Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) attended the 4th Annual The Liberator Awards ceremony in Columbus to receive an award for his work to combat human trafficking. The Liberator Awards are sponsored by Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution and were created by survivors of human trafficking to unite people from around Ohio who are working for the same cause: fighting human trafficking.
Excerpts of Portman’s remarks.
“…Our legislation tells people that if you engage in this, you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
“I’m honored to receive this award, but I will tell you I’m humbled because the real liberators are Theresa and Celia and all of you who are finalists and award winners in the past who care so much about this issue.
“In many respects, this is now our challenge in this century, at this time, in this city, in this state, to be able to continue to be liberators and to help people not just to escape, but to be able to pull their lives back together to achieve their God-given abilities.
“The fact that you are willing to share your stories and testify to the horrors you have been through to help others, to me, is perhaps the most important thing that can happen and truly you are the liberators and I thank you for your willingness to do that...”
Last year, Portman announced that three of his bills to combat human trafficking, the Bringing Missing Children Home Act, the Combat Human Trafficking Act, and the Ensuring a Better Response for Victims of Child Sex Trafficking, were signed into law.
Additionally, Portman’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations recently held a hearing exposing sex trafficking on the Internet, particularly on Backpage.com, which is considered by leading authorities to be a hub of online sex trafficking. Columbus law enforcement officials and members of the Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force announced last month an indictment of a local man charged with human trafficking through the use of Backpage.com.