I thank my colleagues for that. 

Senator Cornyn and I have worked on this issue for a long time. In addition to the bill that is on the floor today, we also have the important safe harbor bill that I am leading and that Representative Erik Paulsen is leading in the House. This is a bill--since it went out of the Judiciary Committee unanimously and has none of the issues and controversy involved in the current bill on the floor--I hope will be able to get through this Senate Chamber in the coming week as either 
part of this bill or on its own. 

This safe harbor bill, of course, is about treating the victims of sex trafficking as victims and not treating them as criminals when they are 12 years old. It is taking a model from Minnesota and 15 States and now creating incentives to bring it out to the rest of the country. 

So what is it we have been talking about here over this last week? We are talking about 27 million people around the world who are victims of some kind of trafficking every year. Some of this is labor trafficking, but what we are focused on this week is sex trafficking. It is the third biggest criminal enterprise in the world. The first is illegal trafficking of drugs, the second is illegal trafficking of guns, and the third is illegal trafficking of girls and young boys. And the average age 
is 12 years old--not even old enough to drive a car, not even old enough to go to their first prom. 

Last year, I went to Mexico with Cindy McCain, and we met with a number of officials and prosecutors and victim advocates who were working to fight this crime in Mexico. We visited a shelter for abused girls. We met with the Attorney General and with the Federal Police. But what I most remember of all of those meetings as to how we could better coordinate our focus on sex trafficking was the visit to the Covenant House in Mexico City, where there were girls as young as 11 years old who were victims 
of trafficking. 

There was one girl who truly stood out. Her name was Paloma. She was new to the house which had taken her in and was in the first stage of recovery. Unlike the other girls who spoke through an interpreter, she could speak English, but all she could say was her name, and then she couldn't stop crying. And while some of the other girls told their stories, she never told her stories in words. She only told her story through her tears. That is a moment I won't forget. 

It reminded me of something I heard when I visited a refugee camp once in Jordan, where a mother said she had seen things that would make stones cry. That is what that little girl Paloma was saying through her tears, that the experiences she had had of being trafficked at 11 years old would make stones cry. These are real stories. 

When Polaris--one of the major groups working on this issue of sex trafficking--released their State-by-State rankings of efforts to fight human trafficking, here is what they had to say: 

The scope and scale of human trafficking within the United States presents a daunting challenge to policymakers, service providers, law enforcement, and advocates. Originally, human trafficking was thought to be more of a problem in other countries, but now it is known to be happening in our own backyards. It is estimated that there are hundreds of thousands of victims of sex and labor trafficking inside our borders. 

But what we know today is that 83 percent of the victims in the United States are from the United States. It is not just girls at the bottom of a ship--which does happen--it is girls right in our country, girls right in Minnesota, on the streets of Rochester, where just in the last few months we had a 12-year-old girl who got a text inviting her to a party, showed up at a McDonald's parking lot where she was supposed to go, a guy puts her in a car, takes her up to the Twin Cities, rapes her, 
takes sexually explicit pictures of her, puts them on the Internet. The next day she is sold on Craigslist to two other men and raped. That happened in Minnesota. That man has now been indicted by the U.S. Attorney's office. But we have seen these cases over and over again. 

People say, why is this getting worse? Why is the Senate debating this issue right now? It is because, as much as we love the Internet, we also know it has provided a vehicle for this kind of activity so that it is much easier for people to do behind closed doors where no one notices them basically get these young girls in their grasp. 

Yesterday I spent nearly 3 hours reading from a book by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn about international sex trafficking called ``Half the Sky.'' I did that because I felt the tone had gotten so bad in this Chamber on both sides, with people hurling accusations and not even being willing to talk about possible ways to resolve this, and I am glad again that now we are finally talking today. 

They have another book about domestic sex trafficking, which is the focus of the bill on the floor today, as well as our safe harbor bill. They tell a story of a girl named Clemmie. The book is called ``A Path Appears.'' They say: 

One of the first women whom Becca helped was Clemmie Greenlee, an African American woman who had been raped repeatedly beginning at the age of five and then systematically pimped from the age of twelve. Clemmie began drinking at the age of eight, dropped out of school in fourth grade, and soon became a heroin addict and an expert at robbing johns. On one occasion she did more than steal. A customer was beating her so badly, so she pulled out a knife and stabbed him. ``I didn't see blood, so I 
stabbed him again, four more times,'' she said. He almost died, but fortunately for Greenlee he was a married man who begged the police not to press charges, and without his testimony they didn't have a case. She was freed. 

By 2001, Greenlee was a gaunt eighty-five pounds, sleeping on the streets or in abandoned buildings, all of her money was going to crack cocaine. She had had a son who was killed in gang violence. She was seen as having so little commercial value that pimps abandoned her. An old friend from the streets found Greenlee in a crack house and dragged her over to see Reverend Stevens at Magdalene. 

This is an example of what we are seeing across this country--right in our own country. These stories are so raw and so ugly, but I tell them and read from that book yesterday just so people remember why we are here and what we are dealing with, so we can put some of these issues--extraneous issues, things we need to change in the bill and fix in the bill, that we have some motivation to do it. These girls really don't know how to change the laws in Congress. They need our help to do that. 

My good friend Cindy McCain, through her work at the McCain Institute--and I see Senator Rubio here from Florida, who is also familiar with that work and knows what she has done. They undertook a study looking to get some baseline data on sex trafficking around big events. We have seen what happens where we have increases in Web site advertising and other things, and we have seen what happens when law enforcement actually comes together across all jurisdictional lines--Federal, State, 
and local--when the private sector engages, like our hotels--hotels like the Radisson Hotels in Minnesota. Marilyn Carlson Nelson has been such a leader on this, and has really set up and helped to fund foundations, because they see it. They know their workers are on the frontline and can actually stop it from happening--or airlines, like Delta, American, United that are on the frontlines and they train employees so they can stop this from happening. 

So, yes, these bills will help. The bill we have on the floor right now that Senator Cornyn and I worked on, and many others in this Chamber, will help get funds for the victims and for these shelters. The bill I am leading with Senator Cornyn will actually help to make sure our States get incentives to make sure we are handling these criminal prosecutions in a way that works, that emboldens the victims so they don't go back to the pimps, so they don't go back to that cycle 
of violence, so they actually feel they are in a safe harbor, that they are in a safe place so they will testify against these perpetrators--the ones running these rings, these crooks, these people who are treating these young girls as chattel. That is what these bills are about. 

So we need a path forward. I think for the first time today we are seeing--despite no agreement yet and a lot of ideas out there, we are seeing a different tone. I want people to remember that not only will this bill involve the fund I am talking about, but once we either join it or pass separately our safe harbor law, it will also create incentives for States to change their laws. It will also create a national sex trafficking strategy that is in my safe harbor law. It will also allow these 
young girls who are victims to be part of job training programs and other things, to make it easier for our law enforcement with an amendment that I included in my bill from Senator Sessions and Senator Whitehouse with the U.S. Marshals. There are many good things that are going to help. 

Mostly, we are going to send a message from this Chamber, finally, after all of this acrimony over the last days and all of the blame, that we can finally send a message to that little girl named Paloma that this country believes in her. We believe these lives have value, and we must stand by these victims and stand up for these victims--not only in our country but internationally.

I thank the Presiding Officer. I thank my colleagues. I know these conversations are continuing as we work to find a path forward. I thank Senator Cornyn for the work we have done together. I look forward to getting this done. 

I yield the floor.