Ms. KLOBUCHAR. Madam President, I first want to thank my colleagues who are continuing to work on this very important issue of sex trafficking, Senator Grassley, the chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary, and Senator Leahy, the ranking member, who has long been working on this issue and has a very important bill of his own related to this, as well as Senator Cornyn. Senator Cornyn and I have worked together on the sex trafficking issue for the past year. 
We are cosponsors of each other's bills. We have worked in the past on other judiciary issues, including a successful bill on prescription drug take-backs, where we just recently were able to get the rules out and got to work on that very important issue. I thank him for his good work. We continue to work on the bill, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act. We know there are some major issues that have come up, and we continue to look for a path forward on that issue. 

I do want to point out that sometimes in all of the disagreements, what gets lost is the good that needs to be done and why this bill is so important. It would support victims by taking fines and criminal assets from convicted human traffickers and directing them toward services and treatment to help these victims restore their lives. 

I know as a prosecutor in my former job that if people get the help they need--if they can go to a shelter and they have an alternative to a pimp--they will have a fighting chance of getting their life together again and not going back into that cycle of violence. 

They also, by doing this--and we have done a lot of this in Minnesota--if we give them the support they need, then they will testify against the person who is running that sex trafficking ring, against the perpetrator. We had a 40-year sentence last year in St. Paul, MN, against someone who was running a sex trafficking ring. That was because we were able to provide the support the victims need, and that is what Senator Cornyn's bill is about. It doesn't only help victims, as I said, 
it also helps law enforcement and ensures that the criminals, including johns, are brought to justice under our law because a financial transaction should not mask a sexual assault or rape on a child. 

I think people often think of sex trafficking as something that is just happening in another country, in another part of the world. It is, in fact, the third largest enterprise in the world. First is illegal drugs, then illegal guns, and then the illegal trafficking of people, primarily kids. That is going on in our world right now. But what people don't always expect is that in the United States, when we have sex trafficking cases, 83 percent of the victims are from our own country. Eighty-three 
percent of the victims are from the oil patches in North Dakota, from the streets of Minneapolis, and from the hills of West Virginia. This is happening in our country right now. 

That is why this pair of bills, Senator Cornyn's bill and the bill I have--the safe harbor bill that passed through the Judiciary Committee unanimously last week--is designed to focus on domestic trafficking. It does have international implications because if we do our job and we show as a country that we take this seriously, it will help us partner with other countries. 

Senator Heitkamp, Cindy McCain, and I went down to Mexico last spring to focus on partnering with Mexico. They have been enormous help in some of the Federal prosecutions for sex trafficking rings we have had in our country--girls who have been brought across the border from Mexico. They have helped with that. We have met with the Attorney General as well as the head of their Federal Police on more work that can be done. 

But just think about what is happening right now in our country. Just in the last few weeks, five St. Paul, MN, residents were charged with running a multistate sex trafficking ring. One of the alleged victims was 16 years old. Last month a man was indicted in Federal court under the leadership of our U.S. attorney in Minnesota. What was he indicted for? He was indicted for trafficking a 12-year-old girl, a young girl in Rochester, MN, who got a text that said: Come to a party. The girl shows 
up where she is supposed to go; it is the parking lot of a McDonald's. She gets shoved in the car, along with her friend. They are brought up to the Twin Cities. The man rapes her and takes sexually explicit pictures of her and puts them on Craigslist. The next day she is sold to two guys, and she is raped by those two men. That happened in Minnesota. The charges were just filed. 

The average age of a victim of sex trafficking is 12 years old--not old enough to go to a high school prom, not old enough to drive. That is what is happening in our country right now. 

What can we do? Well, I discussed Senator Cornyn's bill and the importance of that bill. I hope we can work through these issues. There is also the other bill, the Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act. That would make sure victims of sex trafficking, like the 12-year-old Rochester girl, are treated as victims. This is a bill that passed through the Judiciary Committee. I thank 26 of my colleagues across the Senate for cosponsoring this bill. It has been an honor to work with them, 
with Senator Cornyn as the Republican lead. 

I appreciate the help of the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Fraternal Order of Police, Shared Hope International, and the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence. 

This bill is different from the bill we have in front of us on the floor, but it has the same focus. What this bill does is it says: Let's look at some of these models that have worked across the country. One of them is my State, and it is called the safe harbor law. What it does is that when States do this, they basically aren't prosecuting these 12-year-old or 15-year-old girls or 16-year-old boys; they are seeing them as victims, and then they give them the kinds of services they need. A version 
of this bill, led by Erik Paulsen, one of my Republican Congressmen, passed through the House last year. I know the Presiding Officer was there at that time. So I feel good about this bill's chances in the House as well as in the Senate. 

Fifteen States across the country already have these safe harbor laws, and another 12 States are making good progress in the direction that we need, so we are not starting from scratch. What the bill does is simply give incentives for States to adopt these kinds of laws. 

The bill also creates a national strategy to combat human trafficking which would encourage cooperation and coordination among all the agencies that work on the problem--Federal, State, tribal, and local. Our law enforcement officers and prosecutors, as I mentioned, have to work together on this issue at all levels, but law enforcement can't do it alone. We need to make sure we are giving them the right support, and that is what this national strategy is about. 

Other parts of the bill include allowing victims of sex trafficking to be eligible for the Job Corps program to help them get back on their feet. 

I am also pleased to have included in this safe harbor bill, in the Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act, a provision that Senators WHITEHOUSE and SESSIONS worked on that got included in our bill to clarify the authority of the U.S. Marshals Service to assist local law enforcement agencies in locating missing children. 

I also know Senator Leahy and Senator Collins have a very important bill that I am a cosponsor of, the Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act, which we would like to be considered either as a part of this bill, if we can work out these other issues, or on its own. It is a very important bill. 

I have been very impressed by the bipartisan work we have done today. I was also very excited when all the women Senators, including the Presiding Officer, came together and asked for a hearing under Senator Grassley's and Senator Leahy's leadership. We had a very good hearing, and I think we can move from there. 

This is one of those issues which people haven't talked about a lot in our country for a long time. I think one of the reasons it has come to the forefront is because of the Internet--something we love. More and more of these kinds of purchases can be made behind closed doors and out of the jurisdiction of any law enforcement officers if they don't see it happening. Well, that is what happened with that 12-year-old girl in Rochester; she just received a text. 

This is not only going to take Congress getting the bills done, it will also take the work of the private sector. I have been impressed by the work by our hotels and transportation companies, places such as the Radisson hotels and our various transportation companies that have really stepped up and trained their employees because they are on the frontlines, they can look for problems, and they can report them to law enforcement. That is something which we can not legislate; that is something which is just happening. 

I know there are a number of amendments--some I like and some I do not. I hope we can work through those as well. 

I thank the Presiding Officer and thank all of those--especially Senator Leahy, whose chair I am temporarily filling here on the floor, as he has spent a lot of time watching over this bill the last 2 days. I again thank Senator Cornyn for his good work. 

I yield the floor. 

I suggest the absence of a quorum.