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a speech in Congress by Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), on

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Full Text Below, adapted from the Congressional Record.

I would like to thank the distinguished ranking member of the Foreign Affairs Committee for the time.

Mr. Speaker, as we approach the end of the year with much serious legislative business remaining before us, we have a noteworthy opportunity today to pass a measure in which each and every American can justifiably take great pride. The William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act represents the culmination of extensive work and exemplary bipartisan cooperation. It illustrates what we in this House can achieve when we unite in recognition of shared and enduring truth in an effort to defeat one of the world's most glaring injustices.

Human trafficking is a singularly merciless and degrading criminal activity. It has deeply tarnished every nation, including our own. Its ruthless perpetrators brutally exploit and devastate the lives of innocent persons, including children, often turning bastions of freedom and civil society into nightmarish realms seemingly beyond the reach of sanctuary.

Mr. Speaker, I want to also commend my distinguished colleagues Mr. Smith of New Jersey and Mr. Lantos of California for raising awareness about this cruel enterprise and for leading the Foreign Affairs Committee in taking substantive, credible actions to bring hope and healing to victims of this pernicious global trade in human beings. I also want to thank them for working to incorporate the Child Soldier Prevention Act of 2007 into this bill, bringing years of hard work to fruition and recognizing our Nation's commitment to ending the forced conscription, recruitment or use of children in combat, yet another grave affront to human dignity. I also wish to commend many individuals throughout our government and the many nongovernmental organizations whose tireless efforts have made this moment possible.

I urge my colleagues to join me in passing the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. Together, let us end the nightmare of human trafficking and lead the world to see, in the poignant words of Alexis de Tocqueville, that America is great because America is good.